Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Noteworthy // theatre-y fun

Noteworthy is like a super fun movie-musical-comedy in book form that completely subverts your expectations.

The book centres on Jordan Sun, a Chinese-American theatre student who is constantly turned down roles because of her uniquely low singing voice. So when her school's all-male a cappella group are searching for an eighth member, she cross-dresses with the hope that she might finally get the recognition she deserves.

Things I liked:
  • I love theatre-y things. I'm a low key theatre nerd so all of the music talk really worked for me. Also I LOVED listening to some of the songs that the author wrote for the story. They aren't necessary to enjoy the book, but they're a fun addition and the author is such a good singer (I still have The Clockmaker stuck in my head).
  • Jordan has a really distinct voice that was great to read. She's awkward and a bit of a loner, but really relatable, and her sarcastic sense of humour really shaped the story.
  • The book deals with a of key issues including discovering your sexuality (over the course of the book Jordan realises she's bisexual), race and stereotyping (Jordan talks about how people presume things about her family being Asian), coming from a working class background (Jordan's family struggle to pay for bills), and how boys are taught to hide their feelings (there are a lot of instances where the boys get really confrontational and fight rather than address the issue, which is something Jordan realises they are taught by adults). And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Things I didn't like:
  • I didn't really buy into the group dynamic for quite a while. I didn't connect to the other characters until halfway into the book and they didn't all stand out on their own to me.
  • I didn't care for the romance. This is a huge 'it's me, not you' thing because I normally don't care for contemporary romances, and it felt like a lot of it was focused on Jordan trying to get over her ex. I think it's valued - but it just wasn't for me.
  • I hated how long the lie went on for. I anticipated it, but I was hoping for a greater discourse on how female altos are treated like the blurb suggested, and to a greater extent, how girls are treated when they don't fit into the mould. But the story didn't really focus on that. So the whole point of Jordan cross-dressing kind of lost it's meaning for me.
  • There was a bit of talk on gender, but not much. This links to my previous point of Jordan cross-dressing feeling a trivial. It was a little uncomfortable to be reading about a struggle trans people go through from a cisgendered point of view without even a trans side character to highlight the issue. 

It's always weird rating a book 3 stars because the rating means different things to different people. For me, 3 stars is still a positive, and I did really enjoy Noteworthy. It addresses so many things that I think young people need to be reading about, plus the story is a lot of fun.

Diversity note: Chinese bisexual protagonist

An ebook copy of this book was provided to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I've read a lot of reviews for this book recently so I'm really looking forward to it. It sounds really fun! Great review 💖

    1. It really is a fun book. It didn't quite work for me as much as I wanted it to because I was kind of expecting it to focus more on other things, but I'd still really recommend it! Thank you! <3