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Guitar Boy

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  240 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Travis Tacey doesn't have it easy: his mom's in the hospital suffering from brain trauma after a terrible car accident, and his father has lost his good sense in the aftermath and kicked him out. Homeless, penniless, and only fourteen years old, Travis tries to make money off of his singing and guitar playing skills. But when his beloved guitar--a family heirloom--is stole ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Henry Holt
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Clover White
Jun 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Travis's mom has been in a bad accident and is laying in the hospital with brain damage. His father spirals out of control, due to his grief. The father loses his job and kicks fourteen-year old Travis out of the house. Travis leaves with too-big shoes, the clothes on his back, and his great-great-great grandfather's guitar.

Things I liked about this book: the Adirondacks setting, the glimpse into a community of music-minded friends, the basic decency of the hero.

Things I did not like: The lack o
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2013
I feel really bad for the main character because his dad was a maniac and was always screaming at him. And his mother was in the hospital after an accident with brain trauma. Travis was a really strong character.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh this book is amazing! Can someone please give me amnesia so I can enjoy it all over again? If your a fan of music you will totally dig this book.
Julia W.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was good. It definetly changed my perspective on life and everything I have. It made me super thankful for a good family!
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I added "Guitar Boy" to my TBR pile, I remember thinking that it sounded more like a middle grade novel than a YA. That idea might have stemmed from the summary, or the knowledge that the last novel I read by M.J. Auch was one I read at fourteen and pulled from the MG section in the library. Whatever the intended audience, I finished "Guitar Boy" in a day and loved every minute of it.

Travis is a fourteen year old guitar player whose life has been turned upside down in the wake of his mother
Bethany Miller
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: royal-january
2.5 stars
Ever since their mother was seriously injured in a car accident, life hasn’t been easy for fourteen-year-old Travis and his brothers and sisters. June, the oldest, has already quit school in order to care for her younger brothers and sisters. When their father loses his job, Travis is forced to quit school so that he can earn money to help support the family. Travis’s mother is in a nursing home, where she doesn’t seem to be getting the help that she needs for rehabilitation. One night
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Have you ever known what it’s like to be on your own as a child? Do you know what it’s like to be extremely mad at a parent? Travis knows what it’s like. His mother has just gotten into a car accident and is now in the hospital. Now he is left with his father and four siblings. Their father is having a tough time supporting his family. He’s even taken his daughter out of school so she would take care of her siblings. Now his father wants Travis to quit school and make money to support his family ...more
Lily Banda
Travis Tracey doesn't have your normal teenage boy problems. Bad grades, girl issues, and fitting in aren't really his concern. Instead, he has to worry about things like his recently paralyzed mother, his abusive and cruel father, and supporting his family. After being kicked out of the house by his father after an argument, Travis sets off in the world with only his mother's old guitar, the clothes on his back, and a few dollars. After only a couple days in the world, everything is going terri ...more
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was very entertaining, but somewhat slow to start. The book certainly picked up speed later on, and made it well worth the wait.
Perhaps the biggest reason I rated this book 4/5 stars instead of 5 was because of Travis himself. I found Travis a very contradictory character, who tended to lash out at people or hide things unnecessarily. That said, it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book, but it did make me alternate between loving Travis and finding him somewhat grating. The Adirondac
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was close to giving up on Guitar Boy after 20 pages or so. The characters hadn't said or done anything remotely novel or meaningful. I felt like I knew exactly where the book was heading (boy finds himself through music), mapping out the plot in my head. I was bored.

Well, I was about half wrong. The characters stayed boring, lifeless. They say and do things because we know they will--they're overly kind, overly harsh, etc.

