A cappella just got a makeover.
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.
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.
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.
My Review: 5 Stars
As someone who loves the Pitch Perfect movies, I knew that I had to read this book about a cappella. And I had also read Riley Redgate's first book, Seven Ways We Lie, last year and I liked it. But I definitely liked this book much more than her first book. While her first book had the perspectives of many characters, this one focused on one main character and developed just Jordan's story as well as the other characters in her life. There were so many topics that were well handled in this book.
I loved so many facets of Jordan's character. She is Chinese American, figuring out her sexuality, and also poor. She struggles with the fact that she has a scholarship to attend Kensington and yet she still isn't cast in any of the main shows because of her voice not fitting the roles. It really shows her family's struggles and how it makes things like money a big deal to her while so many of the other kids at Kensington don't have any issues with money at all. And her dad is a paraplegic which also brings up some issues with healthcare and welfare in the US.
I loved how complex the characters were and how well we got to know the guys in the Sharpshooters. I often try to read books with good female friendships between girls but it was good to read strong friendships between boys in this book (and some between the guys and someone they thought was a guy). My favorites of the guys were Isaac and Nihal. Nihal was a super sweet guy who is a Sikh who really gets close with and confides in "Julian" (Jordan's fake name). Isaac was Japanese and may have things going on in his life that he isn't telling the guys. Jon Cox and Mama are roommates and close friends with each other. Marcus is a freshman who really cares about politics and people voting in local elections. Erik is a freshman who can be a bit annoying and worried about fitting in. Trav is the music leader and intense and cares a lot about the group and a cappella.
I also really enjoyed the romance in this book. I don't want to say too much about it but it is sweet and I liked the two characters together. It is the kind of relationship that Jordan needs after her relationship with previous boyfriend Michael didn't end well. The new guy is much better for her.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.