Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Title: Guitar Notes by Mary Amato
Published: July 24th, 2012 by Egmont
Source: Library
Format: Hardback
Challenge(s): Library, Debut Author
Grade rate: B+

On odd days, Tripp Broody uses a school practice room to let loose on a borrowed guitar. Eyes closed, strumming that beat-up instrument, Tripp escapes to a world where only the music matters.

On even days, Lyla Marks uses the same practice room. To Tripp, she’s trying to become even more perfect—she’s already a straight-A student and an award-winning cellist. But when Lyla begins leaving notes for him in between the strings of the guitar, his life intersects with hers in a way he never expected.

What starts as a series of snippy notes quickly blossoms into the sharing of interests and secrets and dreams, and the forging of a very unlikely friendship.

Challenging each other to write songs, they begin to connect, even though circumstances threaten to tear them apart.

From beloved author Mary Amato comes a YA novel of wit and wisdom, both heartfelt and heart­breaking, about the power of music and the unexpected chords that draw us together. (From the Egmont Website).

My Review

Oh, how I love this book!  Don’t get fooled by the B+ grade, it is an awesome read.  I just had a minor issue with the ending.

This story starts by Lyla and Tripp sharing the same high school music room, but on different days.  As a way to communicate with each other they start leaving notes in the guitar case.  What starts as harmless and fun banter turns into a true meeting of the minds and a beautiful friendship.

Lyla seems perfect to others, but she is far from it.  Yes, she is pretty, smart, very talented, but she has allowed her dad and her best friend to push her into a life she really doesn’t want for herself.  Ironically, she sort of pushes Tripp into things that are out of he’s comfort zone; however, in Tripp’s case that it’s a good thing.  Tripp is so funny!  He is (as he is fond and proud to say) odd. Tripp loves music to the point that it’s the only thing that holds an interest to him.  I loved Tripp’s relationship with his mom and how he took revenge on her for everything she did to him (hilarious!)

Tripp’s mom cares deeply for him and it’s trying to get him to be more social, the only way she knows how.  Anna, Lyla’s best and only friend, is no friend at all. She is always jealous of her, full of envy, and pushes (aka bullies) Lyla to do things she has no desire of doing and prevents her from doing what she loves.  I don’t understand why Lyla allowed this to go on for so long. Lyla’s dad is extremely protective (with good reason) and also expects too much from her.

The plot is well thought out and the reading is quick since the book is a combination of notes, texts, emails, and conversations. I really enjoyed the writing style and the story, but I have a minor issue with the end.  First, I know that what Tripp and Lyla have is really special, they have a connection of minds and they understand each other in a way few people can.  I was a little disappointed that their relationship didn’t develop into something more (and really, this is my problem I guess). Second, the ending was quite abrupt.  I mean, everything was going fine and then, BAM!  Something really horrible (and cliché) happens, and it seems like the story ends so fast.

Here are some great quotes from the book:

“The Termite storms out. He sticks out his tongue at the door as it slams. Is he immature? Yes.  If maturity means you can grow up and take away the one and only thing that gives meaning to your son’s life, then why would anyone strive for maturity?” - Tripp

“She sings, ‘I like the sound of your name in my ear’. She stops and blushes. ‘I didn’t mean you you. I mean it doesn’t have to be based on anything true, right?” – Lyla

“’Here’s my Thrum Theory. I think every soul vibrates at a certain frequency’, he explains. ‘It’s sort of like each soul has a sound that is its signature – and your soul just wants to feel the vibrations of this sound. I think the vibrations of my soul and the vibrations of the guitar match each other, which is why it feels so right for me to play it’.” - Tripp

One of the things that I find the most amazing is that Ms. Amato and her writing partner Bill Williams wrote and recorded all the songs (they can be found here) that Tripp and Lyla wrote together.

About the cover:  I find the cover very appropriate and really pretty.

Have you read Guitar Notes?  Have you read a similar book? 


  1. great review....

    this book really sounds very amazing.

    Le' Grande Codex

  2. I really like the sound of this one! And I absolutely adore YA music books! Glad you enjoyed it a lot, despite the ending. Thanks for the review. :)

  3. I love the sound of this book! I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'll definitely be checking this one out. Great review!

  4. I really liked the book too.

    Here's my review -


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