Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
327 Pages (ARC version)
Goodreads, Amazon, Author Website

From Goodreads:  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. 
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 really enjoyed this book and I read it in one sitting. I cannot say I am always a fan of Queen Bee high school stories, but this one was different. Considering other books for younger YA readers I have read, I was expecting a light hearted book with a rivalry that ultimately ends with a truce or something similar. This book had much more depth and it beautifully delves into each girl's life and their view of the rivalry. Brooke is the "it" girl at Douglas High, but her status is not necessarily something what she wants or aspires for. Her true love is music, it's what connects her to her father whom she hardly sees or speaks to recently. 

Kathryn is in another world entirely, she is a straight-A student who is involved in the school newspaper and has only one friend, Matt. Both girls are very talented and got into the top music program at their high school as freshman (a rare feat) and they both want to win Blackmore for their own personal reasons. Brooke wants to return to New York where her father still resides. Kathryn needs the scholarship money as her father is regularly being laid off. They may be different but their dedication and love of music bonds them during their junior year and they become best friends. 

After a series of incidents their friendship frays and ultimately ends when Brooke punches Kathryn. A year later things have simmered, and they both maintain their distance and stay in their respective worlds (except for music). When they both enter the Blackmore competition things heat up again and everything from junior year comes back with a vengeance. Kath has the support of Matt the entire time, he is an amazing friend and I feel that Kath sometimes took him for granted and abused his loyalty. Brooke has only her posse of vain friends who still don't understand why she is in a class with "music freaks". In Brooke's eyes Kath has everything, she is beautiful, petite, and has a cute family. Kath however doesn't see all this and instead drowns herself in AP courses, money stress, and the evil vibes she gets from Brooke. As you read this book you can't help but cheer both girls on, they both mean well and have understandable reasons for wanting to win. They both seem to lose themselves at times, but in the end they have everything they need to be successful in their own right. 

I give this book 5 Stars!


  1. I'm in the middle of reading this one right now and I'm really enjoying it. I agree. I like how both girls are narrating the story. It's like they're both the protagonist and antagonist of the story.

  2. I like the cover. It looks good. I'll have to check it out!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment :)