Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols)

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Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols)
Author(s)
Age Range
13+
Release Date
May 10, 2016
ISBN
978-0062324528
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël comes the first book in the Beautiful Idols series. With mystery, suspense, and an insiders-only look at Los Angeles that echoes Gossip Girl’s racy and real New York, fans of Pretty Little Liars and readers who crave pulse-pounding romance will love Unrivaled. Everyone wants to be someone. Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter. Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress. Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero. But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own 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 world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a 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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Exciting, addictive and dark
(Updated: June 01, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
The book starts off with the four main characters being introduced: Aster, Layla, Tommy and Madison. As a reader, you're introduced to them immediately, all having their own chapters. Alyson Noël knows how to describe the characters, which is why you will have a clear image of them right away... or have you? They all seem to be very good at lying. The chapters are told from each of their perspectives, which is something I really like. One from the rich Aster, on from the cool Layla, the next from the ambitious Tommy and the last one from the one and only super star Madison Brooks. But what does she have to do with the other main characters?

The answer is very simple: Ira Redman organizes a contest. Everybody can join for the search for the best clubpromotor of the Unrivalled clubs. All you have to do is to get famous LA people to get into your club. Coincidentally, Madison Brooks is at the top of that list. But she could never foresee what the consequences of being at the top of that list would be.

The story starts off a bit slow, I have to admit. The plotline is very basic: three young adults fighting for the price and of course things that they never saw coming actually do happen. The main characters get to know themselves and each other better and better throughout the book. Plotlines are being constructed: they're not perfect, but still very promising. I trust Alyson Noël enough to know that she'll come back to that in the sequel. On a side note, that doesn't mean there's no character development yet. I think a couple of characters really go through some change. But that's what LA does to you.

I am still in love with her writing style and the way she depicts the story worlds. The same goes for Unrivaled. Every sentence Alyson writes seems to be coming to life right in front of me. I saw myself walking around LA in a pretty dress while paparazzi is trying to take pictures of me from across the street hidden behind a parked car. Yet at the same time, I also felt very connected to Tommy's world and the shop he works at. It feels as if I actually visited the shop! How cool is that?

In short: I'm a fan of the book! It's not a John Green or Gayle Forman kind of book and it will not make you cry or break your heart into a thousand tiny pieces. The end will give you a tiny heart attack tho, or it will at least make you fall off your bed/couche. Unrivalled ends with a major plottwist! So be prepared!

Unrivalled is an exciting and addicting book that you will keep reading like you will keep watching Gossip Girl on Netflix. The comparison between the two doesn't surprise me at all. If you're looking for a surprisingly thrilling book with a massive amount of glitter and glamour, Unrivalled is you next favorite thing! Immerse yourself in a world full of beautiful lies... and get yourself on the list
Good Points
- Alyson Noel creates a world that comes to life right in from of you
- Very addicting
- Plottwist at the end
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Unrivaled
(Updated: March 29, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Dark, gritty view of LA celeb scene and the true cost of fame. Unrivaled introduces readers to three protagonists, each wanting to become famous. Layla, wants to go to journalism school, and accepts an invite to Unrivaled in hopes that it'll help with the cost of college; Aster, wants to be famous but her over protective parents stand in the way; Tommy, wants to be a famous musician like his father who knows nothing about him. All accept the invite. All face the idea that they might have to bend the rules in order to win. But at what cost?

What worked: This totally reminded me of LA Gossip Girls meets The Apprentice. Only in this case, the participates are given the responsibility to manage nightclubs and bring in important celeb clientele. Ira is the one in charge of this operation. He's ruthless to the point of encouraging the participates to do everything they can in order to win a chance of being in charge of one of his night clubs. I was hooked right at the start! Only after I really got into the story did I realize this story was more Pretty Little Liar with it's own A. Readers are kept guessing what mystery is behind teen celeb Madison and her 'disappearance'. Plus, there's more going on here. Lying, cheating, and scheming are nothing when it comes to getting fame.

The chapters alternate between the three main players. Layla has the heart of a journalist and hates that she has to lower herself to paparazzi level by reporting on celebs. In this case her anti-Madison comments in her blog end up getting her viewer hits but it's not until later, when she realizes she really wants to win the Unrivaled spot, does her true character come out.

Aster at first comes across as a spoiled, entitled teen. I think out of all the main characters, her portrayal has the most growth. Not saying she's that likable, because really she's not, but readers see her weaknesses and vulnerabilities that make her not so much of a Mean Girl.

Tommy's vulnerabilities revolve around his 'secret'. His nice Oklahoma guy personality is tested more than a few times.

There's a huge mystery involved too. Who exactly is Madison? What is she hiding from? And what part does she in fact have in her own disappearance. Nothing is what it seems. It's like a Hollywood reality show that has gone terribly wrong.

Dark, gritty, and highly addictive, this series is sure to wrap it's tale around readers. Pretty Little Liar meets The Apprentice set in the dark underside of Hollywood. How far would you go to get a piece of fame?

Good Points
1. Pretty Little Liars meets The Apprentice
2. Gritty view of LA
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User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0  (1)
Characters 
 
4.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
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Review: Unrivaled
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I have to admit, I was a little nervous going in to this book. It seemed like it would be a mix of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and even The Apprentice, none of which I’ve been a huge fan of, so all three together made me have some doubts. But I surprisingly got sucked into this story so fast and I enjoyed the fast-pace and the characters.

The book was told in four separate POVs that all had very distinctive voices so it was easy to tell who was who. Madison Brooks was the girl who’d already made it, the actress, the girl who already had it all so she had it all to lose. Layla was the reporter who wanted to make a name for herself and exposing celebrities was her way to do it. Tommy was the boy from a small town who’d moved to Hollywood for his music and impress a father who didn’t know he existed. Aster was the girl who wanted to defy family tradition and become an actress. Layla, Tommy, and Aster were among the ones chosen to compete in Ira Redman’s competition. Promote your assigned club, make money, stay in the competition. Don’t and you’re out. I could see the draw for each of the three of them. It meant a lot of connections and a lot of money.

Out of the three competitors, Tommy was my favourite. He was the one I felt I connected to the most, maybe because he seemed the most sincere or maybe the most naive about celebrity life. He also seemed the most honest out of them all. Aster was probably my least favourite. She seemed like the type that would do whatever it took to get what she wanted and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Layla was in between the two. There were times I really liked her and wanted her to succeed but there were other times I felt like she had the potential to be just as cutthroat as Aster. Madison was the one who surprised me the most. I felt the most intrigued by her, the mystery from her past, her struggle to play the fame game, to remain relevant.

The competition was a lot of fun to read. It was interesting to see the ideas the characters would come up with and it was impossible not to play along in my head, who was better, who would fail, who should be cut, come up with better ideas. It was a pretty quick read, most of the book set within the competition and getting to know the three competitors, but around the 65% mark the mystery that happened in the prologue really set in and it started to become twist after twist. By that point I was really absorbed and I just kept reading without looking at the number of pages that were left so when I got to the end, I was surprised that I’d read it so fast.

It did a great job setting up the characters and the mystery for the next book. I am definitely going to keep going with the series.
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