My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’m in an odd place with Guitar Notes. Even though there were parts of the story I would’ve changed, I also blew through the whole thing in about an hour. This is a story I enjoyed now, but would’ve loved in late high school when I was obsessed with any and all stories featuring musician characters.
One of the things I appreciated about Guitar Notes was the effortless switching between the boy and girl POVs–another thing high school me would’ve loved–and the fact that the majority of the songs referenced were original and written out. Having attempted to write books with original songs in them, I understand how hard it is to do well. There were definitely songs I liked better than others, but I thought it was fantastic that all of them were included in their entirety.
If there was one thing I didn’t really get behind, it was how cruel the parents were. Lyla’s dad had something of a reason, but I never fully understood why Tripp’s mother hated his guitar so much. In my experience as a musician, parents tend to be more ambivalent than hateful, and the attitudes of the mother and father in this book didn’t reflect that at all.
Similarly, I loved that Tripp and Lyla never turned into a couple, because I felt that that would’ve ruined the awesome friend vibes they had going on. That being said, I felt the final twist was annoyingly predictable, and I read especially fast through that to find out if it ended like I thought it would. (It did.)
Overall, this wasn’t a book I particularly loved or hated. The two protagonists and the freshness of the music carried what might have been a slightly stale plot otherwise.