Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Sara Bennett Wealer Rival

336 pp.  HarperTeen (HarperCollins)  2011 ISBN: 978-0-06-182762-4

Source: ARC received from the author

Summary (From the publisher’s website):

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.

I have nothing but love for Rival–lots and lots and lots of LOVE.  To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this book because I’ve never been involved with choir or anything.  I didn’t know if I’d be able to relate with the characters.  But then I heard my students raving about Rival and telling me how I needed to read it ASAP.  Let me tell you, I connected with and adored Brooke and Kathryn.

Rival is going to make my Top 10 list at the end of the year.  I know there are still tons of books to release, but I seriously loved this book.  (Yes, I’ve said that a few times already).  Sara Bennett Wealer wrote this so we get both Brooke’s and Kathryn’s perspectives currently and a year previously.  This kept me hooked and turning the pages because I wanted to know their friendship and rivalry inside and out. Kathryn and Brooke both show their bad sides, but there’s always an underlying vulnerability there to remind you of who they really are and the friendship they had.  It’s a wonderful thing when an author creates such layered characters.

Unfortunately, a couple of my students accidentally ruined the ending for me.  Both times it happened when they were returning the book and talking about how they just couldn’t believe… Well, I’m not ruining the ending for anyone.  All I’ll say is that despite knowing what was going to happen, I was pleased with how it ended 🙂  I was bummed when it ended, but that’s because I wanted to keep reading!

Sara Bennett Wealer has a written a strong debut that is sure to win over many readers.  I know a lot of people are comparing it to Glee, and even though I don’t watch that show, I do know that Rival deserves better than that.  These characters aren’t in a glee club.  They’re serious singers, singing serious songs, working towards a prestigious scholarship.  I’m sure those that enjoy that show will like Sara’s book, but I still felt the need to put that opinion out there.  Sara is a fabulous author and I CAN’T WAIT to read more from her!  I love Rival like I love Sarah Dessen’s books.


  1. Rival was one of my favorites of the year, too – such a good book! I can’t wait to read more by Sara Bennett Wealer!


  1. […] by Sara Bennett Wealer (My Review) […]

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