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RIVAL by Sarah Bennett Wealer


by Sarah Bennett Wealer

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-182762-4
Publisher: HarperTeen

“The human voice, it turns out, just isn’t that strong. Human hatred, on the other hand, is,” begins loner Kathryn at the start of her senior year in small-town Minnesota. This year proves to be her most challenging yet, as she faces not only the upcoming Blackmore Young Artists’ Festival, one of the most prestigious singing competitions in the nation, with winners often advancing to Juilliard, but constant sneers and backbiting from her Chamber Choir rival and former best friend, A-lister Brooke. Just how these two teen singers became such bitter enemies is told through Kathryn and Brooke’s alternating viewpoints. The tension and mystery escalate as the author also alternates between junior year, when Brooke’s groupies throw a sorority-like slumber party to recruit new followers, inviting Kathryn in the process, and the burning hatred and stress of senior year, allowing readers to discover each girl’s secrets, betrayal, sacrifices and reasons for wanting to win the Blackmore. Musical terms and their definitions cleverly open and set the mood for each section. From spreading gossip and stealing boyfriends to bitch slaps and malicious pranks, this quick-paced and solid debut novel has all the drama of real high school. Think Glee, only with chamber music. (Fiction. YA)