Author: Alyson Noel
Series: Beautiful Idols #1
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: eBook, 331 pages
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Rating: 2 out 5 stars
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 are lured into a competition. The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.
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.
In Hollywood, nothing is ever as it seems – not even the glamorous night life. When the biggest head of the LA club world announces a competition with a prize too good to pass up, many dreams and hidden desires find an opportunity to be unveiled, if only they are good enough to win, of course. Bringing together a celebrity blogger with a dream of studying journalism, a country boy with big dreams of an ever bigger stage, and a young girl that wants more than the life her parents have set out for her, this competition is the one shot at fulfilling the one thing these three new adults truly want – their lives to finally begin. But in Hollywood, dreams always come at a price, and when their target for this competition – the hottest Hollywood star, Madison Brooks, disappears, Layla, Tommy and Aster must face the aftermath.
I was beyond excited to read Alyson Noel’s newest book, despite the mixed thoughts I’ve heard of her other works. I’ve been hesitant to read her The Immortals series exactly because of them, but I was undeterred when it came to Unrivalled. The cover lured me in straight from the get-go and when I read the synopsis, I was completely sold. When I sat down to read, I expected mystery combined with scandals and gossip worthy of being on the CW’s Gossip Girl. What I got was a great premise with very poor execution.
The writing style is juvenile at best. It very much reminds me of the things I wrote when I was about thirteen years old. The entire book feels like one great multi-chaptered fic posted on FanFiction dot Net by user GossipGirl2004. That said, I’ve definitely read better pieces of fanfiction than this. And I don’t mean for this to sound as rude as it does. I’m simply drawing comparisons so you understand this book’s vibe.
I wish the writing was this book’s only problem, but, alas, I found Unrivalled is ridden with issues and more cons than pros. Like, for instance, the plot. As I mention above, this is a very poorly executed premise that actually starts out with a lot of potential. Before you’ve read the first page, that is. it not only drags, it grovels. It wasn’t until around the second half that we finally moved on from the introduction. It took even more for the Mystery to finally kick in. And even then, it wasn’t much of a mystery since the author more or less tells us what is going to happen pretty early on. Or at least, doesn’t make it overly difficult to guess. But that might just be me. Still, I hated that there was not one ounce of information hidden, apart from The Big Mysterious Secret That is Only Vaguely Mentioned Ex Machina. A lot like a Greek tragedy in which the audience knows what the characters don’t. The only difference that I’d rather watch that instead.
The characters spend an awful long time trying to convince themselves and the readers that they are not some sort of stereotype, but, inadvertently, become the Stereotypes of Not Being Stereotypes. If that made sense. All of them are presented as these Different From The Typical LA Wannabes, but they’re really just suffering from the Special Snowflake Syndrome. The only one I remotely cared about was Aster, but I found the author’s treatment of her somewhat unjust. The rest I just couldn’t connect with and their own aspirations and goals did not manage to make me relate to them as mentions of why they were doing this competition in the first place were few and far in between. There was no real passion behind their dreams, or at least I didn’t sense it.
Overall, I sadly didn’t enjoy this book, despite trying really hard. On numerous occasions did I get the urge to DNF, but I soldiered through for the sole reason of curiosity. It was not satisfied and yet I can at least go about guilt-free now that I have read the whole thing. I would still recommend Unrivalled to people who enjoy light reads with little plot, and that aren’t easily irritated.