Sara Bennett Wealer
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Rating: 4.5 stars
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?
Rival was a book I was looking forward to months and months. And for some reason even once it was out, I didn’t read it until now. What a stupid move. Rival was absolutely amazing in so many ways, and has made me very excited for whatever Sara Bennett Wealer comes up with next!
Rival is set up in a really neat way. First, there are the two main characters – Brooke and Kathryn. The story is told through alternating points of view with them. But the book also jumps back and forth from present (senior year) to the previous / junior year. It would be a nice chunk of the book in one year, then switch back to the other. I think it does that four times. It was really fun to read – I love alternating POVs and Wealer pulled it off very well. I would have to say I thought the Brooke chapters were more fun for me to read, as I thought her story was a bit more interesting.
I found the characters to be very relatable, particularly Brooke and Kathryn. I am a singer, so all the dramas they go through are all too familiar. I really liked Matt – I thought he was a great. guy and the perfect best friend :) My sole issue with Rival was Kathryn, and it was only in the last 1/4 of the book. She came off almost a bit self-centered, and I wasn’t too crazy about that. She also made a few poor choices.
I really loved that Wealer finally wrote the music book I have been waiting for. It was a typical high school story, but that element of music being such a central point to the story was awesome. Drama in the music department is so much more than regular high school drama, so seeing that on the pages was really amusing to read about.
I would really recommend Rival. It is a really great read whose characters you will be sure to love and a plot you will absolutely enjoy. I cannot wait to see what Sara Bennett Wealer comes up with next.