Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 15th 2011
Pages: 336
Source: library
Buy It: Amazon / Borders / Barnes & Noble
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? --Goodreads
Do you have a rival? Kathryn does—her name is Brooke. They used to be best friends, but after Brooke punched Kathryn over a big misunderstanding they have been rivals ever since. Always fighting their vocal cords to be the best in choir. Always to hold their heads high and try not to notice the other. But when they are both chosen for the Blackmore, a singing competition, things start to heat up once more. Now they are fighting against each other for a prize much greater than outshining each other in high school. The Blackmore is a big deal. With the constant stress of the competition, will this rivalry make them stronger or just tear them apart?

I loved, loved, loved this book! Rival is a masterpiece filled with notes higher than I can even start to imagine singing. Yes, this book circles around two girls who sing in choir—they take singing very seriously.

Kathryn is the quiet, yet beautiful girl who doesn’t have many friends, but is still able to get most of the solos in choir. She was the character I could relate to the most. She was kind and overall a wonderful friend, despite the mess-up that started it all. Her best friend, Matt was the ultimate geek. He played video games and spent most of the novel watching The Lord of the Rings movies (I love him already). If you don’t have a friend like Matt, go out and get yourself one right now because his geek-iness brightened my day. Now Brooke seemed to be the complete opposite of Kathryn, except for the small similarity of them both liking to sing. She was the cliché, the popular one, the one whose rich daddy didn’t have time for anymore. Her character was exact and perfectly drawn that even though she was a bit of a cliché, I still loved Brooke.

The structure of the book was fantastic. Each chapter would switch perspectives of either Brooke or Kathryn. This helped the story grow brighter and clearer than if there had only been one perspective. Wealer would begin to almost sing through some of the chapters. Her voice was lovely and kept my interest throughout the entire book.

There was a lesson learned here, by the end. Not all books execute their lessons well but Wealer brought this unique story together by creating well-developed characters that you will not forget.

If you are hesitant of reading this novel, don’t be. It’s a mix of American Idol meets Mean Girls. It’s a fantastic twist on friends that turns into rivals, walking away from one another even stronger than before.

First Sentence:
"I saw an old commercial once where famous singers used their voices to shatter glass."
-Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer, p. 2

Characters: 3
Cover: 5
Plot: 4
Ending: 4
Writing Style: 5
Overall: 4

Rated PG for mild violence.

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