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Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    A Wonderful Book for any age -

    When two musically gifted girls are pitted and compared to each other as kids, they might have a nasty, threatening rivalry in high school. Neither Brooke, Katherine, nor their Eco-chosen friends follow how deeply seated the complications really are. Author Sara Bennett Wealer knows music, young people and even digs their parental generation values in this "teen" novel written for anyone who's ever experienced talent, friendship and/or rejection. "Obstinato: stubborn - a musical phrase that repeats over and over." Wealer's break-headings, appearing throughout, add much to the strain of relationships. Betty N. Buckman

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    For every teenage girl and every woman who has ever been one!

    One of my favorite things about reading YA Contemporary novels is that they transport me right back to the hallways of my high school. Some authors nail the entire experience so well it is like I am reading pages out of my journal, and not merely some abstract creation from someone else's mind. The characters are believable, their interactions and emotions realistic (both good and bad), and the relationships are pitch perfect.

    And Sara Bennett Wealer's debut RIVAL might just be the best I've come across yet.

    I read a review that said this book tackles topics never done before in YA. I'm not sure if that is totally true-while the choir angle is definitely not overdone, I have seen other stories involving similar worlds, and there is no shortage of books dealing with friendships gone horribly wrong-BUT I do believe I've never seen these topics handled so authentically before in YA.

    The friendship and fallout between Kathryn and Brooke is the central conflict of this story. The misunderstandings, jealousy, backstabbing, plotting, laughter, social hierarchy, confusion, crushes, heartbreak, silliness, and waffling portrayed between the two is a guaranteed time warp for any reader. Sara sucks you in one page one and never lets you go as you flip flop between the two POV's and piece the clues together to find out what turned these one time best friends into mortal enemies.

    The backdrop of the singing competition is perfect. The secondary characters are fun. Brooke's scheming BFF Chloe reminds me exactly of a girl I went to school with and the adorable boys in this book are sigh worthy. I love the parent relationships in this book and Brooke's older brothers. And in the end, both girls get what they need.

    I highly recommend RIVAL for every teenage girl and every woman who has ever been one. I can't wait to see what Sara Bennett Wealer has up her sleeves next!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog

    There are two sides to every story and boy does this book prove it. I was all geared up to completely side with Kathryn because she sounds more like me--shy and not part of a-list crowd, but as the story progressed I felt more and more for Brooke too and her story and voice was able to shine. I feel like I am more able to understand some of the workings of popular crowd and that it's not as shiny as it may seem from the outside.
    I also found it enlightening being in both character's heads-what they saw as weaknesses or flaws were admired or never an issue for the other.
    Though music is a big part of the story and the character's lives, I feel like everything was realistic and the details, even if unfamiliar, never distracted me or turned me off for the plot or character, instead it made me have a deeper appreciation.
    This is a beautifully written contemporary with gripping star characters as well as developed secondary. I highly recommend.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    This is one heck of a book. From the start, the book, it played on like beautiful music to my ears never letting go. It flowed on and on playing me like a guitar. Brooke and Katheryn were best friends then rivals though a misunderstanding. Will both girls learn to forgive? Or will the music that they play forever ring in their ears.

    I loved the writing and the plot of this story. Ms. Wealer not only introduce us to music but she intertwine it with her writing. With each turn of the page, her writing played with the progression of music. She gave us words of music before divulging us on the story. If she said crescendo then the plot went faster and faster.

    I don't like it much when the story switches from pov to pov. Ms. Wealer did a fantastic job writing both sides without making it confusing or losing any detail. Each side of the story was captured well enough just leaving a few pieces out, enough for the reader to piece together what really happen. It is excellent.

    The love for music for both girls was also captured passionately. You saw both of them work hard and struggle for what they wanted. In the end they learned to see whats important. The love interest is adoring. I really wasn't expecting much with so much already going on but with the way Ms.Wealer wrote it, it flowed beautifully with everything else.

    If you like music, love, and friendship read this book. I can honestly say the way the book flowed was perfect. The plot, drama, and love is all written well.

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    Posted April 27, 2011

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    Posted July 13, 2011

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    Posted December 9, 2011

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    Posted May 27, 2011

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    Posted January 21, 2012

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    Posted January 5, 2011

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