ARC Review: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

Between the NotesTitle: Between the Notes

Author: Sharon Huss Roat

Series: Stand alone.

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 16, 2015

Source: E-Galley from publisher through Edelweiss

I was given an e-galley of this book from the publisher for no charge; this in no way affects the honesty of my review.

This book made me really angry for a really good percentage of it. I’m not going to say much more here except here’s your synopsis from 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. Forced to give up her allowance, her cell phone, and the window seat in her lilac-colored bedroom, Ivy moves with her family from her affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, aka “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 the bad-boy-next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

Once things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some surprising new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. And she may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

1. Warning: There’s a love triangle. *vomit*

I hate love triangles so much, which is why I removed a star. For the sake of the story and Ivy’s self discovery, I see its necessity, but I still don’t like it. Ivy is torn between the rich, cute James and the bad boy, Lennie. Love triangles make me want to punch myself in the face. As much as I hate to admit it, this one fit. Usually, a love triangle is set up to create drama, but this one was absolutely necessary in order for Ivy to find true self.

2. The classism is rampant in this book, and I think it’s a super important look at our world.

Ivy comes from an extremely wealthy family. The way her house is described is insane. She and her friends have families who are absolutely loaded. Now, before her family loses their house and fortune, Ivy is not necessarily a bad person. She is forced to move to a poorer part of town called Lakeside while attending her same high school. However, she and her friends all see this side of town as a place for druggies and delinquents and even calls their bus the penitentiary bus. They make all of these assumptions about the people who live there, who would much rather live on the nicer side of town, I’m sure. It’s disgusting to see Ivy and her friends make all of these generalizations based on someone’s socioeconomic status. Normally, that’s not brought about by their own doing. They suffer because of the economy (which is why Ivy’s dad loses his money). It takes Ivy an extremely long time to learn this, which is why she pissed me off for most of the book. They assume every student that goes to their school who comes from Lakeside does drugs or is in a gang or is generally a bad person – which is extremely untrue. Ivy and her family are forced to move to Lakeside and when she first gets there, I honestly could NOT handle her whining about how her life was over, etc etc. More on that in my next point.

3. Ivy. Oh, Ivy.

Ivy is the quintessential rich girl. When forced to move to Lakeside, she is convinced her life is over. She has twin siblings, Kaya and Brady, who are six years old. Brady has a developmental disability and needs a lot of expensive therapy which is one of the reasons why her parents lose their house and money. Ivy is usually always there for her siblings – especially Brady. After moving to Lakeside, she goes to great lengths to hide from everyone at her school that she’s moved. She wakes up extra early in order to ride her bike to school so she doesn’t have to be seen on the “pen” bus. She is especially mean to her neighbor, Lennie, because she thinks he’s a lowlife druggie. She becomes so consumed with the tragedy of her life that she forgets to be there for her family and she forgets about her one love – music. Every night, she would sing Brady a lullaby (Ivy is extremely talented) and because of her crippling stage fright, she refuses to sing anymore because their walls are too thin and she doesn’t want anyone to hear her. She completely changes and neglects the fact that her entire family is going through the same thing. She doesn’t realize that most of the world is in her family’s situation. Ivy starts to understand – albeit grudgingly – that money isn’t everything and that sometimes, the poor people are happier than the rich. A lot of my Goodreads updates had to do with Ivy and how I couldn’t feel much sympathy for her and how stupid she is. She was just blinded by her former life.

4. Lennie is the best guy in the world, and the readers can tell from page one.

Ivy and her friends believe, and have said aloud, that Lennie Lazarski is a nobody. Because he comes from Lakeside and has tattoos, they believe he is a pothead drug dealer who is in a gang. He doesn’t wear the latest fashions because he can’t afford them and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. I loved Lennie from the second I met him. Ivy would have, too, if she weren’t such a spoiled snob. After moving to Lakeside, Ivy finds out that Lennie is her neighbor. Ivy’s brother, Brady, doesn’t handle change well. He used to always pick up the gravel from their driveway at their old house. He’s big on patterns. The first day he gets off the bus at their new place, he has an episode because he doesn’t know how to handle change. Enter Lennie. He helps him find a new pattern and is eventually able to pull little Brady out of his emotional breakdowns. It is such a beautiful thing to see. Lennie continues to prove himself not at all what he seems to Ivy.  Lennie is one of my favorite characters in this book.

OVERALL: 4 STARS!!! I really hated that there was a love triangle, even though it was definitely necessary for Ivy’s metamorphosis into the person she always was, but never knew. This was a glaring look at socioeconomic status in America and how even the poor have things that can make them happy and more close knit than any person with money. Money is not always the thing, but it does help to have from time to time. I kind of really needed to see this message and I’m so, so glad I picked up this book. It was written so well and I adored the message it contained: don’t judge a book by it’s cover; you never know what’s going on inside. (Although, this cover is GORGEOUS). This book comes out on June 16, so go click the link to reserve yourself a copy!

Click to Pre-Order!

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2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

  1. missprint says:

    This one sounds really interesting! (I totally thought you were going to not like it from the beginning of the review but I liked reading about your changing opinions.) After being underemployed for two years I get really anxious reading about characters with money issues but I’m happy to hear that this is a new economically diverse title. Yay!

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