Young Adult

Grit and Glamour of Hollywood // Unrivaled by Alyson Noël

UnrivaledUnrivaled by Alyson Noël
Series: Beautiful Idols #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen (10th May 2016)

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.

I noticed Unrivaled on Goodreads a while back and immediately, I was drawn to the cover because I am such a cover whore. ‘Nuff said. Also, I read the blurb and it promises to be a very gritty version of Gossip Girl, which is one of my favourite TV series of all time so I knew I had to give Unrivaled a go.

What’s Unrivaled about, you may ask? Well, it’s about 3 teenagers who dream to make it big in the City of Angels, and an opportunity to become a big name, working for a man who owns a chain of successful clubs, it’s too good to pass up. But how far would Layla, Aster and Tommy go to get their moment of fame in L.A.?

“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.”

I was immediately drawn to the book because of the blurb, but what I got from reading Unrivaled? Teen drama which was rather unrealistic at some points but sure, it’s a peek into the scandalous lives of Hollywood’s much darker side. Or so it says from the blurb. I admit, I wasn’t hugely impressed by Unrivaled because I felt like there was so much potential to make it into a shocking, scathing read, but it didn’t deliver that.

Right from the start, I could tell that the characters had flaws in them and I liked that they weren’t goody characters whom you’d root for. No, in Unrivaled, Alyson Noël introduces a trio that are far from perfect but the only similarity between them is the hunger to win and desperation to have a taste of what life on the fab lane was like. Each with their own agenda and personal struggles, it was quite enjoyable to read the ups and downs and the dirty tricks they’d resort to in order to come on top. Claws are out, bitches.

“Hollywood Boulevard is a place best viewed behind a pair of polarised lenses and lowered expectations.”

I would have liked the book more if the length was shorter because I felt that there were certain chapters that could have been axed to quicken the pace of the book. Other than that, it was all right because the plot slowly unfolded to reveal a sliver of what happened from the prologue, much to my annoyance. And the cliffhanger of an ending. Pfft. It was a tad frustrating to reach the ending only to find out nothing about the entire mystery that drove the book.

Therefore, it is safe to say that I had mixed feelings about Unrivaled which was sadly quite a disappointment for me. I guess it’s more of a “it’s not you, it’s me” thing for this one because I have some blogger friends who liked it but I guess the premise of the book was immensely promising but it failed to reach my expectations for a snarky, satirical take on the players of Hollywood. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a horrible book but I didn’t feel any sparks that wowed me. Much like champagne that has been left under the sun for far too long and it has lost all its fizzy stars.

I’d like to thank MPH Distributors for a copy of Unrivaled for review.

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