by Sara Bennett Wealer

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062069672
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/15/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,106,387
File size: 361 KB
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Sara Bennett Wealer grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (the "Little Apple"), where she sang with the show choir and wrote for her high school newspaper. She majored in voice at the University of Kansas before deciding she had no business trying to become an opera singer.

Sara now lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two daughters, and she still sings when her schedule allows.

What People are Saying About This

Lauren Myracle

“Awesome, awesome, and more awesome. Not one wrong note.”

Sara Zarr

“This book gets it all exactly right—friendships, envy, and the fact that you can never truly know another person.”

Customer Reviews

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Rival 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
readwritebb More than 1 year ago
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
RachelHarrisWrites More than 1 year ago
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!
DJLibrarian on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Kathryn and Brooke couldn't be more opposite when it comes to their lives. Kathryn has been more of a wallflower within their high school, active while at the same time not within the spotlight. She focuses on her schoolwork and music in order to help ease the financial burdens placed on her family. On the other hand, Brooke has always been within the limelight at high school, mostly due to her older brothers' presence. But there is an authority that resonates from her that has the entire school in awe of her, though not for what she is most proud of, namely music. If not for music and then a slumber party during their junior year, it's doubtful that their paths would have really crossed, leading to their friendship.It is when that friendship extends to Brooke's long-time best friend, Chloe, that things begin to weaken due to Kathryn's acceptance into the "A-list" circle and not spending as much time with just Brooke. As Chloe seems to monopolize more of Kathryn's time, Brooke begins to question her relationship with Kathryn. Their strained friendship ultimately culminates in Kathryn doing "something very bad" to Brooke which then leads to a punch in the face in front of the entire A-list at school. And with that punch, Brooke has sent Kathryn back to the outskirts of the student body. Now, here is where readers might start complaining about how both girls did fairly rotten things to each other, but you have to remember, these are teenage girls. They do stupid things because they are teenagers and they don't know how to handle certain actions, slights, or behaviors. Who didn't want to belong with the "A-list," the popular crowd in high school? Kathryn was just one of those few that wanted to belong, and when she got the chance she did what she could to stay there. Brooke could have explained her feelings to Kathryn about a lot of things or at least tried to be more open, but she chose to go the silent route until it built up so much she exploded. I'm not trying to condone Kathryn's actions or Brooke's inaction rather I'm putting into perspective the reality that Wealer has created, and I do believe she has captured a part of high school life. What I really liked about both characters is that they possess honest and real voices, each seeing the greener grass on the other side of the fence even after their friendship falls apart. Kathryn and Brooke see what they lack within the other's life and cannot understand why that goodness isn't appreciated, such as Kathryn's loving parents or Brooke's freedom in socializing. But when it comes to music there is no question about how much it means to either of them, and both girls do not hold back in choir. Readers will definitely see Wealer's own love of music woven into the story, and that was what really drew me to Rival in the first place. The use of musical terminology definitions to set up the tone of the story was a nice opening to each part whether from senior year or junior year. While reading, I couldn't help feeling that if Brooke and Kathryn had just started talking while in choir during their junior year, just the two of them, a lot of heartache and hurt might have been avoided in the long run. With their love of music, one would assume that Brooke might have approached Kathryn to initiate conversation, but perhaps even the high school socialite lacked courage in that regard. Overall, Wealer delivered a great story of the trials that can occur with relationships in high school through characters that felt real and also managed to grow throughout the story. I think most readers would enjoy Rival, and readers who have a musical background, especially while in high school, will hopefully appreciate the nostalgia as I did.
