February 14, 2011

ARC Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Rival
Publisher: Harper Teen (February 15, 2011)
ARC: 327 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Book From Publisher*
From Goodreads. What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?...

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?

Review by Kate
RIVAL, by Sara Bennett Wealer, is a realistic battle between two girls from different social spectrums. Their common love for singing bring them together junior year to become best friends. But peer pressure and jealousy weave into this friendship that ends in a black eye and a tarnished reputation. This is the story of senior year and a competition that these girls would do anything to win.

Wealer went all out girl-fight in this book. Misunderstandings and social pressure forced the destruction of the friendship between Brooke and Kathryn. Wealer set up the tall and popular Brooke against the petite and shy Kathryn. Can you guess who came out on top of the social pyramid?

Brooke was the typical Queen Bee of this high school. Her attitude and influence on the student body kept her reputation successful. One difference from other sterotypes was the fact she was in choir. Her dream was to become a famous singer and she would stop at nothing to get there. For as much as Brooke ruined Kathryn's life at school, I liked getting into her head and understanding her motivations and thoughts.

Kathryn's connection with Brooke was initally strong because of their love of singing and soon extended to other parts of their lives. These girls were two peas in a pod. I felt terrible after Kathryn was outcast but the reasons were equally both girls faults. Social pressure in high school can make people do crazy things to stay afloat and Wealer made a good point of showing that.

I liked the structure of the book in how Wealer flashed between junior and senior year. It kept me reading so that I could understand the rift between these once-best friends. I also liked the singing definitions that signaled different sections of the book and what was to come. Overall, a great YA contemporary book. Those who have a fondness for the arts would especially like it.



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*FTC Disclosure: I received this ARC from the Publisher. I do not receive payment of any kind in exchange for a review. I do not receive monetary compensation from any book links in my review.

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