Between the Notes

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This book was a surprise.  I picked it up on a whim (actually, it was the cover that got me – SO pretty) and couldn’t put it down!  It is funny and charming and sweet, with just a touch of acid.

16 year old Ivy Emerson is rich. Well, her parents are. And then, suddenly, they aren’t any more.  They sell their huge house, and downsize to a small 3 bedroom apartment, on the wrong side of town. Ivy goes from having her own room AND one for her grand piano, with her best friend living next door, to living in a tiny attic bedroom with paper thin walls and a drug-dealing teen in the house beside her. That’s a bit of a step down in the world.

I didn’t like Ivy at first, which is probably the point. She is snobby and stuck-up and judges everyone by money and looks and where they live. She handled the move fairly well, didn’t throw a tantrum at her parents when she found out they were broke, but WHAT a snob. I can’t move to Lakeside! What if my friends find out? What do you mean no cell phone? I can’t ride THAT BUS to school! What will people think?

All that said, she rings true as a character. Her relationships with her parents and her twin 6 year old siblings are authentic, and it never seems like the author forces anything into the story to work. Her love and fierce protection of her mentally challenged brother and her conflicting wish for a life where her dreams aren’t secondary seems normal.

Reesa and Molly are well written characters, again, very true to teenage life. Kaya and Brady are great 6 year old twin siblings, and Lennie and James were as they should be. One a bit scary with a heart of gold, and one too perfect to be true.

I am not usually a fan of the love triangle, which is so prevalent in YA fiction, but I guess it is a quintessentially teen conundrum. Always fall for the wrong guy, even though he sees you only as friend or likes your best friend, all the while ignoring the one you should be with.  I guess we’ve all been there. Ahem. Anyway.

And this story is all about the love triangle. And how perceptions can change when you actually take the time to know someone, instead of assuming.

I liked the musical theme throughout the story, and the parallels with Ivy’s life. She is a  talented pianist, and her music helps her figure out who she is, and what is important in her life.

Between the Notes is funny and sweet, predictable but enjoyable, and is appropriate for all ages. (The kissing will make anyone giggle.)

It is published by Harper Teen.

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