YABookieMonster on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Wow! You know, I was looking forward to reading Rival because it sounded quite interesting and I thought that I would like it, but I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did! This book focuses mainly around the ups and downs of friendship between two very opposite high school girls, and I found this book to be quite relatable to my own high school experiences and just a great overall read!As I mentioned before, Rival is about the ups and downs of the friendship between Queen B Brooke and shy, quiet girl Kathryn. The story flips back and forth between present day (their senior year of high school) and the previous year, the year in which Kathryn and Brooke became friends and how it all fell apart. We get a good look into the minds of each girl and the misunderstandings between them, as well as the stress in each of their lives, that caused their relationship to crumble. I'm not really a big fan of the mean girl (really, who is?) but in Rival, although I felt connected to both Brooke and Kathryn, I, oddly enough, felt more of a connection with Brooke. From the outside looking in, Brooke seems to have the perfect life; she comes from a wealthy family and is popular, beautiful and talented, but as we et to know her better, we really get a good glimpse at her real depths. Her life is really no where near as perfect as it seems. Her father, to whom she vies for attention, lives in New York with his big-time actor boyfriend and is so consumed by his job and relationship that he more or less neglects his daughter. It's so clear how much Brooke seeks his attention and approval and it's really quite heartbreaking how much he really hurts and disappoints her, and her realtionship with her father obviously has a huge effect on her. Throughout the course of the book, it also became very apparent how little Brooke's "friends" really knew her. Brooke cared so much about her music and her friends would always call the people in the choir, which Brooke was a part of, the "music freaks". All her friends cared about was partying, getting drunk, the homecoming dance, and being popular, and Brooke told them throughout the book that she didn't really care about any of those things, but that she cared about music, but they would always ignore her when she said it. There was an obvious change in Brooke throughout the book as she began to realize what real friendship was, and that maybe she had lost it when she ended her friendship with Kathryn.Although I felt more connected to Brooke, I did quite like Kathryn as well. Being a shy, quiet girl myself, I always find that I can relate to characters that are shy and quiet too. One thing that I didn't really like about Kathryn was that, during the parts where we were flashed back to her junior year, the year that she began hanging out with Brooke and became popular, she completely ditched Matt, her self-confessed nerd best friend, because she didn't want her new friends to think that she was werid for hanging out with him. Although I didn't really like the fact that she stopped hanging out with him because she was worried what people would think, it was realistic, stuff like that happens all the time in real life. Luckily for Kathryn, Matt was a really good guy and he watched out for her even when she was being horrible to him, but he did that for her because he had feelings for her, which Kathryn seemed somewhat unaware of until it was pointed out to her by others, or when he made it very clear to her himself. Although she wasn't perfect, I did feel that Kathryn really reflected the way that people change and act in high school or when hanging around with a different crowd. Sara Bennett Wealer is a great writer and she was really able to capture the realities of friendship, family and of just being a teenager, in Rival. The voices that she created were very realistic and she was able to perfectly potray the complicated relationships between Brooke, Kathryn and the other characters and this made the b
GirlonaMission on LibraryThing 27 days ago
As I was reading this book I continuously kept saying "poor Kathryn". She really was just minding her own business and all of a sudden she's being invited to the sleepover that would change her life. Her and Brooke hit it off immediately because of their shared passion for singing. They were like two peas in a pod. Then, over a misunderstanding and plain old jealousy they become enemies.I can't say I was crazy about Brooke. One minute she didn't want to be popular and just wanted to sing and swim. The next minute when it's convenient for her, she uses it to her advantage. Once Brooke feels that Kathryn betrayed her, she devotes her time to destroying her. For the longest time mousy little Kathryn is pretty much afraid to breathe too loud. Brooke turned the whole school against her. When is enough enough? Sooner or later the most mousy person has to stand up for themselves. I also love that the author didn't make the romance aspect extremely predictable. It was completely unexpected.My favorite element in this book is the fact that these girls have real extracurricular activities. Brooke enjoys singing and swimming. Kathryn sings and she works on the school newspaper. I'm glad to see this since the arts are becoming a big part of schools.The author shows that not only teens have to deal with the pressures of honing their skills but also the normal sucky high school things on top of that. I can definitely relate, having danced my whole way through high school.This was a fun, light read. This book is a mix between Glee and Mean Girls! I would recommend to any teen in the arts.
mrsderaps on LibraryThing 27 days ago
