Kiki’s Letter Essay #8: Guitar Notes

Recently i have just finished Guitar Notes, a realistic fiction 296 page novel by Mary Amato. Mary Amato is an award winning children’s and Young Adult, poet, playwright, and songwriter. Her books have been translated into multiple languages and has won many awards and nominees. I chose to read Guitar Notes because when I read the back cover of the book it seemed like an interesting book with a good plot line.  This book was published in 2012. In this book the 2 main character create a lot of music on the guitar and you can listen to the music that the character created on a website.

In the book, Tripp Broody, a boy who goes to Rockland School, wants to be alone and play his guitar, but his mother has taken his guitar away because he is not doing well in school and needs to become more social so, when he sees that there is a sign up sheet for practice rooms during lunch and free borrowed instruments sign up he goes and signs up. Lyla Marks, a girl who goes to Rockland School and is a really good cello player who also sign up for the practice rooms with her friend Annie, wants to be free and to just be herself but, her dad and Annie are pressuring her to do more things and try out for Coles Musician School, so she becomes really nervous. When the schedule for the practice rooms comes out it says:

“Room A: Patricia Kent Even Days;

Annie Win Odd Days

Room B: Lyla Marks Even Days;

Tripp Broody Odd Days, ” (pg. 16)

Lyla and Tripp now share the same Practice room but on different days. When Tripp leaves trash on the first day that he is in the room, Lyla on the next day decides to write a note to him telling him to clean up the room after he has finished using it, and then the following day, he writes back which continues on for days to come, and soon, Lyla is learning to play the Guitar with Tripp and they create an unbelievable friendship.

This book reminded me a little of the book Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan, which is also about how one harmonica through the ages brought 3 different people together, which is like this book and how the guitar has brought Lyla and Tripp together to create a friendship, which makes the book more interesting and draws in the reader a lot more.

Throughout the story, Lyla has changed a lot and has become more and more care free and less pressured once she meets Tripp. This shows that friendships can really change a persons life to make it much easier and much harder for them and it also shows that when friendships are good they will have an everlasting mark on people.

I liked the way the author changed the perspective of the book throughout the book and I also like how before each change of perspective, she put the place that the setting was taking place and the time that it occurred, this really helped me have a bigger picture of what it was like (morning or afternoon or at night) and it also helped me know when the perspective were changing, unlike some other book they do not give you a sign that the perspective is changing so that the reader can become confused as to who is talking.

During the book, the author has made to two main character have very different personalities which makes it very interesting to see what each character would do in different situations, Mary Amato writes:

“Lyla picks up her cello and walks to the black metal folding chair that is waiting for her onstage. Her dad si standing off to the side with his video camera on a tripod. Her heart is pounding. Tripp’s words are in her head: If you’re going to play…play. As she sits, she feels the eyes of the audience on her face. Someone calls out something, and a few students laugh. She imagines that she is not Lyla. Shis a fake one, with arms made of metal. the one programmed to perform today. A computer chip in her brain will fire the neurons that will make her fingers move. Th real Lyla is still wainting in the wings. She lifts her bow and begins,


Greeting, Ms.Even,

I’m in Spanish class right now and I’, bored out of my finely constructed skull. To stay awake, I could either chew on the spiral binding of my notebook thus inducing metal poisoning or I could ask you this question about the International Culture thing. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I was there first period, sitting int he back , not paying attention at first because assemblies are always a joke, and then Mr. Handlon introduced you. Two guys in front of me snicker. ‘What’s she gonna play?’ one of them says. ‘The Fart of the Bumblebees by Mozart,’ the other guy says, and the both laugh. “Play some Lady Gaga.” the first guy calls out. Just so you know that wan’t me. I don’t know if you saw it, but a paper airplane flew from the back to the middle of the auditorium, and some people laughed. You looked up then like they were laughing at you, but they weren’t. People laugh at flying paper. You sat down and started to play like it didn’t really matter if anybody heard you of not. Everybody got quiet, the two guy in front of me even. One of them says, “She must practice fifthteen hours a day.” Awe. Respect. But that’s not why I’m  writing. Here’s why I’m writing. I looked at your face really carefully, and i think your’re faking it. You make your face look like you’re into your music and everything, but I don’t think your emotions were real. You weren’t really thrumming. Am I right? T’m not criticizing you. I’, just fascinated by people faking things so I guess I just want to know, does playing the cello make you happy?


P.S. I hope you don’t think I’m stalking you or anything because I’m not, but I saw you at your locker yesterday, so I’m thinking, why not slip this note into your locker instead of the guitar case because that way you’ll get it today instead of waiting until Monday. Not that it makes any difference really.” (pg. 62-65) 

This really shows that Lyla is a nervous person and would rather not be performing while Tripp is a relaxed and not anxious person which the author has really made clear in the book through each of their different tones which make a huge difference when reader try to interpret the characters inside the book. I would rate this book an 8 out of 10. This was a great book!

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10 thoughts on “Kiki’s Letter Essay #8: Guitar Notes

  1. Dear Robbie, I was thinking abut reading this book but i had never got around to it. Your letter essay was very interesting! I liked the description that you use. Over all great job!

  2. Dear Kiki,
    Your letter essay was very well writeen overall. I liked that you also included a picture of the book in your essay. I also liked how you included the small letter from the book.

    -Zoe w.

  3. Dear Kiki,

    I really liked your letter essay for many reasons. Not only was your quote super long (which i really like) and i got to get a better feel for the authors writing, you did an excellent job describing the book. One criticism though, you didn’t sign off at the end. But overall i really enjoyed reading your letter essay.

    Melissa C.

  4. Dear Kiki,
    Having read this book, I think that your summary was very well written and I really liked your introduction. I probably would have chose a different quoted passage but yours was still very good. Good job and I might reread this.


  5. Dear Kiki,

    your letter essay was really good. I liked the quote that you picked it, it was very interesting and it really shows what the book is going to be about. I also liked how you included a picture of the book.


  6. Dear Kiki,
    this is a very good letter essay! I like how you included a long passage from the book as well a quoted passage from the book, I am glad you enjoyed this book I found this book quite intriguing as well, I like how you compared Guitar Notes to Echo I see how the style of the book is quite similar. Another book I noticed that was very much alike to this one is, If I Stay, because the characters are a much a like. Anyways loved reading your essay and the transition sentences you used.
    Tabitha Aime

  7. Dear Kiki,
    This book seems very interesting and I really liked the passage. I thought it was very different because it was a letter from the book and you explained it well. I also thought you did good with showing how Lyla and Tripps friendship grew through the book. I enjoyed reading your letter essay.

    Maddy O

  8. Dear Kiki,
    I have heard about this book before, and I am considering reading it. In your introduction I thought it was a really cool idea including the link to the song! The passage you chose was very interesting however try to reflect a little more especially since it was a large passage. Great job!

  9. Dear Kiki,
    Great letter essay! I read this book a while back and thought it was (while a bit cliché) a cute story. I enjoyed the musical aspect of it, as I’m sure you did too. Quick criticism though, double check your essay for spelling and spacing errors. That aside, I loved the passage you picked, it really showed the kind of “mockery” that started the friendship between the two, and really portrays them as well as you could in one passage.

  10. Dear Kiki,

    I enjoyed reading your letter essay! I have never read this book but it sounds very interesting and I possibly might read it. I enjoyed how you included a long passage. I look forward to reading your letters in the future.


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