Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rival ~ Sara Bennett Wealer review

Rival
HarperTeen
February 15, 2011
336 pages
Buy/info @ Amazon


There's Brooke the popular, "It" girl of her high school. Almost anyone does her bidding. And she hates it. All she really wants to do is use her singing voice to get herself back to New York--where her family lived before her father left her family for a male movie star.

Then there's Kathryn who's been a social outcast ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. Kathryn the overachiever--who's family has very little money--is also counting on her singing to get her out of their tiny Minnesota town, to college.

Brooke and Kathryn might rivals now but they used to be friends . . .

Tiny Lake Champion, Minnesota might not have much to offer two aspiring opera singers, but it does have the prestigious Blackmore competition. With entrants from all over the country and a prize that would bring them both the needed money and prestige to get where they want, Brooke and Kathryn are both looking to the Blackmore to save them.

These two former friends who are not bitter rivals will have to compete against each other on the biggest stage of their lives. And they just might find, again, that friendship they lost so suddenly the year before.


Rival doesn't rely on romance to propel it through to the end. It's not about horribly mean girls (while it does have some pretty mean ones) nor is it about crazy drunken or drug doing teens.


Rival is awesome because it is about two girls who used to be friends until something drove them apart. That something isn't revealed right away, but while the story alternates between Junior and Senior years we see Brooke and Kathryn as they are now and as they were as friends. While Rival does show how cruel girls can be, it's not the sole focus of the story--and it is realistic.

I love how much of the book is about the girls' singing and their ambitions. Anyone who did anything with theatre or chorus, etc in school--or just likes watching Glee!--should love Rival for this aspect alone. I think having the music/singing be so much the focus brings a unique aspect to Rival. Not only does it give the book something very unique, but it gives Brooke and Kathryn something in common and keeps them together throughout the story.

Friendship (or lack thereof) really drives Rival and it was really refreshing to read a book that wasn't about girls going gaga over a boy or debating the best way to get a date. It's not that Rival is innocent . . . it just focuses on a part of life that exists and is important but seems to get overlooked in books.

(There is still some romance in Rival, however, and I absolutely, absolutely love it! Love the main male character, as well.)

9/10


Thank you to the publisher for my copy of this book.

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