Monday, April 3, 2017
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate Non-Spoilery book thoughts
Author: Riley Redgate
Published Date: May 2nd, 2017
# of pages: 336
Goodreads Blurb: "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."
Rating: 4.5 stars
Check it out on Goodreads!
"It's too simple to hate the people who have doorways where you have walls."
"With so many queer kids at Kensington, people sometimes got weirdly comfortable, like they had a free pass to say anything they wanted about sexuality. I guess it was tempting to stick a rainbow-colored "Ally" pin on your backpack and call it a day, as if that were the endpoint, not the starting line."
"Mama wasn't allowed to be upset if someone took a sucker punch at his weight? There was something deeply screwed up about that attitude. There is no world where "you're wrong" is an acceptable answer to "this hurts.""
I heard this has a bisexual main character and that alone made me want to check it out. Also the pretending to be a boy. I've never read or seen anything with that trope (I know, I need to watch Mulan) and it sounded interesting. I got it from Netgalley and am so glad that I decided to check it out!
The main character, Jordan Sun, is bisexual and Chinese-American (the author is also Chinese-American so that part is Own Voices and from what i've seen others say it's also own voices for bisexuality). The Sharpshooters also includes Isaac who is Japanese (though I must admit I completely missed that), Nihal who is Sikh and gay and Trav who is black. Nihal is easily my favorite side character, he is too precious! Jordan's best friend (who you don't really see but is mentioned) is a curvy lesbian. Jordan comes from a poor family whose father uses a wheelchair and they can't afford the hospital bills.
Also one of the sharpshooters has anxiety and one has dyslexia. Also the author was in an A Capella group in college herself and I could see she knew what she was talking about music-wise. The diversity in this book feels real and authentic. Different sexualities, physical and mental abilities, religions, body types and cultures...just like how it is in the real world.
I loved that after Jordan realizes she is bisexual it isn't the focus of the story (neither is the fact she's Chinese). My life doesn't revolve around the fact i'm bisexual either, it's just a part of me. I also loved the fact that even though she is dating a boy the fact that she is bisexual is still valid! If a book features a bisexual character they always end up in an F/F relationship, and while I love those books too it's nice to see that, yes she's dating a boy...and she's still bisexual! Also even though (slow-burning) romance is in the story, it's not the focal point.
This book discusses and unpacks so many things! Privilege, poverty, how Jordan pretending to be a boy can be hurtful to transgender people, gender identity, and how society places harmful expectations on people based on their gender (like for boys how they say "man up!"), and the ridiculous pressures that parents can put on kids to be perfect and mini-them's.
It also has teenage boys having real and meaningful friendships far beyond just "duuuude". Also..complex villians is a thing. Jordan is also taller than most girls and can't land a role in her school's play because of her voice, and she is not perfectly comfortable in her own skin. Jordan was thoughtful and relate-able too. I loved how everything was shown in the story!
Also the consequences of Jordan's actions were dealt with.
I also fell in love with each of the sharpshooters. Each boy is different and achingly real, each sweet and dynamic in their own way.
It's made clear that Jordan is uncomfortable pretending to be a boy to join the sharpshooters, when she realizes she is using resources for trans people. It's obvious time and again that the author did her research and cared about handling each topic with care and sensitivity.
Also I loved the scene where she gets her period unexpectedly and has to kludge together a pad out of toilet paper (I've so been there!), then has to be around a bunch of boys, while pretending to be a boy and not show that she is quietly dying inside from cramps. While this book discusses serious topics and made me cry on multiple occasions it also had plenty of laugh out loud moments.
I loved all the characters, even the "villian" in a way because complex villians is a thing. I loved the diversity and the thoughtfulness that went into everything. I loved the wonderful moments of clarity and all the unpacking of everything. I loved the careful thought that obviously went into this book. There are also themes of feminism and equality, so many wonderful quotes that I'll be damned if the author doesn't feel the same way. No I don't always think that what a character says or does the author must agree with but there are so many quotes about equality and feminism in this book.
This is easily a favorite book of mine now, that I will have to get a physical copy of for my shelves when it comes out! Books like Noteworthy are making me realize I do love Contemporary...as long as i'm picking up the right ones. Books like this are so important, and I highly recommend this book when it's released next month! Honestly I can't write a review that does this book justice. Please, if you can, pick this book up when it releases May 2nd!