Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Lyla Marks is perfect in almost every way: she’s pretty, gets good grades, and is first chair in the school orchestra. Along with her best friend, Annie, Lyla is working on applying at Coles, a highly intensive school for musicians, which will help set her future as a professional cellist. However, every day she feels like she is just going through the motions and whenever she plays she feels robotic. That is until she meets Tripp.

Tripp Broody prefers to keep to himself. The only company he needs is his guitar. But when his mother takes his guitar away from him for bad grades, Tripp feels like his world is being destroyed. To get around his mother’s punishment, Tripp signs up for a practice room during lunch hours to play the school guitar, allowing him a release from life for an hour every other day. One day he enters the practice room to find a note from the perfect Lyla Marks, the occupant of the practice room on even days, telling him to please keep the practice room tidy and not to leave trash. Tripp’s sarcastic response begins  a friendship that no one, not even Tripp and Lyla, would expect.

Guitar Notes  is a young adult novel surrounding the pressures of high school students in trying to keep up grades, friendships, and extra curricular activities even if they may not necessarily be on the teen’s agenda.

What really interested me about this book was how the author described Lyla’s near panic attack moments in the beginning of the book. Time and time again she feels the pressures that her dad and best friend are putting on her, to keep up her appearance, to not hang around with certain students, to be perfect at whatever she does, that it almost pushes her overboard. It’s because I can relate to Lyla’s feelings. I haven’t read many books where anxiety and the want to please everyone plays a big role as it did in this book.

I received this book a few years ago and at first I thought it sounded interesting. Picking it back up, I was a bit hesitant. I haven’t read any young adult fiction in a while, so was thinking I was out of that genre. However, Guitar Notes was well written and a fast read. It tugged at the heart strings and showed what true friendship means. Overall, definitely a book I needed to read!

Grade: A