Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fresh New Voice of YA- Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
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."- summary from Amazon

Wealer has a fantastic debut on her hands; I loved this book! I used to be in Choir in high school so it was fun to read a story completely set around it. It was also nice to read a story where the competition (mostly the prep for it) and singing get as much, if not more, time than the boys and romance that shows up. Occasionally, contemporary reads (well, and paranormal too) can get way too caught up in the romance and not enough time focusing on what else is going on in the main characters' lives.

I really enjoyed the dual perspective as well as seeing how everything started junior year and then flashing forward a year later and seeing where things were there between Kathryn and Brooke. It was fun to read both their perspectives and Wealer did a great job of how we present ourselves and how others perceive us. There's a scene right in the beginning where Brooke, Kathryn, and a few other Choir members are singing something and Kathryn turns to her friend Matt and smiles because she's loving singing because she forgets about all her problems. In Brooke's section following it, we get a different take as she thinks Kathryn's doing a condescending smile that was directed at her rather than what Kathryn intended it to be. I loved little things like that.

Everything is just handled so well and realistically, and it was just so much fun to read this book. The ending was amazing and, while it seems silly for a regular contemporary read, had me on the edge of my seat turning pages quickly.

Overall, just a wonderful read that hits every note perfectly (ha! I couldn't resist!).

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. Can't wait to read this one- I love the "Glee-ness"!

  2. Repeating my Twitter thanks - I love this review. Thank you so much!

  3. My feelings exactly! :)
    Awesome review, James!

  4. Oh this book sound amazing. definitely going to the top of my TBR list!


  5. Great review - I've heard great things about this one and will definitely have to try it sometime. I also love reading the same event from differing points of view, so it looks like it's Rival time for me.

    And I live for little puns like the one you pulled at the end. ;D