Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.
In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…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.
I received a copy of this book from Amulet Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
INCOMING GUSHFEST IN 3, 2, 1……
I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK TO PIECES??? I thought I might have found it enjoyable because of all the diverse elements and the concept, but I was not prepared for the affect it was going to have on me. I can almost guarantee that this book will be on my “Fave Books I Read In 2017” post at the end of the year. I annotated pretty much EVERYTHING. Honestly from the very first line which was:
“Monday morning was the worst possible time to have an existential crises, I decided on a Monday morning, while having an existential crisis.”
I knew I was going to love this book.
If this was a video it’d be the part where I say to pause it whilst you go purchase a copy for yourself.
I WAS SO SAD WHEN I FINISHED IT BECAUSE I WAS SO ATTACHED TO EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. I’ll try to stop screaming at you all, but no promises!!!
So, our main character Jordan is a bisexual Chinese-American girl who has definitely become one of my favourite characters EVER. She was so wonderful. She made me laugh and cry and feel a whole range of emotions. She was so incredible real and considering this is an #ownvoices book it’s probably not surprising.
Jordan is trying to figure out herself and her sexuality whilst also trying to succeed in scoring a spot in her school musical. She’s starting to think that she may be bisexual, but is unsure because she was in a relationship with a boy. Riley Redgate did a great job of portraying that despite your current or past relationships you’re still valid as a bisexual person. The romance in this is ultimately F/M, but that doesn’t erase the fact that Jordan is bisexual. Another thing I loved was that Jordan’s family was depicted as not being well off financially. As someone who comes from a poor family, this was so comforting to see. Normally class in books is always middle or upper.
“Honestly, the only thing more sobering that being poor was dealing with it.”
I was fully expecting to hate the a cappella group that Jordan infiltrates. I thought they would be really shitty ass boys that would make me wanna punch things. Boy, was I wrong. Don’t get me wrong – there are some REALLY shitty people in this book, but the Sharpshooters aren’t one of them. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. In fact, if he was like 10 years older Isaac would be one of the new loves of my life. It’s not often that I get invested in romances, but this was one I was definitely getting behind. Jordan and Isaac were ADORABLE. I also loved the diversity within the Sharpshooters. I loved the friendship between Jordan and the guys. They all cared about each other so much?? IT WAS SO PURE.
This book is so, so important and brings up so many great issues and topics. It delves into gender, sexuality and race. I feel like everything was handled pretty damn well. One thing I loved was just how much Riley Redgate went into “dressing up” vs. being trans. I always get worried with the “pretending to be the opposite sex” trope because so much can go wrong. It’s one thing to just dress up for fun and another to actually be transgender or genderfluid/non-binary. However, that was really bought to light in this book and Jordan totally recognised her privilege (in that sense).
“I guess it was tempting to stick a rainbow-colored ‘Ally’ pin on your backpack and cal it a day, as if that were the endpoint, not the starting line.”
Even though this book does delve into a lot of serious topics it’s also incredibly fun. I LAUGHED SO MUCH WHILST READING THIS. Like, the inevitable scene where Jordan’s facade ended was PERFECT and even though I knew it was going to happen the whole time I was like AHHH WHAT IS GONNA HAPPEN???????? It’s a super quick read that I didn’t want to put down which sucked because WHY DID IT HAVE TO END. I WANT A SEQUEL 😭😭😭!!!!!
Something else that’s SUPER FUN is that Riley Redgate ACTUALLY created some of the songs featured in this book!!!! Her voice is AMAZING, so I definitely recommend checking it out.
Anyway, like I said in this tweet:
Please, please, please read this book because it is so WONDERFUL I can’t even express it in words.