Unrivalled by Alyson Noël
Published by: MIRAInk
Format: ARC e-book
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve never read an Alyson Noël book before, so I was super intrigued about her writing. Also, one of the main characters is called Madison, so we share a name and I always find that hilarious. (Somehow my name is always used for the snooty mean girl, and I wanted to see what stereotypes were placed on my name in this instance!)
I was most sold on this book by the comparison to Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, but I wasn’t really getting those vibes while reading. The blurb promised that Madison would ho missing, but this didn’t happen until 75% through and everything before that was lacking the level of drama I expected when compared to the TV shows above.
P L O T
Essentially what is happening is that three teenagers (and a bunch of others, but they’re insignificant) are competing to win prize money by being promotors for three different LA nightclubs. It’s all about trying to get Madison to come to the nightclub to increase the credibility, like she’s the only worthy celebrity on the planet.
Each of the characters has a dream, either to become a journalist, actress or musican, but these things don’t really come into play. It’s more focused on who’s kissing who, which…got a little dull by the end.
C H A R A C T E R S
Madison was meant to have this tragic backstory, but the only part of that we were allowed to know was that she had a huge scar on the inside of her arm. I felt like she was a pretty hollow character, with nothing behind her fame and relationship scandal. Then she goes missing and we’ve got no chance of getting to know her further.
Aster was the party girl, super attractive and the key to breaking up Madison and her boyfriend, Ryan. Her sections contained the most drama, but again, she was just a rich girl who wanted contacts to start her career.
Tommy was the musician wannabe. He kissed a few different girls, and I didn’t really understand where he was coming from and what his emotions were.
Layla was a blogger, wanting scoop on celebrity life. Again, using others for her own means…these characters certainly weren’t the most likeable. Not enough happened to them that I found myself getting bored towards the middle. Like, what was the point of the competition, really? There was something about the whole scenario that screamed ‘superficial’.
G E N E R A L T H O U G H T S
I didn’t feel that this book met my expectations. I only understood the characters on a surface level, and the blurb practically tells you everything that happens in the book anyway. I was getting more of a ‘prequel’ vibe from Unrivalled rather than a ‘first book in a series’ vibe. Still, now that I’ve invested the time in this book, that pretty much set the scene for the rest of the series, I’m mildly interested to see what happens next.
There are so many things left answered, which is a really clever story telling device if your readers are hooked enough to want the answers. So, I guess, before going into the book, don’t expect too many backstory revelations: I’m sure the meet of the story will be revealed later on.
Plus, Madison’s disappearance turns into a possible murder inquiry, and there’s nothing juicier than a bit of detective work. Overall, I’m going to give Unrivalled two stars, but I give that rating in the best possible mindset. This book had potential and did well to set up the sequel. Now, it just has to execute that well!