But the plot takes a nice turn when protagonist Travis is kicked out of
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and connected to the young protagonist (Travis) much more than I anticipated. Auch's subject matter a - rural, and fairly poor family in the Adirondacks - are rendered with a vibrancy and innocence that makes it accessible to readers young and old. Travis's mother is nearly killed in a car accident and his father is ill-equipped to deal with these dire circumstances. This sends Travis's entire family, including a brood of young siblings, into a downward spiral. Given this mau ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaylee K
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Have you ever had a time in your life when nothing is going right? Or you feel like things are never going to get better? Well 14 year old Travis Tacey is going through that right now. After his mom gets in a serious car crash and has been in the hospital for weeks now, nothing is the same at home anymore. His his sister has to quit school to take care of the little kids, his dad loses his job, and now his dad wants Travis to quit school to! Well one day Travis and his dad get into an argument a ...more
Teresa Garrett
Travis's family has experienced the tragedy of the mom being in a horrific car accident that leaves her disabled. Without her as the family anchor their lives spin out of control: dad loses his job, June and Travis are forced to drop out of school to help take care of younger siblings and work to bring in money. The tension builds until Travis and his dad have an argument that results in Travis being thrown out of the family. As Travis travels he meeting interesting people and finds that not all ...more
Ashley C
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be all on your own? Well Travis Tacey is a fifteen year old boy whose father kicked him out of their home after their mother was in a wreck. After the father kicked Travis out he went to his first resort, the cabin in the woods with his moms guitar. “The tone was wonderful.” (p.114) He was on his own with not very much to live off of. Travis managed to get a bike at a garage sale, but he didn’t have enough money so he sang a few songs to get the bike. Aft ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The characters were like able (well the ones who were supposed to be), the plot was harshly realistic, and the ending was satisfying, but not too neat. It left room for the story and struggle of the characters to continue, but took care of the major issues that needed to be resolved. I definitely appreciated that the plot was unidealized, but still left hope for miracles. At times it was a bit slow and on the verge of too tidy, but these parts of the story led directly ...more
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
MJ Auch does a wonderful job of telling the story of Travis Tacey, a fourteen year old boy who lives in the Adirondack Mountains in New York. Travis' mother has a car accident and severe head injury. As a result his father becomes so grief stricken that he cannot function as a bread winner and head of his family of seven. Travis ends up thrown out of his home on on the run with only his mother's guitar for company. On his journey his guitar introduces him to both cruel and kind people. Will he e ...more
Mary Ann
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan of music, especially stringed instruments associated with American folk music, you will truly appreciate the authenticity Ms. Auch includes in her story of a dysfunctional mountain family. The family is torn apart after the near fatal accident of the mother. The older brother and sister are taken from school by the father to care for the 3 younger children and to help raise money for the family when the father loses his job. This story points out the value of keeping fine arts p ...more
Diane Adams
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook, and I LOVED it. The CD version ended with an interview with the author--she explained how her experiences with guitars and as an occupational therapist contributed to the book. Beautiful imagery of the Adirondacks, wonderful character development. Very realistic conflict between a teenaged boy and his father, and poignant description of a mother suffering TBI and learning to speak again through song. No character is perfect, and the ending is not perfect, and all of ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
So pretty much every character in this book found some way to annoy me. By the time you get to the ending you realize it's a pretty sweet (as in kind) book. It's about a guy who gets kicked out and somehow (almost magically) finds a job and starts his new life out. At 14! A lot of things in this book are very unrealistic, but some aren't. I liked it enough but all the guitar lingo I skipped. I mean their is a LOT of guitar talk in here!
Leah Good
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Travis's family is crumbling around him after his Mother suffers brain damage in a car crash. When his father kicks him out, Travis thinks Dad's anger will blow over but it doesn't. At fourteen years old, Travis is homeless. When he gets a job with a lutheir (aka, a guitar maker), his luck begins to change. With the help of his new friends, can Travis help his mom recover and begin repairing his family?
AFter his mother is in a serious car accident, Travis's family begins to fall apart. Things get so bad that his father kicks Travis out of the house after Travis accuses his father of causing the accident. Travis gets a job with a guitar maker and is mentored by several of the old men at the guitar workshop. He glimpses a possible new life and finds the courage eventually to face his old one.
Stefanie Pipka
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Guitar boy is a story of survival, courage and self discovery. As the story unfolds you learn how it feels to be alone and the lengths you will go to in order to preserve and overcome challenges. I found the character of Travis' father a bit difficult to understand; however the story itself offers good action. Overall not a bad story!
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I picked this up because it is set in the Adirondack mountains, though aside from some driving and harrowing bike riding scenes, this doesn't come into play too much. The ending was tidy and heartwarming, and the plot was well paced, though not always realistic. Not one I would go out of my way to recommend, but definitely a solid read.
This turned out to be a really sweet story. While I found the writing a bit young, the story really sold me. The author really knew what she was talking about and it was really interesting to read about guitar making. Really glad I decided to stick with this one.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was one that makes you think about how lucky you are and how good you have it. This book was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Music lovers: Music heals the heart... you just have to have hope and find something to live for.
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book at first I was skeptical but in over all it was well-written and very good.
Made me cry but it was worth it, in the end I just simply love it, had very good story to lean on and learned some very interesting things about guitars. :D
Chris Gross-Rhode
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Travis' mother is in the hospital recovering from a serious accident. His father takes out his frustrations on Travis. Travis can't take it any more and leaves...along with the guitar that belonged to his mother.
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book for me. Having lost a parent, I could relate to Travis somewhat with his mother in a nursing home. It was moving, but somewhat unrealistic. Especially the scene with his dream. but I really did enjoy it.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Another enjoyable little book. I really enjoyed the story of the boy, his family, his guitar, and his new friends. I think that the story has more than one good message that young readers need to hear.
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Mary Jane Auch also writes as MJ Auch.

The thought of becoming a writer never occurred to MJ Auch as a child. Her only literary efforts in those days were the plays which she and her girlfriend, Noreen, wrote for their marionettes. They produced these extravaganzas in Noreen’s garage and organized the neighborhood boys into a sales force to sell tickets and refreshments.

Summer visits to both of MJ’
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