Wow, why have I not seen this book around Instagram or Twitter more often? It’s amazing! Truthfully, I was only slightly hesitant to pick this up because I wasn’t sure I would be able to relate to the musical aspect of this book, but whatever! Who cares because this book is amazing!
Author: Riley Redgate
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (Amulet Books)
Release date: May 2, 2017
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Length: 400 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “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.”
This book floored me. I absolutely love it. There are very few things I disliked about this book, but it really grabbed me from the get-go. First off, an Asian (Chinese) MC? Check! Jordan Sun attends an elite boarding school thousands of miles away from her parents. Her parents have their own heart-breaking struggles, and the way Jordan wants to both make sure they’re okay and yet is frustrated by what’s going on with their situation is completely relatable.
I loved the premise of this book. Jordan auditions for one of Kensington’s a capella groups. It’s not just any group. It’s an all-boys group. So what does Jordan do? Dresses up as a boy to audition because of course! The greatest part about this is how Jordan starts to question her own sexuality and views of gender. Her eyes are open wide, and she takes everything in stride. It’s not easy–who expects it to be?–but the way she handles her feelings are exceptional. I doubt I would have done so well at all.
I really loved all the guys in the Sharpshooters. I loved Jordan’s connection with Nihal, and how their friendship unfolds. Of course, it all comes head-to-head toward the end, but the resolution is good and satisfying. I struggled a bit to understand Jordan and Isaac but what happened between them and the ultimate reveal of who exactly Jordan was really had me super invested in this entire book. I also enjoyed how well-developed each member of the Sharpshooters were. Each students has their own story, and we see how their dynamic as a whole makes or breaks the group.
One of the major problems I had with this book was how easily Jordan switched from being a girl to a boy. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, but if they all attend the same school, wasn’t someone else bound to notice the swap? Jordan kept telling us she “wore a lot makeup” as a girl but then switching to a guy… *shrugs* I don’t know. I can’t delve too deep without it being spoiler-y but do yourself a favor and pick up this book! Read it and then come back to me so we can talk about it!