This is a story of the bits between the lines. Fifteen-year-old Rosie has a nose-ring, a dog named Beethoven, and a crush on Asher. Asher is the new kid in a new town and his clothes don't match. He has dreadlocks, homesickness, a crush on Rosie, and a relentless dream to take off somewhere. Together Rosie and Asher navigate school, family, hair dye and Jim Morrison, and plan an escape from boredom that leaves them fighting for the lives they once had.
Told in short lists, conversations, jottings of feelings, jokes, subheadings and collections, Guitar Highway Rose is a fantastically built-up novel which shows, rather than tells, us about the characters' lives. It's a strange mix of first and third person, which allows each character to both speak for themselves and be spoken of by others. Lowrie captures perfectly the restlessness of teenagers in an isolated town; the idealisation of music and hippie culture and the perfect, intense connection of a 'best friend'. Reading this for the first time at age fifteen, my own journal immediately took on the stylistic techniques of Lowry's writing and the blossoming passion of Rosie, weaving the novel in with my own memories. This is certainly a book that will get under the skin of any teenager who restlessly dreams of guitars and the open road.