16. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer, read by Courtney, on 10/05/2012

Kathryn and Brooke are alike in many ways. They’re in the same grade, they’re both in choir and they’re both overachievers. They’re also very, very different. Kathryn is petite and shy. Brooke is tall and gregarious. Kathryn is a soprano and Brooke is an alto. Kathryn is a bit of a loner. Brooke is an “a-lister”. It is honors choir that brings them together and music that solidifies their bond. It is something else entirely that tears them apart and leaves Kathryn with a black eye following their junior year Homecoming dance. How could things go so wrong? It’s never as simple as it seems.
This book explores one of the more painful subjects that seems to be inevitable for the vast majority of high school girls: the bestie-turned-worst-enemy scenario. It’s so much worse than standard, mindless bullying. Each party knows the other’s secrets and weaknesses. Each party can use such knowledge to do damage, should they so choose. Since this is high school and other ill-meaning people are involved, the rift between the two becomes legendary, leaving Kathryn a social pariah. Kathryn would love to simply keep her head down and bide her time until graduation, but both girls are in the running to win a national singing contest and are now direct competitors with equally good chances of winning. This forces each of them to examine the events that led them to this stressful state. Neither girl is completely innocent and neither is truly guilty either. Really, the focus is more on the shades of grey in the relationship between two very different people. Readers will likely enjoy seeing both sides of the issue, if they don’t wind up completely frustrated by the devastating misunderstandings that plague this particular friendship.

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