Publisher : Amulet Books
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 400
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Review Edit (May 2017):
Since I read this book, I saw people talking about it on my twitter timeline and I couldn’t help but notice the concerns non-binary and trans folks are voicing when it comes to the lack of discussion around how wrong Jordan’s crossdressing is. I know there is a couple of paragraphs addressing that but that is not enough and I’m sorry for not noticing it while reading but now that I know I can’t turn away and pretend like this book is perfect because it isn’t. Some say it could’ve been salvaged by including trans and non-binary characters while others say that the problem is deeply rooted in the book’s premise. Either way, although it has great bisexual rep, it fails in other parts, one of which is what I talked about above and the other being that there’s a characters who outs another one. And that is never okay. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling and link you to a review that does a great job at highlighting the problems.
You know how sometimes you go into a book expecting a lot of fun, heart eyes and fluff but you’re surprised, completely swiped off your feet because in addition to that, you get a story of self-growth that has a settle way of dealing with important social issues, creating discussion around important topics through conversations, thoughts and reflections. I buddy-read this one with one of dearest blogging friends, Puput @ Sparkling Letters and we expected to love it but I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that Noteworthy exceeded our expectations and it is safe to say now that will be one of my favorite reads of the year.
The writing is gorgeous while still being easy to follow. I absolutely loved Riley Redgate’s style which takes turns being serious and funny depending on what the scene at hand demanded which can seem simple but is delicate when you want the book to flow nicely without any glitches or weird changes in the pace. The narration is from Jordan’s point of view and she has such a genuine, witty voice that I couldn’t help falling in love with her.
The story is one of a girl who finds herself by loosing it in a character that she makes up named Julian. In order to join the A-cappella group, Jordan had to cross-dress as a boy named Julian and to be completely honest I was very apprehensive going in because crossdressing isn’t something to take lightly and it can be handled very badly. And I think that the author did a great job in addressing the fact that it isn’t something that should be taken lightly, dedicating a small section of the book to Jordan doing research about the implications of what she was doing.
Back to the self-discovery. I felt like this book at its heart is a beautiful coming of age story. Jordan, who never felt very comfortable in her own skin, how she dressed and presented herself found a happy middle when after being Julian for the majority of her time, she discovered that in him she set free parts of her that were vital and that she kept repressed because she thought they clashed with who she needed to be. And that is such an important story to tell.
As I said, I loved Jordan‘s character. She’s a Chinese-American, bisexual girl and was in more ways than one relatable to me, to the lost teenager I once was and I’m sure a lot of people will relate even more to her and realize that it’s okay to not know who you are. She’s very sarcastic and quick-witted which spoke to my soul, her humor was right up my alley and I found myself laughing in multiple occasions. She also grew up poor, her parents always struggling to meet ends each month which is something so important to acknowledge in books, especially YA, because not every kid has the means to have a car, go to fancy schools or have fancy clothes but it also showed how she wasn’t miserable and she managed to make it work. I’m grateful for that.
When she joined the Sharpshooters, Jordan found herself in a little family, an amazing group of boys who were there for each other, stood up for each other even while having their own disagreements. Seeing the competition and rivalry with the other groups made my life, because it kept me on my toes and made the book read like a movie. Which makes me think: Can someone make a *good* movie adaptation of this? Please, and thank you!
The boys’ friendships were ADORABLE. The group is friendship goals. An other thing I loved about them is how amazingly and deeply diverse they were, there was so much work put into the side-characters to make them whole and not just stereotypes of what they’re identities are perceived to be. Isaac who is the second most important character is a Japanese-American boy with whom she creates an amazing tight bond that is so genuine and endearing, it gave me ALL the feels. There’s also Nihal who is a Sikh gay kid and through him she discussed how it can be tricky for religious kids to find a happy balance between their religion and their sexuality. Jordan finds a bestfriend in him, he confides in her and she in him. There are other characters, but these two stood out the most to me.
In addition to the topics mentioned above, the author discusses through her characters’ experiences a hip of other subjects like equality, feminism and what it means to be an ally. Which makes this book such an incredibly important read that I think everyone -whether you like A-capella or not- should read because at the end of the day it’s about the things that really matter.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Noteworthy? If so, what did you think?
How did you think the nuanced discussions were handled?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.