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Posted June 3, 2012
This was a cute story. You absolutely must read the chapter titles otherwise this story doesnt make sense. Trust me. I wasnt at all surprised with the ending it was a bit predictable. It is a good story to read on the beah. Or a quick read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2011
Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
As a singer myself, I've wanted to read this book since I first heard about it. Even without the description, the cover alone would have drawn me to this book. Having witnessed firsthand how deeply rivalries can run between singers at the college level, I was very curious to see how this drama would play out in a high school chorus setting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Kathryn has become a social outcast thanks to Brooke. Since Brooke punched her junior year, tensions have been high, and this is not helped by the fact that they have to see each other in choir every day. This rivalry only escalates as the Blackmore competition approaches; jealously and fear of secrets coming to light seem to be a constant state of being for both girls. But in the midst of this, they both cannot help but remember their junior year and the evens that led them to dislike each other so strongly. In fact, Rival alternates between both girls' points of view, as well as between memories and the present day, which really show this contrast and brings the reader deeper into the world of both girls.
I loved getting to know Kathryn and Brooke, and I could sympathize with both of them. Kathryn longs for the things that she has never had - popularity, money, the chance to really be seen - and Brooke is caught between what she wants and what everyone expects of her. I would say that these two aren't your typical high school girls, but they are; however, they are not the stereotypical girls found in so many stories. Instead, they both have their moments of goodness and their moments of poor decisions. Sometimes I was frustrated with them, but everything seemed so familiar from my own days in choir that I felt that I was attending school right along with Kathryn and Brooke.
I also enjoyed the scenes in which Kathryn and Brooke discussed music and opera. However, these conversations were not so predominant that someone who is not a singer couldn't follow them. The Blackmore competition may have been the driving force behind many of the events and the reminiscing, but it was not always the focus. However, the competition is part of the story, and while I was slightly surprised by the competition results and the ending of the book, I felt that it was both realistic and the way things should have been.
In Rival, Sarah Bennett Wealer has spun a story that is so realistic and engaging that you can't help but be drawn into it. Despite the frustrations, I had to know if Kathryn and Brooke would be okay after all was said and done. I will look forward to reading what Wealer writes next!
Posted February 18, 2011
High School Rivalry Meets Its Match!
High school is where memories are made, be they good or bad. Whether you're popular or an outcast, you remember that time of your life. Sara Bennett Wealer's debut novel, Rival, recaptures high school through the eyes of two girls who couldn't be more different...or more alike. Kathryn and Brooke are two seniors competing for the same prestigious music scholarship. Kathryn is a soprano with a light, airy voice, while Brooke is an alto, her sound rich and deep. Brooke is rich and one of the most popular girls at school while Kathryn is poor and a social outcast. Their love of music should bring these two girls together in the ultimate friendship, but instead, they're bitter rivals.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The novel flips between "current day" (senior year) and flashbacks of junior year when everything went wrong. This isn't done in an annoying way, however. Each year is focused on from both points of view for quite a few chapters before flipping back again. Rival is so tightly written that readers want to know what happened junior year to make Kathryn and Brooke such bitter rivals. They keep alluding to something, so by the time you find out, you're just dying to know. Wealer did a spectacular job building suspense and keeping the story feeling natural.
Rivals focuses on relationships, but not the romantic kind. While there's a brush of romance thrown in, it's very blink-and-you-miss-it. While boy drama is involved, the male species is not the focal point of this novel: The relationship between the two rivals is. It's refreshing to read a book with this type of outlook. There's so much more to life than boys, but you'd never know it perusing today's YA market. Friendship and rivalry is very much a part of our daily life, especially in high school. At one point, Kathryn and Brooke were on the point of being friends. If what went down junior year hadn't gotten in the way, they would have most likely been best friends. They're so obsessed with music and have so much in common, but it's all overlooked due to their intense dislike of one another.
The relationship between the girls is another place where Wealer got it right. Because she chose to write from the POV of both characters, readers get a multi-faceted look at them as human beings. If we had read the book from just one perspective, we'd be looking through the flawed eyes of that one character. The remaining girl would automatically be a villain. It's amazing to see the same situation through two pairs of eyes. For example, at one point, Kathryn gets complimented on her singing and smiles at one of her choir friends, but Brooke thinks she's being smug and going, "So there!" at her to rub it in. In another instance, Kathryn thinks Brooke's homecoming platform revolves around her and the fact that her family is poor, but Kathryn's circumstances never crossed Brooke's mind when putting everything together. It's just amazing to see the way both girls become flawed, individual characters, neither right nor wrong. There are times when I really detest Brooke's character, but others when Kathryn is out of line as well. Ultimately, I cared for them both and wanted to know how everything ultimately turns out for them.
Posted February 14, 2011
RIVAL, by Sara Bennett Wealer, is a realistic battle between two girls from different social spectrums. Their common love for singing bring them together junior year to become best friends. But peer pressure and jealousy weave into this friendship that ends in a black eye and a tarnished reputation. This is the story of senior year and a competition that these girls would do anything to win.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Wealer went all out girl-fight in this book. Misunderstandings and social pressure forced the destruction of the friendship between Brooke and Kathryn. Wealer set up the tall and popular Brooke against the petite and shy Kathryn. Can you guess who came out on top of the social pyramid?
Brooke was the typical Queen Bee of this high school. Her attitude and influence on the student body kept her reputation successful. One difference from other sterotypes was the fact she was in choir. Her dream was to become a famous singer and she would stop at nothing to get there. For as much as Brooke ruined Kathryn's life at school, I liked getting into her head and understanding her motivations and thoughts.
Kathryn's connection with Brooke was initally strong because of their love of singing and soon extended to other parts of their lives. These girls were two peas in a pod. I felt terrible after Kathryn was outcast but the reasons were equally both girls faults. Social pressure in high school can make people do crazy things to stay afloat and Wealer made a good point of showing that.
I liked the structure of the book in how Wealer flashed between junior and senior year. It kept me reading so that I could understand the rift between these once-best friends. I also liked the singing definitions that signaled different sections of the book and what was to come. Overall, a great YA contemporary book. Those who have a fondness for the arts would especially like it.
Posted April 18, 2011
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Posted July 22, 2011
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Posted February 25, 2011
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