Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Title: Noteworthy

Author: Riley Redgate

Rating: 4 Stars

Noteworthy took me by surprise. On the surface, this seems to be yet another girl-passing-for-a-guy book, but the differences are what make Noteworthy so, well, noteworthy. Jordan attends a prestigious high school for theatre, dance, and music students and over the past three years, she has struggled to land a role in the school musical because of her voice range. On a daring whim, with nothing to lose, she auditions for the Sharpshooters, an all-male a-capella group with a rich history dating back to Kensington Academy's earliest days.

It's when she gets in, though, that Jordan's life truly begins to change. Her transformation to Julian causes her to question everything from her sexuality to the manner in which she's appropriating the lives and feelings of the trans and LGBTQIAP+ community at large. For me, Noteworthy stands out because of the smaller moments--scenes where Jordan will scour the internet for ways to make herself appear to be a man and stumble upon an article intended for trans-men. Or how her status on campus as Julian changes her dynamics with women--and not just on a surface level.

I feel like these are such important consequences of cross-dressing that somehow never come up in a lot of other novels with this trope. Another aspect I love of Noteworthy is the fact that Jordan is a scholarship student--and despite her scholarship, her family is still struggling to support her, financially. Her strained relationship with her parents, who live in California while she's on the East Coast, spoke volumes about the immigrant experience, the class gap that students feel when attending an elite academy on financial aid, and life living on the poverty line. This incredible article by the Huffington Post, Asian Americans Have the Highest Poverty Rate in NYC, but Stereotypes Make the Issue Invisible reminded me of Jordan and her family's struggles and I love that Redgate captured that in such a seamless manner. It isn't an overwhelming part of the plot, but it's integral to Jordan's life at Kensington and her growth.

Redgate packs a lot into this novel, but Noteworthy is still a light, immensely readable story. Jordan's integration into the Sharpshooters, her slow-build romance with one of the members, and the ensuing a-capella wars are all a delight. Her recent break-up with her ex-boyfriend, Michael, was a slight aspect of the novel that I had trouble connecting with, but the large majority of this novel is an absolute hit. Don't miss it!


  1. I've heard nothing but great things about this book and how wonderful it is, so I am so glad to see you enjoyed it so much too! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  2. I love the way Jordan gets educated in the most unexpected of ways here. I'm a huge fan of Pitch Perfect so I'm looking forward to that aspect of the novel as well along with learning more about the LGBTQIAP+ community.

  3. A new author and book for me. Thanks for the review.

  4. Sounds like an original story that sheds light on a lot of gender issues. Happy to hear this was a nice surprise for you, Keertana. :)

  5. Love slow building romances and this sounds like a good story overall. Wonderful review for this and thanks for putting it on my radar!

  6. I'm glad that being transgender is focused on in this novel, even if the MC isn't but that's what she's almost presenting herself as. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Awesome review! I have this one on my TBR list since I read Redgate's debut, Seven Ways We Lie, last year and liked it. And I'm really looking forward to reading this one since there have been so many positive reviews floating in the blogosphere.

    - Summer

  8. Wow! It is amazing that this book is light in tone, and yet so dense in topics/issues. That is really well-done. I'd not even heard of this author or book before your post. O_O I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Keertana!

    Have a fantastic weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  9. I hadn't heard of this, and when I saw the uninspiring cover/title, I just started to skim your review, not really that interested.

    On closer inspection though, this book sounds great and really unique. Nice review :)

  10. I really do like it when books you didn't imagine you would end up enjoying, end up surprising you the most. I hadn't heard about this book before your review, but it truly sounds like a great read, and I do like all of the tough issues that the author deals with too! Fab review as always darling!


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