When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.
And it isn’t pretty.
Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.
As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.
Reading Between The Notes was like being sucker punched in the stomach with a glob full of feels.
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 their 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 shitty situations from turning shittier 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 ❤ 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, dammit!
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 🙂