Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Rival


Author: Sara Bennett Wealer
Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Library
Synopsis: What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?

Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.

Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.

The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation. 

As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?

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There's nothing like reading a great contemporary novel. Since blogging, contemporary has been one of the genres I've been reading more of as I hear about all the recommendations other bloggers have. With contemporary titles you can directly relate what happens in the story to your own life. It's an escape but a real one if that makes sense. Rival was a great example of it.

There were two perspectives in Rival: Brooke and Kathryn. They're enemies though you won't find out why until later on. They both have one important passion in common: music. They're both incredibly talented.

Brooke is honestly a very different kind of character. All she cares about is music. She hates being fake and isn't into the popularity thing. Of course, she is the most popular girl in school. Brooke doesn't care about it though except to use her influence when she needs it. She doesn't think she deserves to be that popular either, it's something about her. She fascinated me. I loved and hated Brooke. She had seemingly everything but she felt so lonely. She hurt Kathryn without even thinking it. She has her issues though, like how she feels like she's way too tall.

Kathryn is our Cinderella. She lives with her whole family and is embarrassed by her sweet dad and having her mom make her clothes. Kathryn needs money and unlike Brooke, has practically no friends with the exception of Matt, her geeky friend. Matt was stereotypical but there were some very cute moments with him. I wish we could have seen more. Kathryn herself had me rooting for her and rolling my eyes at her. I think this is exactly what Sara Bennett Wealer wanted.

At the end of the day, I can't pick which of the two girls I like better. Both of them I've hated and loved. Not one of them is better than the other. That's exactly how it should be and I'm pleased to feel that way.

What I liked most about Rivals were two things: the music, and the characters.

I'm not a huge music buff so most of the references didn't mean much to me but I loved that Brooke and Kathryn had something they both cared for so much. They knew about music the way some bloggers know books- intimately well. That was their passion and I loved reading of it. I think everyone should have something they care about like that- something that takes time and energy and work. It needs to be rewarding though and music was. I understood that.

The characters (and by this, I mean mostly Chloe) were very unique and memorable. Chloe was the popular girl's best friend. She was always trying to make sure Brooke "fulfilled her duties". Those were running homecoming campaigns, taking down anyone in Brooke's way and finding the next generation of popular people. She wasn't really a friend and acted fake all the time. It was so easy to hate Chloe but then you'd learn something about her that had you wondering. Chloe is the character who I consider needs the most help and I would love to read a book about her to get to know her better. It's rare that a side character leaves that kind of impression.

The plot itself wasn't the special part. As plots go, I'd say it was fairly good. The way it was done was the great part. If you haven't done so already, I recommend you check out Rival to see what you're missing. 4 stars,


1 comment:

  1. Interesting. We recently read another dual POV book centered around music: GUITAR NOTES by Mary Amato. Definitely a good read to us, so maybe we should check out RIVAL too!


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