Release date: June 16th 2015
Ivy Emerson is moving. Her family is leaving their affluent neighborhood for an apartment in the ‘wrong side of town’ after her father’s business takes a hit. They could only take the necessities with them and her beloved piano didn’t make the cut. Ivy tries to keep the move a secret from her friends and from James, the new boy at school. It’s hard enough without the boy next door constantly teasing her and if the wrong person overhears him, Ivy’s lies will be exposed.
This book really ended up hitting home in so many ways. My family moved when I was just a bit younger than Ivy and even though it was a good move for the family, it was still hard to let go of the house I’d grown up in. This was a book about family, sticking together, finding yourself, and not leaping to conclusions.
Ivy started the book as a bit spoiled and judgmental of the people in her new neighborhood. To some extent it was understandable. She was angry and not looking to make new friends or get attached since she was convinced the move was temporary. Her harshness toward her new life was softened by her obvious love for her family. It was a struggle for her, for them all, to adjust to such a dramatic change. I really liked the way the struggle was handled, no temper tantrums or rebellion, but there was tension in the family even as they worked together to make their new life better.
Ivy had two main boys in her life. James, the new boy at school who she felt drawn to right away, and Lennie, the boy living next door to her new house who loved to antagonize her. Both boys had their moments where I would hope he would be the one to end up with Ivy but in the end, I’m so glad it worked out the way it did.
The romance was present through most of the book but the main focus was Ivy as she discovered the type of person she wanted to be. There was a lot of character growth, and not just for Ivy. As someone who loves character growth arcs, this one really stood out. Music also played a big role in the book. Ivy sang and player piano but only for herself. She had massive stage fright but playing calmed her, something she couldn’t do after the big move. Family was another big part of the book and the Emersons quickly became ones of my favourite families. They struggled, they fought, they cried, they sacrificed, they did everything they could for each other and it just was so great to read.
The pacing was a little slow but I didn’t mind it. It allowed for some great character interactions and even though the pacing was slow, reading it definitely wasn’t. I devoured it. I couldn’t stop. It was fun and touching and one I won’t be forgetting.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.