Noteworthy by Riley Redgate – finally, a spoiler free review!
When I first saw the cover of this book, I immediately recognised the title as being a pun. As an aficionado of that brand of humour myself, it immediately endeared me to the story, without even having turned the first page. That doesn’t often happen, so it definitely set up a good expectation for this?
Jordan Sun is a theatre student at Kensington school, desperately trying to find parts for herself in the musical theatre pieces that her classes put on, but never getting any of them. The reason? Her voice is lower than most girl’s vocal ranges, an Alto 2 instead of the typical feminine soprano.
So instead of finding her way in the ruthless world of musicals, she decides to cut her hair, bind her chest and pass as a boy to join the all-male, highly regarded school acapella group The Sharpshooters.
To me, this definitely sounded a lot like the basic idea behind Pitch Perfect, so I was a little dubious as to whether this was a story of its own or just a retelling with a different cycle of characters. However, it’s completely different, all the characters have their part to play and it’s written in a free, flowing writing style that makes it effortlessly easy to read.
One thing I really enjoyed was the casual depictions of LGBT+ issues, religion, and race shown in the story – the struggles that Jordan goes through are all encapsulated as healthy and normal, and although she does question herself and her sexuality many times (due to a number of reasons), she’s never torn between whether it’s a ‘good’ thing or whether it’ll be a problem with her family.
Jordan is also Asian, and has the stereotypical strict parents to boot. This doesn’t come into play enough for it to become corny, though, which leaves you free to focus on her life at Kensington, with occasional interjections – ending up in a situation which Redgate almost hints at throughout the novel, but it still a shock.
I really enjoyed that Noteworthy it started to break away from the typical tropes of fiction of this kind, and portrayed a high school as it really is, not all straight white guys and girls having massive parties and skipping classes. It seems like that’s all teenage fiction authors are capable of encapsulating, on occasion, as it’s a cliche long woven into the culture behind YA, which made reading completely refreshing
This is definitely a 5 star review – I’m really glad I got the chance to read this, and it kept me hooked from the front cover right through to the very last page. Definitely read this, if you like humour and teenage life encapsulated in a story.