Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

NoteworthyTitle: Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate
Genres: YA, Contemporary

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.

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I normally wait a few days after reading a book before reviewing it, because I know I’ll be a rambly mess if I don’t wait. This time it’s a bit different, because I only finished Noteworthy last night. Am I finally on top of my schedule? Sadly, no. I just love this book so much and I need to talk to someone about it, so I thought, why not do it in my review? So here are all of my rambly and very happy thoughts on Noteworthy.

Let’s start with Jordan, our main character. I loved her so much. I’m not even sure what exactly it was about her that made me love her so much; maybe her honesty, her thoughtfulness, or the fact that I could very easily identify myself with her.

Something that I really appreciated about our MC is that Jordan didn’t know for sure that she’s bisexual, because she was in a relationship with a guy that kind of consumed everything. I related to that so much. I identify as bisexual because that feels right at the moment, but I’m still not completely sure. The past few years have been so dominated by my anxiety that I wasn’t able to think about anything else, including if I was attracted to someone. I don’t want to tell you the whole story about my sexuality, but let’s just say that I related to Jordan so much on this front, and I’ve never had that before so it meant a lot to me.

Also, I’ve heard some reviewers say that the bi rep in this book isn’t good because the MC only has boyfriends but that’s shit. The fact that she’s only dated guys doesn’t make her (maybe) bisexuality any less valid!

Riley Redgate has a very easy, fun and clever writing style. It pulls you in from the second you start reading and you’ll want to keep reading until, well, forever. Her writing style is very, eh, happy. I know that’s not a real way of describing a writing style, but every single sentence in this book made me so incredibly happy. Redgate has a way of adding these clever little lines that just make you laugh out loud, even when you don’t want to. And believe me, it’s not that ideal when you’re reading something in a crowded and silent space.

A thing about this book that took me by surprise was how much I ended up caring about all of the guys in the acappela group. I normally don’t get that attached to male characters for some reason, and if I do it’s because they remind me of my little brother, but I really cared about all of these guys. Every single one of them. What also surprised me is my ability to keep them apart, since I always get confused when there’s a whole group of characters. All of these guys had something so distinct about them, something that made them stand out, and I loved that.

Another thing I want to discuss is the the fact that Jordan comes from a poor family, and I think the author has really shed a light on what it’s like to come from a family struggling with money and how that can affect your entire family-life. In this way, the author also comments on the American health-care system and the education/scholarship system, which was very eye-opening.

Beside the sea of positivity, there is one thing I didn’t appreciate in this book, and I left it to the end because it does include a spoiler so beware before you continue.

There is a scene in the book where Isaac thinks Julian is gay and outs him to the rest of the group. Jordan is super relieved because she thinks they’ve figured out Julian is secretly a girl, so the fact that Isaac told everyone Julian was gay, without consent, doesn’t bother her at all. The rest of the guys have no problem with Julian being gay and don’t really treat him any differently, which, of course, is great, but this could’ve ended very differently. Outing someone is never okay, and can have awful consequences, and I would’ve liked that to be discussed on page because this outing is kind of brushed off. At least, that’s the way it feels to me.

So overall, Noteworthy is a book that I love very very much, and is probably going to be one of those books I turn to whenever I want to feel happy. I’d probably skip the outing scene though, because that still feels very icky to me.

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