Author: Sara Bennett Wealer
Published: February 15th 2011 by HarperTeen
Summary: 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?
Thoughts: What a great debut by Sara Bennett Wealer. Rival is a fun, drama filled read that will have you rooting for both main characters. After all, it's not high school without a little backstabbing.
Rival alternates points of views between Kathryn, the shunned wallflower, and Brooke, the popular girl who has everything. Both girls are the best singers in their school and are competing in a singing competition that will change their lives. For Kathryn, it will mean winning scholarship money her and her family so desperately need. For Brooke, it will open doors for her that will help her pursue her career as a professional singer.
But, before the competition starts, both girls will have to overcome a few obstacles. Homecoming, controlling best friends, family, and a certain boy will play a roll in each their lives. In the end, who will win?
While I'm not a singer (unless you call my shower solos singing), I must tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Both Kathryn and Brooke had so much at stake. I loved the relationships and character building. Whether it's the boyfriend/girlfriend type, family or friendship, both girls will have to deal with it all. Oh, and I have to mention the flashbacks! Throughout the book, there are flashbacks to happier times, when the girls actually got along, and what drew them to their bitter end.
At first, I thought I'd end up rooting for both characters. And while they're both relatable, I must say that in the end, I was hoping for Brooke to come out on top. It was funny how Kathryn had things and traits that Brooke wanted, and Brooke had things and traits that Kathryn wanted. What drew me to Team Brooke, though, was her confidence. She always knew who she was and wasn't afraid to voice it. Kathryn was a bit wishy-washy with her friendships and personality. I think she just wanted to fit in a little too much.
As far as swoon-worthy boys go, I couldn't really find one guy I fell in love with. Matt was a great best friend. His geeky side had me giggling at times, but he was still a "Duckie" to me. The book focuses more on friendship, both current and lost. Don't get me wrong, there is SOME romance in the book. I mean, there's a girl crazy boy, the Duckie, and the boy both girls want. Makes for an interesting, exciting read, eh?
Overall, Rival will have you up and guessing what will happen next. You'll be rooting for one character, then switching teams over and over again. It's short enough to finish in a day, but will have you wanting to draw out the story as long as possible. If you're a fan of Serena and/or Blair on Gossip Girl, you're going to love this book!