Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Between the Notes ~ Sharon Huss Roat (earc) review [@sharonwrote @harperteen]

Between the Notes
Harper Teen
June 16, 2015
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

Things in Ivy Emerson's life are, suddenly, a lot less perfect than they were just yesterday. No, they weren't perfect then but living in affluent Westside, in the only home she's ever known, next door to her best friend Reesa and her piano in the music room, it was close enough.

Now, with her parents' announcement that they're losing the house to foreclosure and moving to much-less-well-to-do Lakeside, Ivy is determined to keep their finances and new address secret from her friends.

I liked Ivy's character and her reaction to her parent's news. Yes, she got upset (really, who wouldn't?) but she is quite mature about it. Even with her parents not providing that much information, she understands it's a necessity and does her best.

There's still some stubbornness there, though. From her desire not to tell her friends to her refusal to believe it's anything other than temporary to believing maybe not the worst, but certainly not the best about Lakeside. It (and all of the Lakeside versus Westside misconceptions, division, etc) makes the situation and Ivy's move feel more realistic.

I enjoyed watching the growth of Ivy's character as she and her family adapted to their new life. Her parents - especially her mother - and her younger twin siblings are great additions to the story. Through their actions and behavior as well as their relationships with Ivy we can see a lot about how the move is impacting everyone and how Ivy's doing.

Ivy's decision not to tell anyone she's moving and the lengths she goes to in keeping her secret seem almost silly at first, but they start to make more sense as the story progresses. Not only do we understand her friendships better, but also how Lakeside is viewed and how Ivy views it all.

The more she understands why she's keeping it secret - and maybe why she shouldn't - and the more we see her relationships change and grow and new ones develop, the more I enjoyed the story and how well developed it was. I liked Ivy and the book in the beginning but I loved them at the end.

(It's also just about a perfect title!)

digital review copy received from the publisher, via Edelweiss

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