(Belated) ARC Review - Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Oh hey! It's another review, hurray! I finished up the month of May reading Noteworthy, and I absolutely loved it. This is one of many books where part of me wishes I hadn't heard about it so much on Twitter before I read it - I was anticipating some terrible trans rep and gender rep, and I... well. It's out of my lane anyway, but I'll get to that down below.
Okay, so! Jordan Sun is at a specialized art high school in upstate New York as a musical theater "major," if you can call it that in high school. Except... she has yet to get a part in any of the school musicals. She finally goes to ask why and is told her voice is too deep. She's heartbroken, because she's only there because she was able to convince her parents that she'd succeed at a school like this, and in their eyes, she hasn't succeeded at all. But then she gets an email from one of the most prestigious all-male a cappella groups on campus, looking for a tenor to join the group. And Jordan gets this crazy idea.
What if she dresses up like a boy, takes the name of one of her male cousins, and performs with the Sharps? And I'm so glad she did, because the Sharps are FANTASTIC CHARACTERS.
3 Things I Loved
- Jordan's voice. Jordan/Julian told this story so perfectly. I never felt like anything was too heavy-handed while she was exploring her gender/sexual identities (she's also bi!), and I liked being with her when she realized that everyone (read: Isaac) is more complicated than they seem.
- Isaac. OH MY GOODNESS. I'm still thinking about how cute and wonderful Isaac was throughout this entire book, both before he knows about Jordan's other self (sorry, SPOILER) and after he finds out. I just love him. I want more Jordan and Isaac, even if it's just a fanfiction afterstory. (Is someone writing that? Please tell me someone is writing that.)
- The rest of the Sharps. While their names have escaped me in the months that have lapsed between finishing this book and now, I can definitely tell you that I loved all of the Sharps. Riley Redgate is super great and making each of them unique individuals and part of the bigger story, which isn't always easy to do! I was with every single one of them - got annoyed, laughed, got sad, all of it. I was with them. I loved them. *gush*
Well, now that you've asked.
This is completely outside my lane and probably wouldn't have come to my attention at all without book Twitter, but I can objectively see it, now that it's been brought up. Jordan/Julian's storyline is very clear-cut - she is cross-dressing so that she can sing with a boys-only a cappella group. HOWEVER. The marketing of this book made it sound like Jordan was genderqueer or non-binary. That is not the case, and it is explicitly stated in the book that she is a girl dressing as a boy. That is it. So my reservations, when I was rating this on Goodreads, were solely from the marketing of the book and how it was received in the communities that mattered.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I've read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good, but not something I'd reread
- Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart
All righty, so, this book. OH MY GOODNESS this book. I'm giving Noteworthy a BLUE rating, because how could I not? I love it, and I have intentions of purchasing myself a copy at some point in the future. Because it's so good. I love when books give me the warm fuzzies.
This advanced reader copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has no bearing on my opinions - I would have loved this book no matter how I attained it.