Addresses Issues/Diverse · Contemporary · for everyone · LOL · Review · YA

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate


A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…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.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

Source: I received a finished copy from the publisher, Amulet Books. Thank you so much!

Jordan has nothing left to lose. She’s away from home, on the other side of the country, attending a performing arts boarding school on scholarship, but her parents cannot afford to keep up with the sometimes crippling monetary issues that arise from that as well as her father’s health issues. When she is passed over, again, for a play, her parents are thinking maybe it’s time to come home, since the school doesn’t seem to want her anyway.

But Jordan is not ready to go. So in a fit of desperation, she tries out for a boys A Capella group…as a boy. When she is picked to be the next Sharpshooter, she has to continue the charade long enough to help them win a coveted spot opening for a big A Capella act and touring Europe during Christmas Vacation.

Jordan tries to stay professional and not get close to any of the guys because she feels like a fraud and she is really only in it for one thing. But slowly, the boys enmesh themselves in her life and Jordan is left feeling torn and literally being two people, which of course causes her to question herself and all of her actions.

This sounds like a really light-hearted book and in a lot of ways it was. It was funny, and I really loved the relationships that developed despite Jordan’s attempt to remain apart from the rest of the Sharpshooters. But this book was so much more than I expected. Jordan is a very complex character, and her issues very much relevant to the current political climate regarding gender and identity, as well as sexuality. I appreciated where the author took Jordan because it was so unexpected, especially in a YA romance.

The romance itself was also interesting because, even halfway through the book, I wasn’t sure who Jordan would fall in love with. Is it Jon Cox, who seems like the epitome of the an entitled jerk, or Isaac, who doesn’t take anything seriously, or could it be Victoria, the former child star, who thinks that Jordan is a guy?

The best thing I can say about this book is that, without realizing it, I actually didn’t look down to see what page I was on until I finally did and it was over 300. I don’t know about you, but I keep a close look at page numbers while I’m reading. I was completely engrossed in the book and Jordan/Julian’s journey and wasn’t just interested in getting to the end. I think that Riley Redgate really has a future on the stage…I mean the page. Bravo.


2 thoughts on “Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

  1. I love books that you get lost in! This sounds like a great read; I’m all for substance with my fluffy contemporaries, and the setting of this sounds super fun. Like Pitch Perfect 🙂 Great review, I have to pick this book up!

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