I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
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.
I loved this book so, so much! If I didn’t have a huge pile of ARCs waiting for me I would seriously read it again and again. It was so much more than I thought it would. Just looking at the cover and reading the synopsis gave me the impression that it would be a light, laugh out loud kind of story. Like, common, it’s about a cappella, something I automatically associate with Glee, cheesy dance moves and sappy love songs. Instead, Noteworthy offered a very honest glimpse into the struggles of coming of age, gender, sexuality, and disability. I did laugh (because there are a lot of funny moments), but I also teared up and found myself nodding or shaking my head a lot. This is totally a must read!
Reasons Why I Loved It:
- It features a Chinese American MC written by a Chinese American author. So it’s an #ownvoices book, which we need more and more of.
- The MC is also bisexual, although I wish the author would have gone into more detail. It wasn’t the focus on the book.
- It has a diverse cast of characters! The MCs father is a parapledgic and members of the a cappella include a boy with a learning disability and a Sikh who is also gay.
- The boys in this book have well developed and emotionally healthy relationships with one another. It isn’t all hormones and back slapping. This was pretty refreshing.
- There are some very funny moments! Sarcasm for the win!
- It honestly talks about menstruation. For example, in one scene the MC’s period starts unexpectedly and she’s forced to make a pad out of toilet paper. She’s then worried about it leaking through. Oh, and the parts detailing period cramps…yeah I could totally identify with it. THANK YOU!! Why do so many books avoid talking about this?
- There was a slow burning romance that didn’t take away from character development or social commentary. I LOVED THIS! It was wonderful to see the MC move on from a previous relationship that had a hold on every aspect of her life to moving on and realizing what she wanted. And her love interest was just so accepting and encouraging. AHHHH yes!
- A book about crossing dressing is super tricky because how far do you go when there are trans people who have to deal with so much prejudice each day? I thought the book handled this balance really well. There was one scene where the MC was researching how to bind her breasts and she realizes that she was taking tips from a website that helped trans people. This made her feel guilty and I appreciated her commentary about the struggles trans people go through on a daily basis.
Noteworthy is adorable, important and a book that you NEED to pick up as soon as it’s released. Pre-order it, request it from your library, whatever! YOU NEED TO READ IT.
* Also, for fun, the author has posted her recordings of three songs featured in the book. She has a fantastic voice!
Riley Redgate speaks exclusively in third person, so this works nicely. She loves horror films, apocalyptic thunderstorms, and the Atonement soundtrack. When writing author bios, she feels as if she is crafting some weirdly formal Tinder profile.
She plans someday to start a melodramatically epic rock band named Millennial Filth. Until then, she writes acoustic singer-songwriter stuff, also novels.