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Between the Notes Hardcover – June 16, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Ivy Emerson, 16, moves from affluent Westside to undesirable Lakeside after her parents declare bankruptcy after getting behind on her brother's medical bills. Leaving her baby grand piano, bedroom with a window seat, and cell phone behind, she fears she'll lose her friends if they ever find out. But keeping up appearances proves difficult when her best friend still lives in Westside, her bad-boy next-door neighbor isn't keen on keeping their interactions a secret, and the mysterious new boy at school seems far more Westside than Lakeside. To make matters worse, Ivy's best friend is crushing on the new guy who, in turn, is mutually crushing on Ivy. Worst of all, she can't even save face with a "respectable" job playing piano at the country club due to her stage fright and fear of being found out. Short on cash and without the perspective that money isn't everything, Ivy navigates the waters of learning what she's worth in a very material world. Although distastefully shallow at first, trying to save face at every turn, Ivy eventually learns that things aren't always what they seem, and that it is not what you have but who you are that matters. A constant barrage of "ums," ellipses, and disjointed plot devices tarnish the reading experience. VERDICT The lesson Ivy learns is important and oh-so-sweet; the journey there is cumbersome and slightly sour.—Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, IL
“When it comes to heart and finding home, this novel hits the right notes.” (Booklist)
“This demonstrates that between the lines resides truth about perception, others, and most importantly oneself.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Teens will find a true champion in Ivy” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Sweet and satisfying debut.” (The Horn Book)
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Top Customer Reviews
You know, I felt bad for Ivy. Her entire world is upended in the first chapter and sets her on a path for self discovery in the funniest of ways. She makes some insane choices and pays the price for them (nothing too crazy, but enough to teach the reader and Ivy a lesson). Her character development is such a joy to watch as she goes from a naive, somewhat spoiled child to someone who understands the value of family and money.
There is some fantastical romance in this book with two boys vying for Ivy's heart, each one harboring their own secrets. One I saw coming, the other I did not, but it never felt like a true triangle (if that makes any sense). I just enjoyed watching as Ivy learned more about herself while around each guy.
By far the best part of this for me as the family aspect. Unlike most YA books where parents are oblivious or missing, the Emerson's are front and center. When Ivy talks back to her mom? She gets in trouble. When she has a problem, she talks to her parents. It is refreshing to see a real family (that is not without its struggles) that at the end of the day loves one another.
I could go on forever about why BETWEEN THE NOTES is a spectacular book and Roat is on the fast track to becoming a big name in the YA contemporary world, but wouldn't you rather see for yourself?
Ivy Emerson has to give up her rich girl ways to move into a smaller place with not even half the luxuries of her previous house. Between The Notes is the story of how she adjusts (and sometimes doesn’t) and how she falls in love (and times when she only felt like it was over but it really wasn’t) and of how she learns who her true friends are.
It’s funny; there was nothing that was feels-inducing or cute or mushy about the story. It was really sad to see Ivy struggle and push her way through living in a completely different environment. Her only crutch was her music, and even that seemed to be taken away from her (with her piano being too big for their new “apartment.")
I won’t lie—I found Ivy to be a bit shallow at first. Thousands and thousands of people live in slums all over the world…and not because they’re millionaire fathers go broke. They were born with less money and most will likely die that way. And for Ivy to go and on about being embarrassed about her new living arrangements? For her to be ashamed of the new friends she was making? For her to ignore real friends in order to keep in the good books of people she admitted to not liking?
I hated it. I hated her and I struggled with continuing to read the book. But somewhere along her pity party, I started to feel for her. It’s not like she was a monster and looked down on anyone, it was just that she didn’t know better. She didn’t know the struggles that people have to face and she didn’t know how to adjust to a completely new environment out of the blue. Unfortunately, she was not eased into the idea that her father was heading towards bankruptcy and so, the change was quite literally all of a sudden.
Nonetheless, I managed to fall in love with Ivy. She wasn’t quite heroine material, she wasn’t a Mary Sue and she wasn’t perfect. She merely was a really, really inspiring character who managed to salvage all crappy situations from turning crappier and deal with life as it came to her.
And then there were the two love interests.
Let’s start with James :) God, this guy <3 I mean this is the ideal guy. The knight on the white horse. Prince Charming. James was all kinds of adorable and cute and right for Ivy. Like I said, he was ideal. Sure he had some secrets and there were a butt load of misunderstanding and drama that could have been avoided had he just communicated. But all in all, I had no qualms against James.
And then there was Lennie. The bad boy. The trouble-maker. All wrong for prim, proper Ivy. And my absolute favourite character in the whole book. I do believe I loved this guy more than even Ivy because dayum. Not only did the guy sound and look bad boy, he also spoke bad boy. And he did it well!
I’ll admit to hating love triangles now and forever. And this book keeps you waiting right until the end—right until Ivy gets hit by her own version of feels and realises who she wants. Ultimately, the choice was hers and she chose well, IMO. But there was no push and pull, no drama, (mostly) no waterworks and that suited me just fine.
Between The Notes merges the value of family with the importance of self-discovery. Not only was it a book that showed the coming-of-age of Ivy and her friends, it showed how first impressions should never become last impressions, and how sometimes love is found in the most unexpected of people. Sharon Huss Roat goes on to make a spectacular debut with Between The Notes, and I, for one, cannot wait to know what more she has up her sleeve :)
Rhea @ Rhea's Neon Journal
I WAS PROVIDED A FREE EARC OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE OF AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS DID NOT IN ANY WAY, HOWEVER, INFLUENCE THE CONTENT OF THIS REVIEW.
This book was everything a wonderful YA read should be... It was unique, quirky, inspiring, emotional, and romantic.
This story will suck you in with deep seeded emotions and hold you captive with an intoxicating love triangle. Ivy goes from being popular and well off, to self conscious and poor... Her family moves to the other side of town and she struggles to adjust to the new lifestyle. Her goal is to keep the move quiet and not let anyone find out, but eventually her secrets reveal themselves. It's not an easy journey, but in the end Ivy finds comfort in her new situation.
I loved every minute of this read. Ivy's inner battle was frustrating at times, but in the end it was all worth it. She opened her eyes to the what she truly wanted and didn't worry about what anyone else thought.
Team Lennie or Team James you ask? Of course Lennie... I loved him from the beginning. The way he carried himself all big and bad, but cowered to Ivy's little brother, tugged at my heart strings. He was mysterious and caring and quite perfect. James truly didn't have a chance....
Overall, It was an empowering a book that all readers should experience. Highly Recommend
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh my gosh this was so fun to read and with the high school setting, I felt like I was transported back in time.Read more
Ivy's life is turned upside down when her dad's business troubles causes the family to give up their affluent lifestyle and move to the...Read more