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.
An A Ca-Awesome YA Contemporary!
From the moment I heard that Noteworthy was being promoted as "Pitch Perfect meets Mulan" I knew this book was going to be the perfect read for me, and I wasn't wrong. Noteworthy is a fantastic YA Contemporary book about a capella and what it means to break gender norms.
What I Loved:
Jordan is a Chinese girl with a contralto voice and perfect for a capella singing, not theater. Since there's only an opening for an all-male a capella group, she risks it and dresses up as a guy to audition. While this may sound somewhat childish and impossible to pull off, Jordan makes it look believable as she takes us undercover into the Sharpshooters' inner circle and the secret life behind a capella groups!
It was fun to go on this journey with Jordan. I loved her commitment in pulling through this act that, while it's not exactly right or fair towards the Sharps (lying about her gender), Jordan carries the weight of her actions constantly on her shoulders. Stepping into another gender's shoes proved to be a liberating, empowering, and eye-opening experience for Jordan. With this she soon realizes that we often limit ourselves or let society set our limits in what we can and cannot do solely based on our gender, when it shouldn't be an obstacle. Gender norms should and must be broken.
Jordan, along the way, also realizes that she's bisexual. I cannot say that I'm an expert in bisexual representation, but when I was reading Jordan's experience, it felt right. Sexuality is fluid and Riley Redgate, in my opinion, did a great job portraying it.
Besides Jordan (who also calls herself Julian when cross-dressing), Noteworthy also has an excellent diverse cast of secondary characters. I like to call them the A Capella Six of Crows gang because basically, the Sharps are just like the Six of Crows gang, but in a modern setting. And instead of being thieves, they sing. Hilarious, I know, but true! They have that fun camaraderie between each other and, if you are a fan of Kaz Brekker, you might find a character with a similar personality. Loved them so much and I wish to have more time with them all!
Noteworthy is certainly an excellent book in so many ways. With amazing characters, strong bonds of friendship, passion for the arts, and good bisexual representation—this is a book I highly recommend!