19 May 2011

{Book Review} Rival

By: Me My Shelf And I | 19 May 2011 at 5:56 AM | | | | |


Author: Sara Bennett Wealer
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 327
Published: Feb 15, 2011
Rating: 4 Birds

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?

I will be the first to tell you, if you don’t like anything to do with music, competitions, or girls in high school having little tiffs; this book isn’t for you! However, if you’re like me and you live for that, you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

Brooke and Kathryn are your typical polar opposites when it comes to two high school seniors. The only thing bringing them together is their love for music, specifically singing.

On the one hand, you have Brooke. Sure, she’s “Queen B” (which funnily enough is used in the story), but she’s also incredibly insecure. During freshman year, she and Kathryn were the first two freshmen to be picked straight into Honors Choir off of auditions. The thing is, Brooke never feels like anyone understands this other side of her, which is choir. She’s popular, she has the friends, everyone loves her…and the down side to it for anyone else? If she hates you, everyone hates you. She doesn’t ever feel like anyone could possibly understand what she’s going through when it comes to the hopes of competing in the Blackmore competition. Brooke is the baby of the family, with twin brothers who are off gallivanting at college (but come back all the time for parties senior year), a mother who overworks herself, and a father who pretty much abandoned her for a man.

With Brooke’s biggest dream being going back to NYC, she feels not only would it give her the advantage of the best schools, but her father’s love and devotion.

Junior year started, and pretty much ended with a bang. It all started with a simple invitation to a party at Brooke’s house to ‘get to know new people’. The problem was, it was all a ruse from Chloe to have someone new in the group. Cue Kathryn.

Kathryn has always been a huge, well the best way to say it, choir nerd. You know what, I can say it because I was one too! She takes on everything she possibly can – newspaper duties, AP programs, and a family who doesn’t have a lot to live off of. Her parents are still together, but her father is constantly looking for work and it hits to Kathryn more when she has to go to a school with everyone she thinks lives the fabulous life. Her best friend Matt always tries to keep her in check, but sometimes he’s not even enough. Kathryn’s jealousy of Brooke is seeable, but not overbearing. When she gets to know Brooke, she finds a good friend in her that she can share secrets with.

The same holds true for Brooke – that is, until Chloe gets in the way. The only thing that neither Kathryn nor Brooke realize, is that Chloe is doing just that. Junior year had ended with a bang, and senior year starts with Kathryn being a leper in the eyes of every other senior, aside from Matt.

A lot of the story is your typical high school hullabaloo, but a lot of it ends up being the story that no one wants to tell of their own high school experience. Kathryn and Brooke both go into the Blackmore hoping to win, to prove themselves to others, and most of all to prove themselves to well, themselves. They both nearly gave up on it because of the fighting going on with each other, and with their own thoughts.

Brooke wanted her father, Kathryn wanted to get the money to, in a sense, save her father from further debt. What neither of them realize is how much they probably could have used each other in the time of preparation for the competition.

So who wins? You’ll have to read it all to find out.

I gave the story 4 Birds for showing honesty, behind the mask takes of characters, and being about music! It also gets a fantastic hurrah because I am in LOVE with the cover. A piano and a flower; what musician wouldn’t find this amazing? I’m a complete sucker for this type of story, and am looking forward to more works from Sara!

Find Rival and Sara Bennett Wealer:


Rosmelie siggy


  1. Just picked this up from the library today. Thanks for sharing your review!

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

  2. Sounds like it'd be 'meh' for me! Thanks for the heads up chick! xoxo


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