Hey all, Dani here.
After reading this book I found myself chuckling at the author bio. Riley Redgate went to college in Ohio (which is where I’m from) and she lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (which just happens to be where my favorite author lives). That’s an amusing and random fact.
Anyway, I’m back with another contemporary book review. What can I say guys? I’m just craving some light fun adorable reads. I’m fitting some fantasy books in too. It’ll all balance out eventually.
A cappella just got a makeover.
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.
Rating: 4.5 stars
This was an interesting book. It felt a little slow for the first half but then I was completely engrossed in everything that was happening. Understandably everything needed to be set up, from us getting to know Jordan and her struggles as an Alto 2 at a performing arts school to setting up the whole undercover scheme with the Sharps.
I have to say that I really enjoyed watching as Jordan (or Julian as she calls herself with the Sharps) started to feel that kinship with the guys and started to feel as if she belonged. I know there have to people who are so isolated, even in an artsy school, but I can thankfully say that I never felt that way with my own liberal arts studies.
The acapella rivalry plot was a fun yet intense one. It really did show how complicated and political the group dynamics can be in a high pressure performing arts school, especially in preparation for a big important competition.
The only thing I would have liked to see was a little more exploration into Jordan being bi. While it wasn’t glossed over or anything, it was such a tiny part of the book. A lot of time was spent with Jordan dealing with the aftermath of breaking up with her boyfriend of the past couple years, and then she obviously ends up starting to fall for one of the Sharps (I won’t say who though. You’ll have to read it to find out), and she had the tiniest flirtation with a girl–while she was masquerading as Julian, but that was basically it. Yes, I get that there are bisexuals who still prefer one gender over another, but I would have appreciated a bit more focus on that instead of spending so much time with Jordan suffering after her breakup with a not so great guy.
But I will say that there was a wonderful amount of diversity in this book: racial diversity, sexual diversity, religious diversity…it was great. The Sharps themselves were just all kinds of diverse and I adored it. They were so accepting and inclusive and just a great group of guys. And once you were a part of their group then they would defend you and protect you and help you. I loved that sense of brotherhood. I would totally read a sequel just to see how Jordan’s senior year with the Sharps turns out.