ARC Review: Between the Notes

Between the Notes
Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

Between the Notes is a sweet story of Ivy, who belongs to an affluent family that suddenly falls on hard times. They have to move to a poorer neighbourhood, notorious in her school for having the wrong kind of people. Her neighbour, Lennie, especially, who is rumored to be a drug dealer. So, she is ashamed and hides it from her peers at first, even from the guy she starts dating. Slowly, however, she sees that she was wrong about Lennie, and starts to view her neighbourhood in a new light. She also lets go of her fears, and learns to embrace whatever change life brings.

While the story certainly is charming and sweet, it was pretty predictable. It was like a deja vu of all the contemporary YA I’ve ever read. Not that I except something out of the box, but the writing was what somewhat saved the general cliche-ness of the story. What I liked, though, was that her friend still stayed by her till the end; the general trope is fair-weather-friends in these kind of books, and for a while I thought it was going down that road. The music aspect, well, I did expect more on that considering the title is ‘Between the Notes’ but sadly it was more about Ivy coping with how to maintain her social status.

The romance, was cute, if not for the love triangle thrown in at the end. I saw it coming, but honestly, the way it was executed? It was rushed, and felt like the author wanted to tie up that loose thread into the storyline, and so Ivy suddenly notices him. They otherwise made such good friends, even without the love thrown in. 3.5 stars from me.

Received a free galley from HarperTeen via Edelweiss; this does not influence my opinions or review.

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