Jordan Sun is a student at an elite performing arts boarding school, but she can’t catch a break—she hasn’t been cast in any of the school’s plays or musicals. Her low voice is partially to blame, but when a spot opens up in the Sharpshooters, an esteemed all-male a capella group, her low voice proves itself useful. Dressed as a boy and going by the name Julian, she makes it into the group, and as the Sharpshooters prepare for an upcoming a capella competition, Jordan scrambles to conceal her femininity, an effort that ultimately brings her face-to-face with truths about herself as she deals with the emotional aftermath of a bad break-up, questions about her sexuality, and the pressures of coming from a low-income family while attending an expensive institution.
The crossdressing female character is a familiar storyline, but Redgate makes it new with a diverse cast of characters and an admirable consideration of class, race, sexuality, and disability. Jordan’s contemplation of her own identity is well-drawn and authentic, and the issues Redgate represents emerge naturally and realistically from the novel’s page-turning plot developments. Full of humor and song, Noteworthy is a heartening story of friendship and self-discovery.
Note: Though Redgate and I are not acquaintances, she and I were in attendance at the same college for two years.