In alternating narratives, Sara Bennett Wealer tells the story of two talented teens--Kathryn and Brooke. Both girls are exceptional singers and, though they used to be very close, they have a rivalry that has spiraled out of control.Brooke seems to have it all. She is the most popular girl in her class, she has talent, money, and people generally look to her to decide who's cool and who's not. Of course, life is not as perfect as it seems. Brooke is lonely and desperately wants her absent father's love and attention. She is surrounded by people who want to be near her so that they can be popular. None of her friends care about her passion for singing; they only care about parties and dances. Brooke finds a true friend in Kathryn during her junior year, but by their senior year their bitter enmity has completely clouded over any friendship they might have had.Kathryn is more content in the shadows than in the limelight when it comes to being popular. That is, until she gets a taste for the spotlight when Brooke invites her to a sleepover their junior year. After that fateful night, Kathryn is kept busy with parties and activities and shows with all of her new friends. In particular, Brooke seems to want to hang out with Kathryn and talk about music. But, when Kathryn unwittingly betrays Brooke, their friendship crumbles and so does Kathryn's new popularity.In the end, the only thing these two unlikely friends have in common is their desire to win at the Blackmore--a prestigious singing competition. And, it seems that both girls are willing to crush the other in order to win.* * *Rival is an excellent debut for Sara Bennett Wealer. It is always a risky venture to write a book where the main characters are complex and not always sympathetic. There were points in this book where I didn't like either of the main characters, but this dislike was because the girls are presented as real people who make real mistakes and use poor judgment. It would've been much easier for Ms. Bennett Wealer to present one of the girls as "right" and the other as "wrong." It's much more difficult to make each girl complex in their own way. In addition to the characters, I loved the format of this book. It alternated between main characters and from their junior to senior years. In all of this, I was not confused in the least by which character was speaking and when the scene was taking place. It was interesting to flip between the girls' senior year, when they hated each other, and their junior year, when they were inseparable. Through the shifting time periods, the relationship and the motives behind the girls' actions becomes much more complex and interesting. I loved that this rivalry was based, for the most part, on singing. There were some jealous moments based on boys and beauty, but that was not the crux of the girls' conflict. That story has been played out, in my opinion. In this book, the girls are vying for something real and based on hard work and merit. This focus on singing took away from some of the catty, stereotypical competition over looks that is often portrayed in YA lit. This story was far more serious and interesting than a typical girl-hates-girl story. This is an awesome debut novel and I cannot wait to read more from this author. I can imagine that there are several students in my classes, particularly those girls involved in chorus and one of our school's music programs that will understand the richness of this book.
lisagibson on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This is one of the books in the Contemps Challenge. All wonderful books. I loved this book and I can totally see how girls get caught up in the drama of competition. I think most never fully intend for things to go very far but it's easy for it to get out of hand. I loved the fact that the ending wasn't quite as predictable as I would have thought it might be. Definitely pick this one up and see what you think. I'm giving it 4 1/2 lovely kisses!
BookSwarm on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This book? Awesome. Loved it. Maybe it's because I can relate to the rivalry of the girls. Maybe it's because I played in a close-knit band growing up and there was both friendly and not-so-friendly competition between us, especially when we completed solo. Whatever the case may be, Sara Bennett Wealer nailed it.Because of the dual perspectives, the reader gets a glimpse into the minds of both the girls and how a friendship turns into a bitter rivalry. Through a series of delicately balanced flashbacks from senior year to junior year, the story of Kathryn and Brooke unfolds.Brooke is a live-out-loud girl with money, friends, an incredible voice, and deep-seated passion for music. But she's not happy. Her friends don't understand her music, her older brothers are the stars of the show both at school and home and, in many ways, she's just riding their popular coattails as "Baby B". That is, until she meets Kathryn. Kathryn's a quiet, shy soul who shares Brooke's love of music. She's got her own musical gift--a soulful soprano voice. Then, through a series of both conscious actions and misunderstandings, Brooke and Kathryn's friendship shatters and reforms into a bitter rivalry, one tinged with regret on both sides.I loved how we get to see in the minds of both of the girls. It's fascinating how both of the girls are so different but had many of the same goals and how that twists their view of each other. You'd think that, with two points of view and flashbacks between junior and senior year, the story would be muddled and confusing. However, it's not. Not at all and, if anything, this style of storytelling provides the reader with a clear picture of the girls' relationship.Anyone who has been in competition with someone else (which is pretty much all of us, at one point or another, right?) will totally relate to this story. A beautifully told aria of friendship and betrayal, passion and drive, RIVAL hits all the right notes. (Come on. You knew it had to be said--this is a music-driven book, after all.)
