Guitar Notes

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Product Details

Egmont USA
Publish Date
5.2 X 8.0 X 1.0 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Mary Amato is the author of many acclaimed books for children including"Invisible Lines, "which was nominated for the California Young Readers Medal and was selected for the Missouri Truman Awards Master List. Of that book, "The Washington Post"states, you may come to learn . . . an important lesson about what really matters in life. But amid all that learning of important lessons, there will be a good bit of giggling, too.
A prolific songwriter, Mary sings, plays the guitar, and teaches songwriting. She also performs in the Washington, DC, area."Guitar Notes"is her first novel for young adult readers.
Mary lives in Maryland with her family. You can visit her online at and learn more about writing your own music and the joy of thrumming at"


"Two very different high school students discover a mutual appreciation for writing songs for the guitar. Tripp Broody has lost a lot; his father died and his best friend moved away. He doesn't really connect with people, especially his nagging mother whose 'help' isn't much appreciated. In contrast Lyla Marks is perfect. She gets good grades, her teachers love her, she plays the cello beautifully. Things are not perfect, however, as both her best friend and her father suffocate her with unrealistic expectations and adulation over her talent. Forced to share a music practice room on alternating days at school, Lyla leaves a heated note one day when Tripp doesn't throw out his trash. This leads to a pen-pal-like exchange daily, and eventually in-person musical collaboration that promises to change both of their lives forever. Many chapters are structured as Tripp's and Lyla's notes, giving readers a unique vantage point into their burgeoning friendship. The teens find kindred spirits in one another, allowing them to develop lyrics for songs they write in a fluid and natural way. While the end of the novel has a bit of contrived tragedy, this is nevertheless a sweet story of two different loners finding their counterpoint." --School Library Journal

-- (10/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)

"Socially, academically, and musically, Layla Marks is already well-established. Tripp Broody is the brooding newcomer, whose mother has just taken away his guitar, until he becomes more social and lives up to his academic potential. The two meet when they are forced to share a practice room at school on alternate days. Amato wonderfully reveals, in alternating chapters, that these two are not as one-sided as they may seem. That they suffer from similar hurts makes their growing concern for, and attraction to, each other very believable. If Dad's angry removal of Layla from a wedding where she and Tripp are entertaining seems to go unnoticed by the guests, or Layla's near death experience seems a little too timely, everything is justified by the book's satisfying ending which, realistically, leaves these two attractive protagonists with issues not yet completely resolved. Recommended." --Library Media Connection

-- (8/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)

"Perfect Lyla Marks signed up to practice her cello in one of the two small rooms available to students during lunch period. No matter that these days the thought of playing her cello makes her so tense she can barely breathe. Lyla has access to the practice room on even-numbered days. On odd-numbered days, the room--and the school's battered guitar--is used by scruffy Tripp Broody. The notes left in the strings of the guitar begin when Lyla complains to Tripp about leaving trash in their shared room, and the conversation continues from there. Like every good Romeo and Juliet story, there is class struggle and tragedy, but the musical focus is what sets this story apart. The couple's exchange of musical ideas is illustrated through scribbled chords, half-conceived lyrics, and brainstorming sessions. Lyla and Tripp's chaste relationship makes this accessible for younger tweens, much in the style of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries books. Amato is able to produce both silly fiction for the juvenile crowd and poignant, realistic fiction for older readers without sacrificing humor or depth." --Booklist

-- (7/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)

Tripp and Lyla have a lot in common--their love of music, their experience of losing a parent (Lyla's mom when she was six, Tripp's dad a couple years ago), their quiet discontent with their lives. The schoolmates don't meet, however, until they're assigned to use the same practice room on alternating days. What starts as a passive-aggressive exchange of notes about etiquette (Tripp leaves some trash on the music stand) grows into a genuine correspondence and finally an in-person friendship, with the two bonding over music, private fears, and mutual songwriting inspiration, all in secret from parents who'd rather Tripp was pulling up his dismal grades and Lyla continuing to focus on her promising cello career. This tale of unlikely but desperately needed connection pulls all the right strings, drawing both protagonists out of their unhappy shells so gradually that their climactic duet performance at a wedding feels as cathartic as it is earned. Though the eleventh-hour twist takes things over the top, it's otherwise a familiar formula done well. Amato brings these characters to life with pitch-perfect detail and wrenching anxieties that will resonate strongly with readers." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

-- (7/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)

"Tripp Broody and Lila Marks (Mr. Odd and Ms. Even) alternate lunch-period use of an instrumental practice room and a school guitar, developing a bond through their shared feelings of pressure and their love for making their own music.
Lila's deceased mother was a professional cellist. While Lila expects to follow in her footsteps, part of her would like a break from both the cello and a demanding best friend, Annie Win. Playing the guitar helped Tripp forget the death of his father and the absence of his best friend, who moved away, but his mother has confiscated his instrument until his grades improve. It is their developing emotional relationship rather than a physical connection that defines the novel. Short, third-person present-tense vignettes, each headed with a place and date, carry the plot along, helped by frequent emails, text messages and handwritten notes, as well as illustrations (not seen, but said to include music, notes, tests and receipts). The intense drama of the ending surprises after the gradual development of their friendship, but the picture of the myriad pressures teens feel rings true. Amato, also a Washington, D.C.-area songwriter, weaves in convincing musical detail and advice that will appeal especially to readers experimenting with an instrument themselves.
This one will resonate." --Kirkus Reviews

-- (6/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)

"Amato (Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook) pens a music-driven meet-cute starring two dissimilar high school students. Trip Broody is an observant introvert whose only release is playing guitar. When his mother takes it away from him, in the hopes that he will become more social, he uses a school guitar and practice room, alternating days with Lyla Marks, a talented cellist who is under tremendous external pressure to get into a prestigious conservatory. What begins as an exchange of terse notes between Tripp and Lyla turns into emails and text messages, and soon a close friendship anchored by their shared love of music evolves. Trip encourages Lyla to loosen up, she draws him out of his shell, and they find similarities in their lives and begin to write music together. Amato nicely captures Tripp's love of music and Lyla's anxieties, though the story takes a late melodramatic turn that jars with the comparatively light material that precedes it. While the story is notably 'clean' (Tripp and Lyla's relationship is entirely chaste, and there's no swearing, alcohol, etc.), the characters' chemistry will have readers' hearts racing." --Publishers Weekly

-- (5/28/2012 12:00:00 AM)