Really Great Chick Lit

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Do you really ever know your friends?  Do they really know you?  Does anyone really care?  Brooke and Kathryn have only one thing in common…opera and the desire to sing sing it.  Otherwise, they are polar opposites.  Brooke is the daughter of a famous singer and an actor who is alone most of the time, now that her older twin brothers are off at university.  Those two older brothers gifted her with popularity beyond belief; popularity = power in high school.  Kathryn is a shy but very beautiful girl whose best friend is Matt, a slightly geeky boy she’s known her whole life.  When the two girls finally meet, each feels a very strong connection with the other.  Friendship with Brooke brings things into Kathryn’s life she’s never experienced before; Parties, lots of friends, handsome boys…it’s almost overwhelming.  Kathryn introduces Brooke to what a functional, happy family looks like.  Soon, however, a rivalry begins between them.  Brooke’s friends accept Kathryn just a little too quickly.  Boys pay attention to Kathryn’s natural and unassuming beauty.  The Honors Choir director gives Kathryn a solo.  One night at a party, things explode.  With one punch, their friendship is destroyed and the true rivalry begins.

Oh my, what an amazing book!  Normally, I’m not all that into girly books (yes, I am aware that I am a girl and a girly one, at that), but this one goes far beyond your average Chick Lit.  These two girls are complicated.  Their families, personalities, and motivations are as varied as the opinions others have about them.  Their absolute love of music, particularly opera, just adds another texture to the tale.  Arias aside, teenagers will identify with their passion for their craft and their desire to fit in (Kathryn) or be loved (Brooke).  Wealer expertly builds the tension so gradually that you almost don’t realized that you are being pushed onward to the heart-wrenching climax and the sweet, believable resolution.  Each chapter begins with a musical term and definition that lets you know, just in case you missed it, what part of the story you are about to read.  Fans of contemporary fiction and/or Chick lit, either teen or adult, should definitely check this one out!!!

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