Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Title: Guitar Notes
Author: Mary Amato
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release date: January 1st 2012
Pages: 272
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Bought
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Tripp, who plays guitar only for himself, and Lyla, a cellist whose talent has already made her famous but not happy, form an unlikely friendship when they are forced to share a practice room at their high school.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Guitar Notes sounded like a cute read, but it just didn't work for me. Part of it isn't really the book's fault - maybe I'm just too old for lower YA, and Guitar Notes is a prime example for immature characters that I can't relate to anymore. But even asides from the age thing, the writing is very simplistic, the characters are underdeveloped, and the story - except for one unfortunate plot twist - is pretty boring, so I just couldn't find anything to like about Guitar Notes.

The characters are the main problem. Both Tripp and Lyla represent stereotypes, and there's not much more to them than the description already gives away. The secondary characters are just as one-dimensional and unrealistically bland. Tripp and Lyla are ridiculously melodramatic, and I just couldn't take their whining, although again, this might be because of our age difference.

The relationship between Tripp and Lyla is nothing special either - it's the friendship-version of insta-love. The notes they left each other got personal way too soon to be realistic, and it seemed like they just randomly started being best friends. One thing I did appreciate is that the relationship between Lyla and Tripp stays platonic throughout the novel. I kept fearing the moment their friendship would turn into romance because they seemed so young that reading about their romance would have made me feel like a pedophile, so I'm glad Mary Amato kept their relationship platonic.

Towards the end of the novel, there is a plot twist that made the whole book a million times worse. I don't want to give anything away, but something really serious happens that does not fit at all with the light and happy tone of the rest of the story. This is something that would have merited a novel all on its own, or at least should have been treated as a major part of the plot, but it just kind of happens and then it's resolved and ten pages later, the story is done. Since it's never really explored in any depth, this plot twist didn't add anything to the story but just added to the lack of depth.

I don't know what else to say; Guitar Notes just wasn't for me. It could have been a cute, fun read, but with underdeveloped characters, melodramatic writing, and a boring-until-it-turns-unnecessarily-dramatic plot, I couldn't find anything to like about it. Guitar Notes might be an okay read for younger YA readers, but I personally can't recommend it.


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