Received this arc for Noteworthy two days before a came out and I just completely forgot to do the review.
Page Count: 400 pages
Sypnosis: 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.
When I read the book at first I adored it. It was refreshing, the writing was amazing, and the fact it was own voices just had me fawning over it. I raved over it on instagram and on goodreads I gave it an immediate 5/5 stars.
The struggles of being an immigrant for a Chinese American were shown as Jordan struggled maintaining the education she wanted alongside with other costs that keep on arriving. It dealt with poverty in such a way that I constantly related to the struggles Jordan’s family went through as they struggled to cover all the expenses that arrived to them. It covers bisexuality and gay in such a fun and lighthearted way that I genuinely enjoyed it. And there is a religious QPOC which is something that is so hard to see in many ya books without them hiding what they feel because of their religion.
I had enjoyed it from beginning to end. The story was fun and the group of friends had me laughing out loud at their constant bantering. They were the group of friends that you wanted to be real so you can join them in real life.
“But hey Rea, how come you gave it a 3.5 instead of a 5?” You may be asking and this is why:
Here we go.
I had not acknowledged this until some of my friends and mutuals on social media began pointing this out. With such a big topic on cross dressing why wasn’t there any gender queer, trans, or nonbinary folk? So much discussion about cross dressing and not a single character that is actually going through that in their life.
The book isn’t per se problematic, but it was missing something essential to the topics it was covering.
That’s when I noticed the cover. I hadn’t really looked at the cover when I first read it because I had the kindle edition. It has the male and female gender symbols. It completely disregards the fact intersex and non-binary people exists. It acts as if there is a binary of gender which was what gave me the final reassurance that the book was forgetting something of huge importance.
So yes, many cis people are enjoying this book, in fact I did too when I read it. It’s a cute comfort book. But for all the genderqueer people out there this is not the book for them. Many were made uncomfortable with this book.
Be careful when recommending this book, take into consideration the dangerous binary it is enforcing.
Hope this you enjoyed this review!
Have a great day!