Thursday, January 12, 2017

#Thursday Review - Unrivaled by Alyson Noel #YA / Mysteries @KTegenBooks @AlysonNoel

Series: Beautiful Idols # 1
Format: Hardcover, 420 pages
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery

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 the first of three installments in author Alyson Noel's Young Adult Mystery series called Beautiful Idols. Beautiful Idols has FOUR main characters. The players are Madison Brooks, Layla Harrison, Tommy Phillips, and Aster Amirpour. Three of these players will get a chance to become the next big thing by winning Ira Redman's Unrivaled Nightlifte contest. It is a cut throat competition that leaves only one person walking away me some big bucks.

One of the players will find themselves at the center of a strange & bizarre mystery that will leave readers stunned. The idea behind the contest is pretty simplistic. Each player is assigned one of Ira's nightclubs, in this case Night for Night, Jewel, & Vesper. Getting a good turnout earns you points. Getting an A-list celebrity to walk through your doors is encouraged, and gets you points. Promoter with the least amount of points is eliminated. Promoter with the highest points walks away with half of all the cover charges. 

Player 1 is 18-year old Layla Harrison. Layla is a wanna be journalist who has designs on attending NYU's journalism school. Layla not only has her own blog, but she truly despises the celebrity worshiping culture that has infected American culture. Think Kardashians. Layla makes a living out of reporting on celebrities and their antics. Layla has become a dealer of secrets and lies, which makes her participation in Ira's competition something of a long shot.

Player 2 is 18-year old Tommy Phillips. Tommy is an Okie from Muskogee who left everyone behind in Oklahoma searching for his chance at fame and fortune in La La Land. Tommy struggles to find his niche. He works in a Music store hoping to make enough money to buy a guitar that he desperately wants. After his sperm donor father shows up at his store, Tommy finds that his avenue to fame & fortune leads to Ira's competition. All he has to do is make the final cut, and be more cutthroat than the others.

Player 3 is Aster Amirpour. Aster is a tough nut to crack and even tougher character to feel any real emotions for. I know that's harsh. We find her lavishing in a rich lifestyle, unlike Tommy and Layla. She has everything she can ever hope for, except that she wants to be an actress and not be forced to marry someone her parents choose. She can't find good parts because she is either too ethnic, or not ethnic enough for the producers. 

Player 4 is Madison Brooks, Hollywood's newest and hottest celebrity. Madison has a relationship with another actor named Ryan. Ryan is the stereotypical bad boy who is all about the sex, and other things. As Madison becomes the targeted attraction of all 3 previous named players, she understands that a game is afoot. Madison also has a pretty secretive past that readers are left to wonder about. So, when Madison suddenly disappears, and one of the players is blamed for her disappearance, things go from good to bad quickly.

Let's just say it. Unrivaled reminds me a bit of Pretty Little Liars & Gossip Girls, except that none of the 4 players are really friendly towards the others. There's back stabbing to the max. There is gamesmanship, and a desire to see who can outfox, and outwit the others to win a whole lot of cash, and a future with Ira's company. I dare say the ending blew my damn mind away. I could have never seen what the author did, but she did give rather good hints that something important is glaring you in the face. 

One of the things that kind of put me out was the way Layla acted. I won't spoil it due to the fact that others have already. Layla is someone I had higher expectations for. Tommy in my opinion, is the wild card of this series. I like Tommy. I hope Tommy gets a chance to get back at his sperm donor father. Aster, well, let's just say that she is a cold fish, and I was curious if I would ever see any real emotion from her.

I was lucky to received a copy of Blacklist, book # 2 in the Beautiful Idols series. Blacklist comes out in April, so I will definitely be eager to see what the author does to resolve some of the mysteries that she has created. 

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