Tuesday, February 15, 2011



Author: Sara Bennett Wealer 

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 336

Read Time: Stayed up until 3 AM to finish it!

Rating (1-5): 5

Tag Words: 2011 Debut Author, Hearts Flowers and Romance, music, opera, best friends, worst enemies, competition

My Summary:

Brooke and Kathryn are Rivals at a school that produces one national Blackmore singing competition winner a year. Formerly best friends and now bitter enemies, these two singers must come to understand what is truly important, who to trust and overcome their own Rivalry to succeed.

Short Review: This book is phenomenal and captures everything I love about opera. 
Even if you don't speak music, you will understand every word Wealer writes about two girls passions and one friendship's Rivalry. 

Long review:

I am an opera singer, I love it; I do not wear a helmet. 

Sara was so worried about me reading this book because I understand these girls on a deeper level, or maybe I understand them period. She shouldn't have been worried, Rival is fantastic!

Kat and Brooke are so in love with what they do, and I know exactly the feeling of hitting that high note with a sound so pure you stun yourself; I completely remember the blinding lights of a stage and how they can transform you forever. I know all about Rivalry’s. Though mine have always been unspoken, you know who your competition is in the world of music, which is why I think this book is so great- Kat and Brooke have a shared thing that they love more than their hatred for each other. The characters had a maturity about them because they already achieved something profound at a tender age. 

I know this review isn’t telling you much about the book, more about myself, but this is Valentine’s Day and music is the love of my life right now. I can’t imagine a better dance partner than music, and that is the truth!

Let me say this- if you love music, no, if you love to sing because it is more important to you than anything else you have going on, then read this story. If you want to fall in love with the soul behind singing, then read this book. 

I cannot say more because I will spoil Kat and Brooke's journey for you, but I will say I am completely amazed by how Wealer ended things and that I feel the right decision's were made by all. 

Notes on the Names: Kathryn is a Kathryn. There are few times when I like these classic names on characters and this is one of them; I just can't argue- she's Kathryn. I loved the 'B' theme for Brooke because it runs deeper than family ties. You will understand what I mean by that after you read the book. 

Thoughts on the Cover: It is a very pretty cover and I really appreciate the simplicity  of the idea, but the flower still bothers me; was there really ever a flower on a piano, or was it edited in? 

Parental Book Review *spoilers*

Sexual Content: 

Kathryn and Matt share a *very* chaste kiss.




Brooke’s friends bully Kathryn by planting aquatic-related toys in her locker to remind her that they know she can’t swim.

Other Notables: 

Freshman year Brooke would get so drunk that she allowed a boy to try and whip her bare backside with Mardi Gras beads. She never touches alchohol again. The event is only mentioned, not written out in detail. 

Kathryn drinks at parties to fit in. 


Sara said...

Thank you, Gabrielle, so much! I'm really honored you loved the book so much. Thank you for all you've done to help spread the word about RIVAL! :-)

Erin said...

You stayed up until 3 am to finish it? Wow! I'm impressed and want to read it even more now! I do love music and love to sing (not opera, but still...) so I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

And I just realized that it came out today! Yay! Thanks for sharing your review.

Quitting My Day Job

Jennifer said...

I've been curious about this book for a while. Sounds intersting. I"m not an opera singer, but i do love musical theatre. And i think it would be interesting to read about the world of opera singers.