Monday, March 18, 2013

Finding Your Way With Music: robgirlbooks' Review of Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Guitar Notes
by Mary Amato
314 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (7/24/12)
downloaded from the local library

Tripp Broody is not a bad kid. He's not even apathetic. He has simply allowed himself one love, his guitar. As a result, his mother decides he needs more in life and takes his love away. Lyla Marks lies nonstop, but not the way you're thinking. Lyla doesn't want to disappoint the people she cares about, so she pretends. She plasters on smiles and offers the right words. She plays her cello perfectly. Tripp always speaks the truth. Lyla can barely think it. The two have one thing in common, their lives are run by their parents, run right into alternating days in a music practice room. Through a series of notes these two struggling souls find their way in the midst of teenage drama.

I love this book! I loved it from page one when Tripp called his mother Termite! Tripp made me howl. The honest, sometimes retaliatory kid made me love him. Lyla's dark thoughts in all her perfectness drew me to her. I can't get over how well done Mary Amato portrayed teens, the topsy-turvy thoughts that go from morbid to guilt in a heartbeat. I loved the sarcasm, the hopeful innocence, the dreamer mentality. I loved the pain and the friendship. I loved the journey the parents travel. They aren't the villains; they are just adults with plans and ideas of their own. Somewhere in the span of raising their kids, they stopped listening to them. So easy to do, so hard to correct. This book is for anyone, preteen, teen, adult, even paranormal romance loving me. Goodness, I cannot forget the music! The music is so awesome, poetry woven into a wonderful story. I'll tell you how much I loved this book, I emailed author Mary Amato as soon as I finished the read and asked her if she'd like to answer a few question for this post. hehe! She said yes.
Mary Amato, author, song writer, singer, dancer, sky's the limit
Guitar Notes appears to be your first venture into YA. Is this the beginning of a trend? (please say yes!)
My next YA will be out in 2014 and the story will feature music, but in a different way.
Where did you find the confidence to start writing? You know, that final shove that hushed the whispering doubts that plague us all.
I believe strongly that intrinsic motivation is the real motivation that sustains and propels us through life, but I have to admit that two extrinsic motivators really helped. When I was in 8th grade, my poem was chosen to be on the cover of our little literary journal (mimeographed and stapled, which shows you how old I am); and when I was in college my poem was chosen to win the undergraduate award for poetry. Those two successes buoyed my spirits when the work was hard and the rejections came.
What advice do you have for budding writers?
Writing is so hard, and it takes an odd mix of being able to put everything you've got into a draft and then turning around the next day and literally throwing that draft away. Have patience and very thick skin.
Do you have any odd habits when it comes to your writing routine?
Yes. Many. Right now, I've set the wallpaper of my computer to be a photo of my main character (I found a photo of someone I think looks like her on the web). In the morning when I turn my computer on and she appears on my screen, I look into her eyes and say good morning, and I really mean it every morning. When I shut down for the next, I say goodbye to her. She feels so real to me, and yet I know she lives in that file on my computer and in my head.
You have a wide range of interests and talents. Where do these time consumers rank in your life?
Dark Chocolate (chocolate can be time consuming, I promise you)
Song writing
Doing nothing at all
I am very bad at doing nothing. I do yoga when I watch TV. I dance when I'm writing (yes, I have sessions where I write standing up with music on and I dance while I'm actually typing). If I'm alone when I'm cooking, you will hear me singing my heart out.
And then family and chocolate are constants. Somehow everything melts together. Yesterday, on my way to watch my son's volleyball game, I had an epiphany about a missing scene in my new novel, and now I can't wait to write it.
Be sure to check out to listen to the music created in Guitar Notes. 


  1. I'm sure there are characters for everyone to relate. It is very cool to see where they get the inspiration for the characters and scenes. You know the author is committed when they have a special relationship with their characters. Making them feel more real makes us see them that way. I have a lot of favorite characters that I wish existed so I could meet them! I'm sure we all do lol

    1. Oh yes, and for different reasons! Some characters I want to bat away so they will finally leave me alone, but no they haunt me for years. I love casting characters, but not for my own books.

    2. Lol, of course there are some characters I wouldn't want to meet. I don't think I could cast characters, I don't think I'd find someone that looked exactly like I pictured it.

    3. I tried casting the Soul Walker characters, goodness, I was terrible at it. My beta readers were up in arms. But I have so much fun with Jaclyn's Sidekick Saturdays. Then I argue with my sister because she comes up with the craziest suggestions. Hey you followed me on network blogs. The big white box looks so funny with our two avatars there.

    4. Lol, there are three now! I tend to overlook stuff, was it there before? I don't know why I hadn't followed.
      I don't think I could handle that every week lol, I wanted to give My book boyfriend a try too but they included pictures as well. I think it's fun to talk to someone in person about it. I'm going to tell my little cousin to read more.

  2. Hi. I found you through Book Blogs and I'm a new follower. I hope you'll check out my blog and consider following me back.

    1. Thanks for the follow, Kelly. I followed and entered the giveaway. You do a lot of giveaways. I'm stopping by more often. Good luck with your new releases! Amazing book covers.

  3. So awesome! I think it's interesting to think of someone lying all the time because they paste a smile on and pretend to be ok. I never thought of that as lying, but you are so right. I did this often as a teenager. I really enjoyed hearing the answers to your interview questions. My favorite part is the picture of the main character as the wallpaper and saying hello and goodbye - so intrinsic in her life. Great post! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

    1. Yay! Thanks for the good words. I have pretended so many times in my life, then I tried for straight up honesty, which was a downer. Now I'm trying for happiness so I don't have to pretend at all. I liked reading her answers too!

  4. Sheesh, I need to amend the happiness comment, I'm shooting for it, but I suck so bad at it. And happy people make me cranky, maybe I should aim for something else.

  5. Wow! I didn't know which I loved most, the book review or the interview. Both were awesome! I'll have to check Guitar Notes out. The author seems like a nice and very talented person. A musician and a writer? I think I should improve my piano skills.

    1. Thanks so much Kaykay! Mary Amato certainly is very talented. I think you'd really like Guitar Notes because self-discovery and friendship take center stage over romance. And I'm a lost cause when it comes to piano skills (my piano teacher quit on me shortly after starting). Thanks for stopping by.