One that 1) Doesn't cost a lot, 2) Is easy to fret (I think a lot of reasons new guitarists quit is because they have difficulty with the mechanics of playing) and 3) Sounds decent for the price. Check out brands like Epiphone, Fender and Washburn. They have some good lower-priced models.
If you want to get as inexpensive as possible in case it is something you don't stick with, I would recommend going to musiciansfriend.com and purchasing a rogue they are around 40 bucks, but decent quality guitars. If you want to spend a bit more and get a really nice easy to play guitar get an Ibanez, they are inexpensive but really nice. I've been playing for 30 years and just bought an Ibanez combo recently for $150 it's the best acoustic electric guitar I have ever played, and it came with an amp, bag, picks, strap, extra strings, and an instructional DVD. By the way youtube is a great place to find lessons to help you get started.
whatever you can afford, I've taught guitar for years, and the worst thing you can do is buy a cheap one, you'll shoot yourself in the foot before you start. Most parents used to say "well we did't spend a lot incase he didn't carry on." The problem with that is that some of the guitars kids used to bring, I couldn't play because they were such bad instruments. Also it has no resale value, if you buy a half decent one you will be able to sell it, if the worst comes to the worst.
Thinking more positive, a better sound will give the novice more encouragment. Ask your local guitar shop, they will sell you their best because they want you as a customer for the future.
hope that helps.
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