Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Book Title Brain Dump: A Top Ten List of Rejected Titles for BETWEEN THE NOTES by Sharon Huss Roat
I learned recently that R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps books, starts writing ONLY after he is inspired by a great title. As someone who always struggles to find the perfect title, I’m more than a little jealous. Here’s a look at some of the titles I threw out there in the process of naming BETWEEN THE NOTES. Thankfully, none of them stuck.
1) IVY’S TOWER – This was original title, which I thought was a clever play on the term “Ivory Tower”—a nod to Ivy’s fall from affluence that also referred to the very skinny, tall, apartment house where her family moves. Alas, my publisher thought it sounded too young. I was asked to submit other ideas. Hence:
2) A GIRL, HER BEST FRIEND, TWO BOYS, AND A SONG – A longer version of this title might’ve included “A PIANO, HER DISABLED LITTLE BROTHER, A GIRL WITH A CLARINET, THAT DUSTY UKELELE, HER PARENTS, A BICYCLE…” Yeah. Listing everything and everyone in the book does not a title make.
3) IVY DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – Nope. She moved. And the story is about what happens in the new place, not in the place she doesn’t live anymore. So, never mind.
4) HOW TO RUIN PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING – This is the title you come up when you’re pulling out your hair out trying to capture in a few words what the book is about and… you fail.
5) PULLING SECRETS FROM A SHELF – When you’re thinking about the part of the story where someone is leaving secret notes for Ivy on a shelf, and then the song “Pulling Mussels from a Shell” gets in your head, and isn’t this the most brilliant title ever? No? FINE.
6) MUCH ADO ABOUT GATSBY AND PONY BOY – There’s some Shakespeare in the story, and The Great Gatsby makes an appearance, as well as The Outsiders. So, OF COURSE the perfect title would somehow combine all of that. Right? WRONG.
7) DISCOMPOSING IVY – Work with me, here. Ivy composes music to calm herself, but has to leave her piano behind and she’s kind of falling apart. She’s… discomposing? Ew, that sounds like DECOMPOSING, doesn’t it? And this is not a zombie story. Nobody’s earlobes are rotting off.
8) OPUS DISASTEROUS – Music theme? Search musical terms and try to rhyme them with words that vaguely describe what your main character is facing, and… TA DA! *Slinks back into cave where horrible title-writers live.
9) UNTANGLING IVY – One of many titles I came up with that tried to capture Ivy’s struggle as if Ivy, the plant, was actually strangling her. (TWISTING IVY, TURNING IVY, THROWING IVY, anyone?)
10) BAD BOY NEXT DOOR – Refer to rejected title Number 2, except pick just one character. The hottest one, preferably. But, what about that other hot boy? BAD BOY NEXT DOOR AND THAT TOTALLY SWOONY OTHER GUY. Too long? Dang.
In the end, my friend and fellow HarperCollins author Hilary T. Smith (WILD AWAKE, A SENSE OF THE INFINITE) suggested “In Between the Notes.” I added it to the list, my editor shortened it to BETWEEN THE NOTES, and a title was born. (And lived!)
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