A “sweet story of two different loners finding their counterpoint” (School Library Journal) from a star of state master and children’s choice lists making her YA debut. Clean YA with the emotional resonancy of John Green and Sarah Dessen.
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.
Boring. Predictable. Unnecessary…Those are just a few words I would use to describe Guitar Notes. If you couldn’t tell by the title, the books is about two stereotypical brooding teens passing notes through a guitar case. No really. They are LITERALLY passing notes to each other in a guitar case. That is until one day Tripp Broody (I know, right?) decides to actually write the note ON the guitar… How cutting edge.
This book was EVERYTHING I hate about stories told in the third person! It was a total disaster. Usually when books are written in third person, the author goes above and beyond to make sure that not only is the setting is described accurately, but also works to display the thoughts and feeling of each character involved. I feel like I didn’t really get to know the characters, yes, I got to know who the characters were supposed to be, but the audience was never allowed to crack the surface. The author didn’t even try to delve that deep, she wrote the same run of the mill privileged high school brats. The entire book consisted of predictable interaction of two boring and predictable characters and this is who we were left with.
Tripp – Where do I even begin? He is exactly the type of character I can do without. He is a total cliche and painfully so. He did the whole “dad died so I’m an asshole” schtick… But of course he upped the ante by not only being brooding crybaby, but being extremely annoying with his lackluster guitar skills and juvenile lyrics. Like, think outside the box dude. He is one of the most annoying characters I have ever come across and that is saying a lot seeing as St. Clair and Adrian Ivashkov exist. He was SO childish, and I wanted to give up, every time I had to read about him and his piss poor ways. He was totally pissing off at school yet his MOTHER was the bad guy for taking his guitar away so he could bring up his grades and actually have a future. “Mommy took away my guitar so I’m going to replace her coffee with dirt.” Mommy took away my guitar so I’m gonna hide her wallet in the freezer.” Really!? I would have whooped his ass. And don’t even get me started on his singing.
Lyla – She was the typical special snowflake who despite being given everything in life, being smart, beautiful and talented… It just wasn’t enough for her. The worst part of it all is that she had all these complaints about her life and felt like she was being pressured to do things she didn’t want to do. Here is some advice: Get a grip girl and open your mouth. One thing I can’t stand is when people whine and complain about things in their lives that they have control over, and refuse to do so. You don’t want to play cello? Then open your mouth and say that. You don’t want to go to that special snowflake school? THEN SAY IT. These kids really do underestimate their parents. I am sure that if she would have sat down with her dad and talked with him about it instead of sneaking around behind his back and booking guitar shows with Tripp like the bootleg Sonny and Cher, he would have listened. Don’t sit around wasting everyone else’s time if that is not something you truly want to do in life, I am sure someone else who actually does want that spot would happily take it. In other words, put up or shut up!
Not only was there an issue with the author actually developing the characters in general, there was a huge issue with her developing the relationship between the characters. It went from 0-60 real quick and had me real confused. One minute they were passing notes through a jank ass guitar case and the next minute they were writing cheesy Kidz Bop tunes in a tree house. Even at the end, I didn’t know if they were best friends (which would actually be nice seeing as there are rarely books with leads who become platonic friends and are happy that way), or if they were dating? The truth is, by the end I didn’t even care, I was just glad it was over.
After first reading Guitar Notes, I gave it 2 Stars mostly because I had a great time laughing at the poorly knit “songs” that the author so generously decided to include, but after much thought, I had to take it down the the bare minimum, and give it 1 Star…
Until then check out their hit single: A Little Room to Play: