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. (Goodreads)
*I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
4/5 stars, a heartfelt story
Despite my limited knowledge of most of Noteworthy's "hot topics," I was still able to thoroughly enjoy it. Riley Redgate created a super sympathetic, relatable main character that I rooted for starting with the hilarious opening line.
What I liked:
Jordan Sun was a sympathetic, funny, realistic character. I rooted for her, I felt for her, she was wonderful. Jordan is Chinese (as is the author), from a severely low-income family with a disabled father, and questioning her sexuality.
The side characters were complex, real, accepting, and loyal. It's not an easy feat to create seven unique characters and, for the most part, I think Redgate nailed it. Shout-out to my least favorite/least memorable character in the a cappella group: Marcus! I constantly confused him for a much better character, Mama....that's a nickname, by the way. A wonderful one.
The book, thanks to Redgate, was sensitive to a few topics (and here are the ones I noticed): sexuality, transgender people, races, religion, and gender stereotypes. The school at which Jordan attends was a progressive one, but that didn't mean these things were glossed over. I really appreciated the time Jordan spent on feeling guilty and uncertain with her cross-dressing.
What I didn't like:
There was a certain vagueness to the book's blurb and stakes. I didn't know what the stakes were, aside from her being found out. Almost half-way into the book, the stakes showed themselves. Jordan had to remain in disguise to help the Sharpshooters win a contest, and then go on a tour abroad. Her parents essentially told her this was her last semester at school because she hadn't done anything noteworthy - pun intended - so far. This contest was her chance to prove her time at school was worth it.
Because of that vagueness, I didn't know where the book was going exactly and I hit a lull around 50% in. There was no clear endpoint or goal (because her parents were pulling her out of school regardless).
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate will be published May 2, 2017.