Book Review: The Competition by Cecily Wolfe

Release Date: August 9, 2018
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Format: ebook
Pages: 306 pages
Genre:  YA
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 


For Mary Sofia, The Penultimate writing competition is more than a chance at a free college education; she wants to show her younger siblings that they can all rise above their violent family history. For Raiden, the pressure to succeed comes from within, although he knows that family traditions play a part in his determination. For Camara, writing fiction is almost compulsive, but her own dark secret may be the best story she can ever tell. For Michael, swimming and writing fit his introverted personality perfectly, but meeting a smart and beautiful girl at The Penultimate makes stepping outside of his comfort zone easy. All four will compete against each other along with 96 other high school juniors for the chance of a lifetime: a full scholarship to a prestigious private college. Some students will do anything to win, but others may pay the price.


This is a good solid story about several different teenagers from different schools coming together to compete in a writing competition that could give the winner a full scholarship. Some of the kids need it others don't but would like the honor of it. Of all the teens competing we learn about Camara, Raiden, Jada, Mary Sofia, Michael and Julia.  Mary Sofia and Camara have secrets that they are worried about people learning about, Julia and Jada are their best friends and share a knowledge about their friends secrets. Michael and Raiden both have their own struggles.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book which basically takes place over a 2 days but it dug deep and Wolfe really created fully dimensional characters that spoke to me. I could feel their angst, their struggle, their insecurities, and their bravery.  I loved that Julia is probably on the autism spectrum and frequently doesn't stop talking about inappropriate things but after the initial shock these kids just accept her for who she is. Some of the kids are shy others are more outgoing just like in real life. I feel like I really got to know these characters, like they were real people which I appreciated. This is a really good book that deals with some tough topics but in a gentle way. 

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.

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