Publication: May 10, 2016, by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Everyone wants to be someone.
Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.
She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.
That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.
Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.
For me, Alyson Noël's books are either a hit or a miss, go one way or the other. I never know what to expect when I read books written by her. Sometimes, they go amazingly and I can't help but squeal about the summer-related story that has captivated many readers. Other times, I am so disappointed (specifically with her fantasy novels) that I just have no other choice but to DNF them. It's been a few years since Alyson released a new novel, and when I heard about Unrivaled, later seeing its cover, I knew I was in for a good read. Well, it sucks to say, I was completely wrong. I seriously didn't like this one. Unrivaled was just a catty book full of complaints, gossip and drama that I couldn't care less about because I cannot relate to the story or lifestyle of these spoiled teenagers living in Los Angeles, having "the time of their lives." Would I even recommend this to fans of Private by Kate Brian? No, because at least that story was realistic. This is no way realistic unless you're a heiress and live like these characters do.
This was a chore to read. I barely was able to finish it. I skimmed the last fifty pages or so and found out that WOW, nothing changed! This was just a snoozefest that had no passion in it. It seemed that Alyson was basically struggling her way to write this novel and make it entertaining. Normally, I don't mind these kinds of books because I like drama. I have read books by the author of Gossip Girl and enjoyed those tens of thousands of times more than I enjoyed this one. WHY DIDN'T I LIKE IT, UGH. I really wished I enjoyed this because it has a gorgeous cover and it looked interesting. I didn't see almost any good in it.
The only positive I was able to see was the beginning of the book. I liked the beginning of the story, and the two nice, promising quotes that kind of spoke to me were found in the beginning. I wanted to read about the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, California, a city I have always wanted to visit and fall head over heels in. (It may happen soon, who knows?!) Alyson gave readers a hugely negative image of Hollywood and the tourism image. I don't feel naïve enough to believe it because we had a group of nasty characters, but you know, it could be true.
"For Madison Brooks, the boulevard was everything she'd dreamed it would be. Maybe it didn't look anything like the snow globe she'd had as a kid, the one that showered small squares of golden glitter over a miniature version of the Hollywood sign, but she never expected it would" (2).
You see, I found that quote on the second page. After a few chapters, things plummeted down. I WANTED THE BEAUTIFUL MALIBU CALIFORNIA SETTING WITH NICE PEOPLE, SURFING, AND THE GOOD LIFE. Not clubbing. That's not my kind of thing, whoops. Also, there was a big focus on Layla, who sticks as one of the "normal" protagonists, and her gossip blog. Adding to all of the boyfriend-girlfriend drama occurring in the book, this is an addition. Wow.
As mentioned before, the characters were nasty. Madison, Aster, Tommy... they were all trying so hard to impress each other even though they had no brain cells in them. Honestly, they made the worst decisions and I would never do the things that they did. Mateo and Layla were the only reasonable ones, and I found that was true because they were normal. Ugh.
"LA was a town of actors and storytellers, populated by those more comfortable playing an imaginary role than being themselves, and the prize always went to the one who faked it best" (136).
Unrivaled is a book that perhaps people who enjoy books with no plot would actually love. I remember it being one of my most anticipated reads this year, and I just wanted to love it after grabbing it at BEA. The gorgeous cover is the only good part, aside from two normal characters and a nice beginning. Otherwise, I wouldn't waste my time reading this at all. It was as if I were forced to read it, and I still don't know why I continued.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*