Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Alyson Noël
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
The bright spotlight of fame and flashing cameras sometimes hide the darkest secrets. Unrivaled introduces four teenagers whose fates seem to be mysteriously intertwined. All four have high ambitions: Layla wants to be a journalist, Aster wants to be an actress, Tommy wants to be a rock star, and while Madison Brooks may already be at the top of the Hollywood food chain, she wants to keep her fame while somehow hiding the skeletons of her past. These determined teenagers are sucked into the glamorous Hollywood nightclub scene and pulled together by a cutthroat competition with the promise of riches and fame. Layla, Aster, and Tommy compete to draw the hottest names into their nightclubs, and Madison is their idea of the perfect draw. However, when Madison goes missing, all three fall under suspicion, both by the reader and by the characters themselves.
Unrivaled succeeds in its goal of appealing to most teenagers’ interests: fame, money, relationships, and parties. Throw in some mysterious characters and their dark secrets, and it’s easy to see why the book is hard to put down. While the story starts off with a slow and somewhat predictable plotline of getting the characters involved in the competition and introducing them to each other, the addition of Madison Brooks and her mysterious past quickly derails the book off of its cliche path. Alyson Noël tells the story from the point of view of each of the four main characters in turn, providing an intriguing glimpse into each character’s motivations and inner struggles. Ultimately, though, it’s difficult to tell if each character is providing the full story or if the reader is purposely being kept in the dark. The book ends with a cliffhanger, creating an even more compelling story and a desire to find out what happens next.
*Contains moderate language, moderate sexual content, and mild violence.