AUTHOR: Riley Redgate
PUBLISHER: Amulet Books
GENRE: Contemporary, Young Adult, LGBT
RATING: 5/5 Stars
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: 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.
What I Liked:
- Let's start with the Performing Arts college setting because I loved it! I actually went to University to study Performing Arts myself, so I was overjoyed to find such a specific setting I could relate to. The fight for rehearsal spaces, dramatic breakdowns, music vs. theatre student rivalry and even backstage crew were 100% spot on! Redgate's writing is as great as I remember too, and this book is so funny. I actually had to stop myself from laughing out loud on public transport a fair few times, and it's actually very rare for a book to make me laugh like that!
- The characters were so well written! Whatsmore, as well as being complex and three-dimensional, they were so diverse! Jordan, the book's MC, was fun & feisty and I really rooted for her from the beginning, as well as revelling in the fact that she was Chinese and bisexual! It's so difficult to find books with such intersectionality so I adored this! While a little fuelled by testosterone at times, I adored Isaac (I'm a sucker for a cheeky boy), Trav (the anxious perfectionist who perfectly represented me), and Nihal (the Sikh best friend I wish I'd had growing up) and Redgate did a great job of making them all relateable in some way or another.
- There were a lot of issues covered in this book and amongst the comedy and banter came a lot of reflection on society and American life. Redgate looked at class and poverty, the impact of hospital fees, racism, sexism, privilege, and even mental and physical health. So much diversity and so much to talk about, but never once did it get in the way of the actual story.
What I Disliked:
- For me, most of these weren't dislikes as such. But they are things I can see that might bother some people. There weren't as many technical terms as I expected, but there were some and they would only be really understood by a niche number of people. However, I suppose that's no different to a crime thriller containing vocabulary found only in the local police department, and so I think it can be forgiven! I wasn't totally convinced by the mini romance plot either, but I grew to like it even though it didn't totally add to the story.
I really loved this latest book by Riley Redgate. Even more than I loved 'Seven Ways We Lie' because I found it to be a more fluid, funny, likeable story and it still had the charm of her debut! Amazing character work, fantastic writing skills and a relateable setting that made me think of my own Uni campus! I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it, it covers so many issues and contains so much diversity effortlessly! Bravo Miss Redgate!