Hey guys! I’m back with a book review for a book that was one of my most anticipated May releases! I heard amazing things about this book and I am so thankful that I got offered a copy by the publisher!
Before I had this book, I was told that it had trans rep, so I picked it up expecting one thing and ended up reading another. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it certainly was different than what I initially had in mind. So… before I start my review I want to point out that this book does NOT have a transgender character. It does have a bisexual female character that cross-dresses, but she is NOT trans. It’s a great book for those looking for bisexual rep, but don’t pick it up if you’re reading it for the trans rep.
Now… onto my review!
by Riley Redgate
Publication Date: May 2, 2017.
Goodreads Rating: 4.16 stars (500 Ratings)
My Rating: 3.5 stars (⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆)
“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.”
This book was sold to me as “Pitch Perfect meets She’s the Man” and I KNEW I HAD TO HAVE IT! Pitch Perfect is hilarious and She’s the Man is one of those movies that made me feel empowered as a pre-teen haha. So yes, I had high expectations from this book. (Which sadly weren’t met in every way, but it was still enjoyable and fun.)
Jordan is a second generation immigrant going to a privileged boarding school for the performing arts. She is taller than most girls, she’s not very comfortable with her body, and she can’t get a role in any play because of her voice! She’s been trying to get into theater for a while, and every time she tries, she gets rejected. Jordan decides to use her voice in another way, and auditions as a guy, to get into an all-boys a Capella group!
To stay “undercover”, Jordan has to cross-dress. While doing so, she considers the differences between cross-dressing and being trans. At ALL TIMES, Jordan considers herself as a female. She never considers herself as trans, and the moments where these comparisons are brought up, it’s for Jordan to acknowledge her privilege as a cisgender girl, who struggles to fit into what is known as “feminine” but does not understand the struggles of being trans. In the process, Jordan discovers her bisexuality, and no matter the sex of whoever she ends up with, it’s made clear that she is bisexual.
I loved that the book maintains itself as a light and funny read, while touching important topics like immigration, the problems with our messed up healthcare, living in poverty, and struggling with finding who you are and where you fit. The characters are fun and relateable. There’s even a religious gay character, which I’m VERY surprised to find, but I definitely love! (I made a friend pick up a copy just for this detail! He deserves to see himself in books.)
I would have loved to see some trans representation, considering there are multiple times where trans people are mentioned, and considering how much Jordan thinks about the topic… it would have been amazing to actually see a character that could educate Jordan (and us) better! It’s a bit of a missed opportunity, but overall, the book is full of great characters and it’s entertaining!
I’m curious to see more from this author, so I’ll definitely have to do my homework about Riley Redgate.
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars