I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Unrivaled by Alyson Noel
Series: Beautiful Idols #1
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on May 10th 2016
Also by this author: Blacklist, Infamous
Format: ARC (432 pages) • Source: Around the World ARC Tours
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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.
This was a super super super addicting read! I don’t know how else to explain it, except I’ve never said “okay just one more chapter” more times in my ENTIRE life. I planned to read up to the 200 page mark before bed and ended up staying up for 2 more hours to just finish. I kid you not, every. single. chapter. I kept saying I would quit and I couldn’t. I needed to see what was going to happen!
So aside from the addictiveness, there wasn’t a heck of a lot of substance. My gut reaction is to give this book like 5 stars because I was so enthralled while reading, but I can’t ignore some major issues. First of all, I didn’t like the characters at all. None of them had any qualities or personality traits that resonated with me and they absolutely felt like cardboard cut-outs. I don’t need to LIKE a character to like a book, but I at least need to understand them and feel like they’re more than a stereotype. These people were walking stereotypes of a wannabe journalist (Layla), wannabe actress (Aster), and wannabe musician (Tommy). I liked the chapters with Madison the best because she had a secretive, mysterious past that I was determined to figure out. Overall, they weren’t great people. They were all attracted to fame and fortune, plus winning the competition… so yeah. Not perfect. AGAIN this is fine for me usually, but they were too blah for me to care much about them. It’s not a character-driven novel, in my opinion.
The concept of the book is really just as the synopsis says: “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.” This is what happens throughout 90% of the book and it really kept me interested. I think there were possibly too many pages and too much discussion about what they did at the clubs, but I didn’t mind. Again, couldn’t stop reading!
Romance wasn’t really at the forefront of this book but there were many relationships explored between people in general. Those who are very sensitive to the love triangle and/or cheating tropes will want to stay away I think. (Keep in mind if you decide to read this book even after I explained that the characters are kind of buttholes, I think you’ll be able to get past this situation!) I’m not going to spoil what happens, but let’s just say that some lines get crossed between most of the characters.
The mystery that the book synopsis promises doesn’t happen until about 80% of the way through the book. The rest of it reads like a contemporary book written in 2008. Think Private, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The A-List. If you read and enjoyed those books back then, I highly recommend reading this to feel nostalgic. It has rich people, bad things, some mystery, secrets, etc. — all of the things I loved about those books! The mystery part will probably be predictable to people who are good at figuring out who did it before the end of the book. I have gotten much better about predicting plot twists and solving mysteries, but I honestly didn’t even consider the possibility of who did it until it was happening. Maybe I was too addicted to care or try to figure it out?
Aside from some of the issues with the characters, the writing style was actually great. I would possibly be interested in looking into some other books by this author and will 100000% continue this series. The ending KILLED ME. What a fucking cliffhanger. How am I supposed to wait more than a year for the next book? I really hope the synopsis at least shows up on Goodreads soon so I have some idea of where this series is going to head next.
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