18 July 2011

YA Book Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer


Release Date: 15 February 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Won from Bewitched Bookworms

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Goodreads description:
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.

My Thoughts...

As far as teen books go, this contemporary read kept me well-engaged and really was a breath of fresh air among many books that I've read or am reading.  The musical rivalry was a fresh concept that was woven well into a story of personal conflict and misunderstandings.

Kathryn and Brooke could be the best of friends, and for a little while, they were.  Then a series of misunderstandings and conflicts split them apart, turning Kathryn into a social leper.  As the girls' senior year progresses, each faces her own challenges.  Kathryn worries about how she will pay for college. Brooke struggles with her out-of-the-picture Dad.  In the end, will music bring them back together?

This book read, for me, as a very realistic relationship between high school girls. Their motives and uncertainties made them relateable.  I had relationships like that in high school, so it's quite possible that's the reason that I found it relateable.  There is definitely a little of that "mean girls" feel to the situation as well that possibly makes the animosity seem over the top. However, I thought that Brooke and Kathryn were both complex characters with a lot going on in their lives that contributes to their actions. Each has some belief about the other that is wrong in some way, but they are unwilling to attempt to resolve their differences.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable summer read.  It was really a breath of fresh air to read--a book that isn't all about falling in love with a boy! These girls have their high school crushes, etc., but the focus here is on their relationship and their music.


This is my first "HarperTeen July" post! (1 of 5)

5 comments:

Stephanie Asbridge said...

Hmm.. after reading your review I could totally see this as a movie

Chelsey @ Starry Sky Books said...

Great review! I've been wanting this since release, but haven't gotten around to getting it. Now I think I'll make more of an effort. :)

Alexa said...

I really did love this back when i read it. I'm glad you got the same things out of the story that I did.

Bookish Brunette said...

Sounds cute chick!!!

Chelsey @ Starry Sky Books said...

Great review! I've been wanting this since release, but haven't gotten around to getting it. Now I think I'll make more of an effort. :)

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