Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer*

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?
The Good Reads Summery is better than any I could come up with.

1. This is a simple story about friendship; how they begin, why they get messed up, and if they can be repaired. There is no big revelation, just the gentle passing of time beautifully told.

2. Amazingly, this first time author accomplished four fully formed voices in this debut. Her characters were unique from one another and their pasts selves had no seeping knowledge from the present. The story telling, with the exception of the ending chapters, was fluid and engaging. The characters embedded themselves in me, girls I feel I could know, could connect with, and could miss.

What happened to the end of this story?! All the build-up, the beautiful character growth, and flash-backs for developing history. All this slow reveal. Then it just ends flat… everything is over.

Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After all the build up and getting to know these girls and their feud and their past the book draws to a quick end. “I’m so sorry.” “No, you deserve your success. I’m not mad anymore.” “Awesome! See you at the diner after this?” “Yeah? sure.” The End.

What kind of ending is that?

Spoiler over!!!!!!! Spoiler over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. This book had such wonderful set-up, beautiful blending of past and present even with two voices switching every other chapter. The writing was precise and intriguing. The story made opera** so enticing I found myself looking up performances of mentioned pieces on YOUTUBE.

4. I don’t know who to recommend this to. The Book was so great I wanted to recommend it to everyone… then I hit that last section. Those five short chapters were such a let down. So I guess, I recommend it to people with excess time. Anyone with sparse time, that can only pick a few books a year maybe skip this one. Unfortunately, no matter how beautiful a writer without a conclusion this is not a story.

* This is a 2011 Debut Author Challenge book, go to http://www.thestorysiren.com/2011/03/2011-debut-author-challenge-march.html for more information about Debut Authors in 2011.

** Not a previous passion of mine.

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