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing 27 days ago
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.
librarianm on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Rival is a story about two girls who used to be friends and now are, pretty much, bitter rivals. With realistic teen characters, great dialog, and an ending the lets both main characters shine, it is a must read for 2011.Brooke is the queen bee of Douglas High; she loves music and is in choir even though it isn¿t ¿cool.¿ Kathryn is the social outcast, also in choir (a soprano), and she used to be Brooke¿s best friend. How did these two become enemies and rivals? It all goes back to junior year and what happened at an after Homecoming party. Now Brooke makes Kathryn¿s life hell. And Kathryn, well, any chance to outperform Brooke - she¿ll take it. That¿s one way to look at it. Soon, the two of them will compete in the prestigious Blackmore competition. Both Kathryn and Brooke want to win, will their rivalry get the best of the, or will they find a way to mend their friendship?Ms. Wealer does not hold punches, she starts in the middle of the story and within a couple of pages it¿s clear who Brooke and Kathryn are personality wise and the lines are drawn, so to speak. Kathryn, the outcast, and Brooke, Miss Queen Bee, both felt like real teenagers. From the beginning, it was easy to see how just how much alike the two girls were despite their very opposite circumstances. Despite, not being as much as a music nut as either character, I found them both to be very relatable. In addition, the dialog, cliques, frenemies and rumor mill could be right out of an actual high school. Told from both of their points of view as they prepare for the Blackmore and with flashbacks to junior year, the book chronicles exactly how Brooke and Kathryn became friends and how they ended up rivals.The dual points of view worked well because you get to see both sides of the friendship and exactly what happened to end it. Even though you, as the reader, know more than either Brooke or Kathryn, you don¿t have the whole picture either, because Ms. Wealer keeps certain details hidden until late in the book. It¿s a pretty brilliant plan because you want to know the details, the hows and whys of Brooke and Kathryn¿s rivalry - at least I did, but maybe I¿m just nosy. And when ¿the reason¿ was finally revealed, I wanted to shake both girls and then sit them down and make them tell each other exactly what they were thinking when everything changed.Ms. Wealer also did a terrific job of showing just how Brooke and Kathryn¿s friendship and rivalry affected them and those around them. Nowhere is this more evident than with Brooke and Kathryn¿s best friends: Chloe and Matt. Matt is on the geeky side and it¿s hinted at that Kathryn is his only friend, but he would do just about anything for her- he¿s exactly the type of guy you want on your side. Kathryn doesn¿t really know just how good of a friend he is until she almost loses his friendship. Chloe, on the other hand, is all about being part of the popular group; she¿s the master manipulator who twists situations so that she always comes out on top. Brooke shoved her aside when Kathryn came on the scene and Chloe turned her jealousy into revenge of the highest order. I wondered, a lot, why Brooke would be friends with someone like Chloe and could only come up with that Chloe wanted to be best friends with Brooke so much that Brooke gave in. I really enjoyed reading Rival. The first section flew by quickly and by that point, I was invested in the story and the characters that I had to read to the end. And the ending! This ending just blew me away. All throughout the story, the girls are training and preparing for the Blackmore and I just knew that it would play a big part at the end. I was rooting for Kathryn and Brooke equally, knowing how badly they both wanted the victory. The end result could have gone a lot of different ways, but Ms. Wealer found a way to let both Brooke and Kathryn shine. Each of their separate story lines were tied up beautifully and the overarching line ende
