Publisher: Amulet Books
Date of Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Dates Read: April 18th – 26th, 2017
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.
Note: I received an eARC of Noteworthy from Amulet Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: ★★★★★
I had such high hopes for this book, and I am so glad that it did not let me down.
I absolutely adore Riley Redgate’s humorous, engaging writing. She brought a lot of life to these characters, and she handled more serious discussions with such ease and grace that this entire book as a whole was such a pleasure to read. Topics that are discussed in this book include, but are certainly not limited to: bisexuality, wealth, and a heavy focus on gender roles/norms, as well as a thoughtful and careful discussion that the main character, Jordan, has with herself about her cross-dressing and trans lives. There are a lot more, but I’ll let you read about them in the book instead of hearing it all from me.
I’ve never read any book about a capella before, so serious originality points for that. It was interesting to read bits and pieces of how arrangements work and learn about a capella along with Jordan, though I understood very few of the musical terms. There was enough musical jargon to make the discussions feel real, but not too many to make this book too technical or too hard to follow. Balancing technical terms in novels can be really hard, but I think Redgate nailed it.
Of course, I love almost every single character in this book, especially the Sharpshooters. They all have unique personalities and stories, different lives with vices and virtues and everything in between. They all mess up, they all learn from their mistakes, and yet they make such a dynamic, well-functioning group, that every time there was conflict I itched for them to make up and be pals again. Jordan made for a wonderful main character, with flaws of her own but thoughtful all the same.
Noteworthy definitely picks up the pace closer to the middle of the book. At this point, events just piled one after another and made me sit on the edge of my seat, worrying endlessly about Jordan and the rest of the Sharpshooters. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, they did – and just when you thought there was a way out, it was taken away like THAT *snap*.
This book made me feel a lot of things: anger, heartache, joy, fear, and my heart beat a bit too fast when things got really intense. Honestly, I read the scene about “manning up” right before I went to bed, and I couldn’t sleep because of how angry I was at this character for saying that. This is what Noteworthy did to my emotions and my sleep schedule. I truly never wanted to put it down.
Overall: A thought-provoking, endlessly entertaining read that I will recommend to everyone in a heartbeat!