Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review: Noteworthy - Riley Redgate

Noteworthy 
Riley Redgate
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, GLBT
Publisher: Amulet Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads


Jordan was lucky enough to earn a scholarship to the prestigious Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. She has a love for musical theatre, but after two years, she has yet to be cast in a show due to her height and her voice being in the lower register. When the Sharpshooters post an audition call, Jordan sees an opportunity to show she belongs at Kesingington. The only problem is that the Sharpshooters are an all MALE a cappella group.
"since the Kensington a cappella scene was a shade or two less friendly than the mafia, and a shade or two more exclusive."


When I first started reading Noteworthy, I thought it was going to be a She's the Man type comedy. The beginning of the book was light and comical, but as the story progressed, it went a LOT deeper than I expected.

Jordan was struggling with feeling like she belonged. Her parents wanted that proof that she should stay at Kensington. Jordan wanted to prove that she belonged at Kensington, and she also wanted to feel like she belonged. Jordan spent the first two years in her "love bubble" with her boyfriend, who after moving on from Kensington, also moved on from her. There she was, junior year - no boyfriend, no friends, and no roles. The Sharpshooters filled a bigger hole than she anticipated. It wasn't just earning the spot in the group, she began to grow, struggle with her identity, and find herself.

One thing Redgate explored from multiple sides was sexual orientation. She had gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters, who were in varying stages of figuring out or coming out. Some were fully out, some were in relationships but in the closet, while others were at the early stages of understanding their own sexuality.
"even just pretending to be a guy was changing me. It was letting me access parts of me I'd pushed back, and parts I didn't know I'd had, and I wanted that version of me. I liked her better. She was new, she was interesting, she felt in charge."
There was some interesting commentary of being female versus male in our society. I was really struck by how Jordan felt she had to suppress parts of herself, while she was able to tap into these hidden parts while masquerading as a male.
"A hint of confusion awoke. What did it say that I'd gotten so addicted to my male disguise? If girlhood felt frustrating, and boyhood felt freeing, did that say more about girlhood, boyhood, or me?"
Redgate assemble a very diverse cast of characters, and I hope everyone can see themselves somewhere in this book. In addition to many being under the GLBT umbrella, there are characters of color, plus sized characters, and socioeconomically disadvantaged characters. Jordan's socioeconomic status plays an important role in the story, and her lifestyle is quite a contrast to those of her Kensington peers.

I don't want to mislead you, there are a lot of lighter moments in this book too. Many of the scenes with the Sharpshooters are full of humor and great banter. There are many, many bromantic moments, and I loved getting to know all the guys in these moments.

I only ever sang in the church and school choir, but I do love a cappella. The passages describing the musical interludes were so vivid and rich. I also loved all the musical references. I really enjoyed peeking behind the curtain to see how hard these kids work.
"What the hell was a 'deceptive cadence'? An obscure supervillian?"

And YES! There is a romance. I cannot lie. I saw this ship coming in, and was totally onboard. I loved the way it played out, and wanted more of it.
"The boy in front of me was a past and a present and a future."
Overall: A fun look at the world of a cappella filled with fun and friendship while exploring identity issues.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.









Do you like a cappella?
Let us know in the comments!

12 comments:

  1. Great review Sam. I was on the fence about this one, but now I will definitely have to read it.

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you are going to give it a chance. I hope you like it!

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  2. I'm glad I read your review because when I first read the synopsis I was kind of meh. I was imagining a slapstick girl poses as boy and hijinks ensue sort of story and really had no interest. Sounds like Noteworthy goes way beyond that. I love the fact that it delves deeper. Still not 100% sold that it's one I want to pick up but this might be one that I check my library for. Great review, Sam!

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    1. This book is a lot deeper than I though it would be, but it was a good balance of heavy and light and lots of different social issues.

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  3. LOL at the line about the deceptive cadence! Still don't get it, after all these years. This one sounds fun and thought-provoking, a great combo.

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    1. Redgate did such an awesome job drawing upon her on aca-experience. I obsessed over the Sing-Off when it was on TV, and loved being in that world.

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  4. This one is new to me and I do like the sound of it. I love books with music references and I like the diversity of the characters. Great review!

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    1. Redgate has been on my radar for a while, and I am glad I gave this one a chance.

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  5. I don't think I'd heard of this one before now, but it sounds perfect for my students at my high school. Great review!

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    1. I used to teach in a high school, and I agree. The book offers a lot of diversity and just embraces that whole concept of being different but finding your place.

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  6. Love that gif, I kind of expected some kind of She's the Man style comedy from the summary so glad to hear it has more serious elements to it as well. I'd downgraded this book off my TBR to a maybe read but now I'm thinking that's a mistake. I really want to read now. Sounds like some interesting ideas are explored.

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    1. I thought I was in for fluff. I was really surprised by the issues addressed, and if you like acapella, you will act-like this (couldn't resist it!)

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