Google+ Reading Teen: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (February 15, 2011)
Source: ARC from HarperTeen for review
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
Buy the book:  Amazon
I don't like Kathryn Pease. I could pretend everything's fine between us. I could be nice to her face, then trash her behind her back. But I think it's better to be honest. I don't like Kathryn, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

I saw a commercial where singers used their voices to shatter glass, but the whole thing is pretty much a myth. The human voice isn't that strong.

Human hatred is. Anybody who doubts that should feel the hate waves coming off of Brooke Dempsey. But I don't shatter; I'm not made of glass. Anyway, the parts that break aren't on the outside.

Brooke and Kathryn used to be best friends . . . until the night when Brooke ruthlessly turned on Kathryn in front of everyone. Suddenly Kathryn was an outcast and Brooke was Queen B. Now, as they prepare to face off one last time, each girl must come to terms with the fact that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had.

Ok, I know this sounds bad, but I didn't really expect to like this book all that much.  I'm not really into music (at least not the kind of music Kathryn and Brooke are into) so I thought I would get totally lost in all the music talk.  But I was so wrong!

This book took me on such an emotional roller coaster ride!  It alternated (each chapter) from Kathryn's point of view to Brooke's.  I love this type of writing.  I feel like you get a much better idea of who the characters are when they are described by themselves, and then by someone else as well.  About the first I hated Brooke, and I liked Kathryn.  Then I didn't like Kathryn and I started liking Brooke.  Then I realized that I hated them both.  And I realized I loved them both.  I felt like I was nothing like Kathryn or Brooke and that I couldn't relate to them at all.  Then I felt like I was EXACTLY like Kathryn and Brooke and could relate to them completely!  I was angry with them and angry at them.  I cheered for them and crossed my fingers for them.  All this just goes to show how emotional invested I was in these characters.  A sure sign of a fantastic story!

It's funny because there isn't that much in the way of romance in this book (there is a little) but I almost had the same emotions that I have in a romance.  The miscommunications, misunderstandings, jealousy, spitefulness, pride, desire (although it's desire for friendship) were all there.  I've never felt this way about a book about friends before.  I got so frustrated by the way that they treated each other, and let each other down.  I just wanted them to see how much they meant to each other, and how good they could be together if they would only stop being so prideful, insecure, and jealous.

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down!  The only thing I didn't care for was the profanity (which contemporary YA seems to not be able to live without).  Mostly I just devoured it and loved it!

If you love music, you will undoubtedly adore this book.  If you don't, trust will love it anyway.

Come back tomorrow for an interview with Sarah, and a giveaway of the book!

Loved it!

  • Sexual Content:  Minor
  • Profanity:  Heavy
  • Violence:  Mild
  • Other Notables:  Lots of partying and underage drinking
For more details go to Rival on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. And now I want to read this book... Awful for my wallet.

  2. I am a musician and I am very excited to get my hands on this book. Probably most of the time I'll be saying "It is SOOOOOOO like that!!!" Though they do sometimes get it wrong about life as a musician, it's worth it to me to have people writing about it - it's a very unique lifestyle that affords lots of dramatic/storytelling opportunities, but it's not often a setting that's used.

    Look at me fangirling! Shame on me. Point is, can't wait!!!

  3. I am thrilled that you loved RIVAL! And totally humbled by all of the great things you had to say. Thank you so much. (P.S. If I had it to do over, I would edit out most of the stronger language in the book - it doesn't add that much to the story and I hate that it might a stumbling block for folks who might otherwise really love it. Let's just say I've got that as a future reference for future books!) Thank you again!

  4. Anne and Stephanie, read it! You will love it!

    Sara, thanks so much for your comment! I think your comment about the profanity is just about the coolest thing ever! You will definitely be on my Must Read list for anything else you write!


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