09 September 2013

Review: Guitar Notes

Guitar Notes
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very impressive read overall, and at times one of the better contemporary YA books I've read recently.

The story goes back and forth between a musician who's faltering at being a good student and is kind of coming off the rails a bit, and a good student who is kind of coming off the rails a bit in terms of being a good musician. Lyla's great, in fact, and could do some prestigious things with her cello, but something's not really right. Meanwhile, Tripp, our guitar-slinging oddball, is having trouble at home and school, and finds refuge in a practice room at the school. Trading days with each other, the two strike up a friendship and perhaps something more along the way.

This feels like the setup to a bad teen romance, and it's really not. It's a lot deeper than that on a lot of levels, and one of those rare books for those in their early teens that would probably be beneficial for their parents to read afterwards as well. There's a lot to be said about friendship, about priorities, and about listening to yourself and to those around you, lessons that don't really come across too often in fiction period.

The last quarter threw a complete curveball that was especially heartbreaking, and really changed the game in this book from being a pleasant read with some nice concepts to a book that was indeed something much, much more. When a book can already be pretty great and move into a brilliant territory for a time, that's worth something.

Highly recommended for everyone. This is one that's going to stay with me for a while.

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