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Guitar Boy by MJ Auch

Summary: When Travis Tacey’s Mother gets in a car accident, his family fall apart. Now not only is his father jobless, but Travis is now homeless as well. Travis’s dad has kicked him out, with nothing but a bag with some clothes and his mom’s old guitar. He finds that he is able to survive by using the guitar; but when the guitar is stolen, Travis is devastated. How will he get by without that guitar? Will he be able to bring his family back together again?

There was nothing overly inappropriate in this book, that I can remember. I would say that it’s okay for any age, so long as it’s not too hard of a read.

I have to say, I enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. At the same time, though, I didn’t love it.

What I did like was reading about the guitar. It seemed almost magical, like when you look at ancient ruins. The way Auch (through Travis) described guitars made me want to go out and learn to play one, just so that I could know how it felt. There were also some characters I liked, like Clarence, and Scott. Mostly, though, I just liked the overall story; it was definitely a page turner, though looking back on it, I couldn’t exactly tell you why. I really just wanted to know what happened next.

What I didn’t like was parts of Travis’s personality. In the book, he’s 14, but throughout the entire story I couldn’t help but picture him as younger. I think that that was one of the main issues I had. Every time I picture Travis in my head, I came up with a short little eleven year old, the total opposite of Travis. I think it was the way he acted some of the time that made me think of him like that. Sometimes he came off as a whiny child, like someone throwing a tantrum, and I think at one point, he does. But here’s the thing: if it wasn’t for that fact, I think I could have really liked Travis. But it was moments when I wanted to tell him to “grow up”, or “life is not always fair” that really bugged me, mostly because I couldn’t, and mostly because he never really learned. I honestly cannot look back on the book and say, “Travis did grow up.” I cannot say that there was a character arc, and either I’m missing it, or it just wasn’t there. He learned a few things, yeah, but he never grew from the things he learned, if that makes sense. I also didn’t like the ending. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I didn’t like it; it was disappointing.

If you do pick up this book to read, hopefully you can get past those parts that are negative about Travis’s personality, because (aside from that and the ending) it was a good book. I can honestly say that, while I didn’t love it, I definitely enjoyed it. What I do suggest doing, though, is looking up a few of the songs listed in the book (or even just country music), and listening to them while reading it, if you can do that without getting distracted. I did and I think it made it a little more enjoyable. (If you don’t like country, then don’t follow the suggestion; it’s up to you.)

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