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. Worshiped … 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.
I don’t know whether it’s a good thing that the first book I got from NetGalley was such a good one or whether it’s set the bar really high. I had heard about this book before I requested it but the summary and the cover didn’t grab me. Nothing bad about either of those things, but this book would have gone on my TBR list and languished for a while if it didn’t come so highly recommended.
I adored this book. I read it all in one sitting and have an urge to go and re-read it because the author does language so wonderfully, that I want to go back and read it slowly so I can fully appreciate it. Like every now and again there would be a line where I would sit back, read it again and go ‘yes, that was good’. Redgate managed to do this while simultaneously making this an easy book to read. Some books have beautiful language but they’re not easy to read, but this one was.
I don’t know what to address first in this review and in a coherent way as well. Shall I talk about the characters, how they were so varied and diverse and how it was patently obvious that they were all dealing with shit in their lives, of which Jordan only saw a small part of it? The characters were dynamic and even the villains fascinated me. Or I could talk about how the plot and the subplots were woven together because in real life you don’t ever deal with just one thing at a time? Or maybe I could talk about how Redgate manages to touch on so many topics such as coming to terms with being bisexual, how sexism affects men and women in negative ways, toxic masculinity, considering Jordan cross-dressing versus someone actually being trans, being gay when your religion is against it – it’s all interwoven so well and nothing is focused on to the point where it feels like you’re being lectured rather than entertained by the book.
Or maybe I could talk about the relationships, about how the platonic were treated with as much seriousness as the romantic. Jordan making a best friend was so real and sweet and then she got someone she liked romantically and the two of them were never put in competition with each other. Jordan never treated her best friend as less than her boyfriend and I just loved it so much.
I didn’t know enough about a cappella groups (all I know is from Pitch Perfect) and I think the book would have been better for me if I had. Redgate did well, I think, of managing to get things across to an audience who wouldn’t know the ins and outs of a cappella but I think it would add another level of enjoyment to the book if I knew what the words mean.
So, I’m planning to get a physical copy of this book as soon as I can and would definitely recommend it to anyone. Five stars for sure.