unrivaled (beautiful idols #1); a review

Unrivaled, by Alyson Joel, Instagram photos by Kelly Furgal Toye

Unrivaled, by Alyson Noel, Instagram photos by Kelly Furgal Toye

Book 23 of 2016

Layla Harrison is desperate for money. She needs out of California ASAP but there’s a small snag in her plan… before she can move away, she needs to come up with the money to pay for journalism school first. Layla runs a Perez Hilton-type website called Beautiful Idols and dishes on celebrity gossip and hopes her ad sales will increase. She knows the trash talk on the site is beneath her, but Layla is willing to do just about anything for cash.

Aster Amirpour is sick of her boring, privileged life and is ready to book her first commercial as an up-and-coming actress. Her agent keeps promising her that something will happen, but nothing ever seems to, no matter how many times she rehearses her lines poolside in her Burberry bikini. If only her parents knew what she was up to.

Tommy Phillips used all his college savings to move to LA to track down the father who doesn’t know he exists. He thought LA would be a bit more inclusive and exciting, but so far he is stuck working at a guitar shop, while dreaming of making it big. If only there was a way he could access his egotistical, famous father.

Enter Ira Redman: Owner of several nightclubs, including new LA hot spot Unrivaled. He decides to host a club promoter competition, and the cash rewards are quite lucrative. Layla wants the reward money more than anyone, Aster wants a way in to the club to brush elbows with the industry’s elite, and Tommy wants to eventually tell Ira that he’s his father. All three of them are all selected to compete in Ira’s competition, but strange things begin to happen, and Layla, Tommy and Aster find themselves in situations where their moral compasses are challenged. After a famous starlet goes missing, life turns from a fun game of “I beat you at this weeks nightclub challenge!” into a complete nightmare involving the police and unanswered questions. After all, it takes a lot to get ahead in the business of fame and fortune…


As I finished the first chapter of Unrivaled, my initial thought was “I’m too old for this book,” and that’s really saying something, considering I read A LOT of Young Adult. Yes there was sex, drinking and betrayal: these are all signs of an intriguing read. I, however, thought that the target audience was younger than I’m used to, or maybe it was the style of writing. I found that I struggled to feel connected to any of the main characters, and I’m not sure if it was because their perspectives were all third person POV or if I just wasn’t connecting with the novel as a whole.

That being said, Unrivaled by Alyson Noël was different from most YA/Celebrity/Romances because it has a mystery element to it. I raced through the story, and I admit it got better towards the end when the mystery element was explored. Before that, the story was quite uneventful, and was outlining each character in an overly detailed manner, as well as minor characters who don’t seem to matter.

I honestly don’t think I would recommend this novel to anyone, unless they were looking at a super-fast and easy beach read; then again, I have a list of much better novels I can recommend. I won’t be racing to pick up the sequel, but who knows, I may end up reading it at some point.

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