Published by Amulet Books on May 2nd 2017
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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.
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.
Noteworthy was a pleasant surprise for me. I meant to read this author’s debut, but just never really got around to doing it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one so far, and since it’s also about a cappella groups, I thought it’d be my cup of tea. Turns out, this was exactly the book that I was looking for. I’ve had some bad luck with YA contemporary books here recently, but this one ended up breaking that streak thankfully! It was a wonderfully delight and lighthearted read that I was able to devour in just one sitting. I’m glad that I gave this one a chance and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.
So the plot for this book is basically She’s The Man meets Pitch Perfect. Jordan goes to a super rad arts school, but is sick of never being cast in any of the school productions. Once she sees that a spot is available for a male a cappella group, she immediately jumps at the opportunity. Much to her surprise, she gets the spot, which leads her to have to continually pretend to be a boy. I really liked how Redgate made a clear and sensitive distinction that Jordan is not transgender and she doesn’t mean to offend transgender people by crossdressing. I thought the exploration of her sexuality was really well written. Over the course of the novel, Jordan gradually comes to the realization that she’s bisexual. This is not touched on a whole lot, but I think that it’s done in a realistic way. Jordan is just a teenager who is trying to discover who she is, so obviously she doesn’t have her sexuality completely figured out yet. I thought that Jordan was an absolutely badass person. I totally connected with her and I love her a lot.
I’m not going to touch on the love interest too much here because I’d rather talk about the group as a whole. I will say that the love interest is in the a cappella group, and you’ll probably guess who it is from the first time that you’re introduced to him. Romance does play a pretty big part in the book, but I think the boys themselves are all rather important. I loved them all but especially Nihal. He’s the one who Jordan connects with the most (besides the love interest) and you can’t help but love him from the first page. He has such a big heart, and he’s such a diverse and beautiful character as a whole. While she wasn’t as close to them as Nihal, you can’t help but love Mama and Jon Cox, who were ridiculously hilarious and lovable. Trav, Isaac, Erik, and Marcus were all such unique and lovely developed characters. I could go on and on about the greatness of these guys, but I just want you guys to figure it out for yourselves!
I sound like a broken record at this point, but you guys need this book in your life. I’m a big a cappella person in general, so this book was a dream come true for me. I’d say that it’s probably one of my favorite books of the year so far. I hesitated giving it five stars because it isn’t super realistic if you really think about it hard enough, but that doesn’t take away from how enjoyable and entertaining it was. I was fully invested in the characters and their relationships. I seriously want a spin-off dedicated to my amazing boy Nihal. He deserves a happy ending, that’s for sure. Noteworthy was a fun read that I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad that I gave it a chance, and I now know that I need to get around to reading Redgate’s debut. All I have left to say is read this!