by Riley Redgate
read in February 2017
I received an e-ARC from ABRAMS Kids through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
Noteworthy was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I am very happy this book didn’t disappoint! This is a very enjoyable Young Adult contemporary and much more original, fun and entertaining than a lot of other books I’ve read in the genre. Though the general course of the story is quite predictable, this book still had me gasping out loud multiple times!
Jordan, the main character, is Chinese-American, just like the author. She’s also bisexual, though I couldn’t find out whether that part was #OwnVoices. Jordan grew up poor: her father is in a wheelchair and her family can’t afford the hospital bills. The main character’s best friend is a lesbian and has “curves you could see from three blocks away”, though the reader never meets that character. A lot of the Sharpshooters’ members are diverse as well. Nihal is Sikh and gay and he was probably my favourite side-character: too pure for this world! Though I have to admit I completely missed that Isaac is Japanese-American and Trav is black.
I absolutely love that the cast of characters was so diverse. Jordan’s story isn’t about being Chinese-American. Her story isn’t about being bisexual. That’s not a bad thing! My life doesn’t revolve around my bisexuality either. But if you pick up this book thinking it’s going to focus on the representation, you might be disappointed.
If anyone is doing Diversity Bingo 2017 like me, you can read this book for ‘book by author of colour’ or ‘LGBTQIA+ MC of colour’. Like I’ve said, I’m unsure whether this book is #OwnVoices when it comes to bisexuality, so I don’t know whether it qualifies for ‘Bisexual MC (own voices)’. EDIT: Some people told me that this is indeed #OwnVoices for bisexuality as well!
Talking about the bisexuality: I love that Jordan is in a relationship with a boy. If books feature bisexual representation, they always feature F/F relationship. It’s great that the author shows that Jordan’s sexuality is just as valid, even though she is dating a boy.
Noteworthy features a lot of amazing quotes, which really reflect how educated Riley Redgate is. No, I don’t always think that what a character says, reflects the opinion of the author, but there are so many quotes about equality and feminism in this book, there’s no way Redgate doesn’t feel the same way. Anyway, here are two quotes I really loved:
There was something deeply screwed up about that attitude. There is no world where “you’re wrong” is an acceptable answer to “this hurts.”
With so many queer kids at Kensington, people sometimes got weirdly comfortable, like they had a free pass to say anything they wanted about sexuality. I guess it was tempting to stick a rainbow-colored “Ally” pin on your backpack and call it a day, as if that were the endpoint, not the starting line.
Jordan cross-dresses in order to join the Sharpshooters and it is made very clear in the novel that she feels uncomfortable doing so, because she is using resources for trans people. Which once again shows that the author did a lot of research and handled every topic with a lot of respect.
Finally, there is some under-age drinking in this novel and some of the side-characters smoke weed, though readers don’t witness that. Still, I am disappointed that every YA contemporary I have read lately features drug and alcohol use, but zero mentions of sex. I find it more realistic that teenagers have sex than do drugs.
conclusion: Noteworthy is the reason why I continue to pick up Young Adult contemporaries, even though I tend to dislike those books most of the time. The setting is very unique: the boarding school stands out among other high school contemporaries. I will definitely read other books by Riley Redgate, as she proved to be very educated and well-researched. Make sure to get a copy on March 2nd! I sure will!