Thursday 27 December 2012

Review: Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Summary (from Goodreads):
A heartwarming story about an unlikely friendship forged between a straight-A, classical musician and a bad-boy guitar player told through notes, lyrics, texts, and narration.

Firstly, the summary for this book is pretty short but sums up really what does happen in Guitar Notes. This book is about a friendship about a seemingly perfect girl and lonely misunderstood boy.. and that's about it.

Usually in novels where you have opposites forming a friendship (which tends to evolve into romance I've noticed) there is some sort of big pressure from close ones or dramatic event that puts a big ol' strain on the friendship/romance which happens around the middle of the book. In Guitar Notes pretty much the whole book is about this blossoming friendship through notes then emails then texts then calls then in person to represent the evolution of said friendship... but the dramatic event? It happens and is solved in the last 40 or so pages of the novel.

I can't say I'm a very big fan of the.. event (look how hard I'm trying to keep this review spoiler free!) either, it didn't really fit. I guess for some people that's what thought is so good, the fact that you don't expect anything like this to happen after pages and pages of simple interactions between the two characters but that's exactly what I didn't really enjoy when reading Guitar Notes. I feel like it was too sudden for a book where I had grown used to being quite mellow and accepted was going to be a book with no real plot but a sweet message. Not only do I feel like the event (this no spoiler thing is difficult!) didn't fit, I also think it was solved too fast and easily to feel realistic and relatable.

Speaking of relatable, I find it hard to really understand characters and their feelings when the writing is in third person but as a whole Guitar Notes being written in third person actually worked really well and I appreciate the way Amato was able to write a book, not in first person, and still make me feel attached to the characters.

Before I finish, although I tried VERY hard not to, I couldn't help but compare Guitar Notes to Forman's If I Stay simply because of the clear similarities of the cello playing girl, the guitar, the music, the loss of family, the opposites.. there was a lot of similarities actually! If I Stay is still one of my very favourite books so Guitar Notes with such similar ideas that I feel aren't executed as amazingly perfect as in If I Stay made me automatically disappointed. I wanted more intensity and heartbreak only because that's what I got from If I Stay. I know that it's unfair that I'm comparing the two books because Guitar Notes has a completely different tone and the book I feel is very carefree and light but I'm sure that I'm not the only person who read the two and compared them.

Overall, I liked the feel of Guitar Notes, the ideas of not having the obligation to live your parents dreams and the need to be yourself in a world of people trying to please others. The story is a sweet one and although the ending is a little too abrupt for my liking, I think it's a worthwhile book to read.

Music choice: It's always a little harder to pick a song for a book ABOUT music but... here you go, Live My Life by The Runaway State. I absolutely adore this song and I actually think it's a perfect match for Guitar Notes eg. Dear Tripp (the main guy character!),
'Don't worry about the people who don't understand you, 
They don't know a single-tiniest-littlest thing about you'

itunes link:


  1. This one sounds like a cute read! I'm not usually a fan of these types of books but this one looks good. Great review!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    1. Thank you! I hope you like the book if you do end up reading it! :)

  2. Is it long distance relationship?

    1. No no, these two characters go to the same school, they're just super different. At the beginning of a new school year they both sign up for a music room to practice in during lunchtimes. On odd days Tripp uses the room and on even days Lyla does. They first start interacting when Lyla leaves a message tucked in the strings of the guitar in the room.

      I hope that answered your question (I got a little bit carried away.. sorry!) :)

  3. is this book for girls

  4. I read this book before! I love it! over all it was AWESOME!!!!!


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