ARC Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

BookReview

Written by: Riley Redgate
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Pages: 400, hardcover
Series: Standalone (I think?)
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Book

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

 

LetsTalk

This isn’t going to be a long review because in case you haven’t noticed lately I’ve been extremely lazy where blogging is concerned but I just realized that this AMAZING book comes out today and I figured I should tell you all why you should read it.

In case you haven’t heard of this book before, it’s about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join a male a capella group. Doesn’t that alone sound like an amazingly fun book? Now add:

  • beautiful friendships made of puns, mutual support, and pitch-perfect (see what I did there) banter
  • nuanced and lovable supporting characters
  • a lot of performing arts love that will be extremely relatable to any music or theater kids
  • Jordan is Chinese and comes from a poor background. Both affect how she views herself and her place at her performing arts school.
  • disability, mental illness, and a variety of races and sexual orientations are also present in this book
  • Jordan’s voice is amazing and both the humorous and painful parts of her story ring absolutely true
  • although she is cis, Jordan’s crossdressing causes her to explore what her gender means to her, which is something I am totally here for and something often absent from these types of books. Jordan also acknowledges the more problematic aspects of a cis girl crossdressing.

(Interrupting my fangirling for a moment to note that although the main plot crossdressing and a whole lot of gender discussion, all the characters are cisgender. This Twitter thread goes a bit more into the problematic aspects of that, and as much as I loved the book, it is totally a valid criticism.)

  • the author wrote her own songs for the book!!! available here
  • the romance is cute and nuanced heartfelt and happy-making
  • I have to mention the friendships again because they are so, so good and pure and I love friendship so much you guys!!!
  • Noteworthy might seem funny at first glance, and it is, but it’s also a heartfelt, honest, introspective book about a girl finding her place in a world that she worries she doesn’t belong to, about friends of different backgrounds supporting each other, about picking up the pieces from your past and moving forward. It made me laugh and cry, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Sondra 

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