Noteworthy by Riley Redgate | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Dates Read: August 29th 2018 to August 29th 2018

Trigger Warnings: mentions of poverty, drug mentions

Pages: 400

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Genre: young adult, LGBT, romance, contemporary 

Goodreads blurb:

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. 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.

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.

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R E V I E W

This is the second book I’ve read by Riley Redgate. Noteworthy may be a book I enjoyed even more than Final Draft (review)This particular story was absolutely amazing. I was instantly sucked in and I honestly think too many people are sleeping on it. This was basically She’s The Man but better. This particular story was just such a diverse take on a pretty unbelievable and honestly read like every other contemporary in places.

Noteworthy follows Jordan, she is biracial (Chinese and American), bisexual, tall, and has never received a part in the musical despite the fact that that’s what she is attending the school for. In her junior year, she is completely alone. After her ex-boyfriend graduated and dumped her she is struggling to deal with the loneliness. After not being given a place in another musical she is pretty disgruntled. Especially after the feedback, she receives that basically informs her that her voice is too deep. It is leaving her with little hope, especially with her dreams to be in theatre. That’s when an idea hits her. To try out for the boys a Capella group. The idea is to masquerade as a boy and live a double life – still being Jordan the girl who is studying theatre and Julian who is in the a Capella group. If the a Capella group wins a competition it will result in joining another famous group in Europe. This is a story that focuses on friendship and trying to learn who you while living a double life.

This book was delightfully funny. It had me genuinely laughing out loud and really made me feel as if I was standing beside the characters. Riley Redgate is truly talented at two things: writing flawed characters and humour.

On top of that, all the side characters were absolutely delightful. There is a lacking of female friendships throughout this book but it was incredibly interesting to see strong male friendships. I love Nihal and the friendship that started between Jordan and him, despite the fact it was all based on her deception. I just love strong friendships in books and I really feel that Noteworthy represented this well. I really value friendship over romance, something I didn’t enjoy this book and I will talk about later.

The poverty representation through Jordan was also something I thought was well represented. Jordan really struggles with the fact that her parents are struggling to find work and to get the disability pension (is that what it’s called in America?) – my family has been trying to get on disability for almost six years and no success. Jordan struggles with money and living away from home, it was all so damn relatable to me and I really think Riley Redgate did a good job with representation this throughout this story.

Having a bisexual main character is always interesting to read about and I feel that the author did incredibly well in this book. Jordan really struggles with her bisexuality, having pushed down her feelings towards the opposite sex for years. For own voices reviews on this topic click here to see Romie’s review and Elise’s review.

The diversity in Riley Redgate’s books is a reflection on society, which is absolutely amazing. I feel that she incorporates diversity into her books incredibly well and it stays central to the story somewhat.

There was an interesting discussion about gender confusion, as well as Jordan,  feeling guilty at her cross-dressing and feeling guilty for feeling powerful. However, I feel that it should have been a little more central to the plot. The blurb of the book also implies that Jordan struggles with her gender throughout the story. Unfortunately out of the two or three discussions that occur on the topic, one is serious. It definitely seems like it should have been included more since it was implied in the description.

One thing I didn’t like about Noteworthy was that at times it felt a little bit too long. I feel around 50 pages could have been cut from this book, those 50 pages are specifically the romance element of this book. It was completely unexpected and honestly, it didn’t feel well done. The connection between Jordan and the character was lacklustre and honestly, it just didn’t exist. The story would have benefited from it being eliminated. I also would have enjoyed it more I think if the romance had taken a f/f storyline over a m/f. Considering the author chose to do a f/f romance in her third book I guess I can’t complain too much.

Overall, Noteworthy was an absolutely amazing story. I really did enjoy it, it was amusing and absolutely unique. The fact that She’s The Man is one of my favourite movies as well I think made me enjoy this book even better for me. I highly recommend this book and urge you all to pick it up. 

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Happy reading everyone!

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2 thoughts on “Noteworthy by Riley Redgate | Review

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