EdGoldberg on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Sara Bennett Wealer has written a new twist on cliques and rivalry and shunning your former best friend. Brooke is and always has been on the A-list at school. As a matter of fact, she leads the A-list. During junior year, her best friend Chloe decides they should have a slumber party and invite all the new kids at school to check them out and see who is worthy. Kathryn, always on the outside, to her surprise, this time makes the grade.Brooke and Kathryn are both music geeks. They are both choir soloists and both are entering the prestigious Blackmore Young Artists¿ Festival, the winner receiving a $25,000 check. Brooke and Kathryn become instant best friends, to the chagrin of Chloe who begins to do everything in her power to break them up. And it works. Brooke pulls away from Kathryn, begins hating her and makes sure she is isolated. Her only friend is Matt who readers will surmise is in love with her. That¿s enough summary.Rivals accurately portrays what high school girls will do to each other to get popular, stay popular and make sure no one gains in status. Those formerly on the outside, once accepted, tend forget the people that stuck by them when they were unpopular. While Sara Bennett Wealer has written a realistic books delving into cliques and the in-crowd and has added a new twist to it, i.e., music, unfortunately I found the book to have most of the same things that other books on the subject have; jealously, taking people for granted, bullying, etc. So, while Rivals is an enjoyable read, if you¿ve read A-list books before, it becomes repetitious.
abackwardsstory on LibraryThing 27 days ago
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.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.Harper¿s art department also got it right: Rival¿s design will make all the other books on the shelf jealous. I love the bright, eye-catching red. That is one gorgeous flower. I also love the significance of the one petal pulled away from the rest, alluding to the fractured relationship between two girls. Even better, the piano on the cover hints at the fact that the novel revolves around the world of music. I also love the fonts used on both the cover and inside chapter headers. In addition, each chapter details what girl¿s POV we¿re reading, with a curl at the end that reminds me strongly of a music note. There¿s a beautiful curl at the bottom of each page where the number is as well.The last thing I want to point out that I love about Rival is the fact that it¿s centered around the arts. With so
MrsBoswellBooks on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Stage left, Brooke Dempsey. Brooke is pretty, popular, has money and a killer alto voice, to boot. She is the "It" girl that most others worship. If you end up on her radar, you better hope it's because she likes you.Stage right, Kathryn Pease. Kathryn is a loner, with little money in her college savings account and amazing soprano voice. She's never been on anyone's radar... that is, until Brooke and her friend, Chloe, decide to throw a slumber party.Kathryn and Brooke become quick friends through their love for music. As Kathryn is sucked into Brooke's world, she's quickly thrown into the world of popularity and parties. She soon realizes it's not all she dreamed it would be, and Brooke learns that not everyone keeps your secrets.With their friendship suddenly ending in betrayal, Kathryn and Brooke find themselves in a fierce battle. The stakes, the prestigious Blackmore competition. Which girl will reach her dream of becoming a professional singer?This book sent me right back to high school. The scheming, betraying, lies, secrets, rumors... I felt like I was walking the halls of my school again. I ultimately felt like I could relate with both characters. When I was a freshman I practically tried it all. Varsity cheerleading, soccer, volleyball, track. I quickly made friends with a lot of upperclassmen due to having four older siblings. I feel like in this sense, I was walking in Brooke's shoes. I wasn't popular, per se, but I was noticed. Classmates would ask about senior boys or if I knew certain people on the athletic teams. My sophomore year I moved to a new state and a much larger high school. This is where I fell into Kathryn's shoes. I practically gave up all athletics and mostly kept to myself. I wasn't very popular and it was hard to make friends. Through out this entire book, I felt like I was transported right back to those days with my fellow classmates.It was intriguing to read about how the two girls became best friends through their love of music and wanted to help each other succeed in that department, to becoming bitter rivals and competing against each other for the ultimate prize. The drama was very believable. I felt bad for Kathryn who really only wanted to make friends and feel special. She didn't quite understand what exactly caused Brooke to react the way she did, but she had to deal with the repercussions and practically became a leper. It was very sad. At times I was disgusted with Brooke who thought she could do anything and get her way because she was popular. I didn't like Brooke's other friends who were shallow and clearly only used Brooke for her limelight, although she couldn't see it.Apart from the bits of profanities here and there, this book was an interesting read. It made me question if I could go back, would I change some of the decisions I made in high school? Would I have been friends with this person or cut off all ties with that person? Would I have said the things I did or tried harder instead of giving up in some circumstances? A thought-provoking read.
sithereandread on LibraryThing 27 days ago
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. 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookPortrait More than 1 year ago
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. 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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago