FIVE STAR REVIEWS
Abbie Palmer is infatuated with Richard, the older teacher-in-training who certainly isn’t going to look twice at a fourteen year old, though Abbie believes otherwise. Like all teenage girls, her best friend, Shireen, is at times the voice of reason and at times Abbie’s partner in crime. When Colette, Abbie’s sophisticated French pen pal arrives unexpectedly and manages to attract Richard’s attention, there’s bound to be drama. Throw in a nasty step-sister, Abbie’s shrewish French teacher (also Richard’s mother) and some parents trying to keep the peace and enforce rules and you’ve got a novel that most, if not all, teenage girls can relate to.
It’s been a long time since I was a teenager but “Abbie’s Rival” has the amazing power to transport me back in time, back to when every situation seemed like it was SO DIRE, every encounter with a boy was ruthlessly analyzed and endless schemes were hatched between best friends. This is a book that will make you FEEL. If you’re like me, you’ll relive every awkward, love-sick, embarrassing, dramatic moment that you endured 20+ years ago and you’ll want to go back..just for a moment or two.
Reviewed by Carol for Amazon.co.uk
I have read Tracey’s other books Goalden Girl and Epiworld I was so impressed that I simply had to read Abbie’s Rival. I wasn’t disappointed! It’s a brilliant read. The characters immediately come alive as you are drawn into their world, and live their lives. I found the story a compulsive read and highly recommend it. I can’t wait for the next book from this talented writer.
Melanie Clark for WH Smith (the book and the review are no longer on WH Smith’s site)
I really enjoyed Abbies Rival and would recommend this book. It took me back to my teens and all the on/off relationships that seem so important at the time. It made me laugh all the way through and could not put it down, as I needed to know how it concluded. Well done.
FOUR STAR REVIEWS
Reviewed by Schlinks “The Gypsy” for Amazon.co.uk
Abbie’s Rival is a rather sweet book 🙂
Took me back to my teenage days of crushes on older boys, sibling rivalry and mystery friends I didn’t want my parents to know about. I had a few pen pals (this was long long ago before email!)and treasured those letters so much!
Shireen is a really well thought out character and sounds like she would be a fun person to know and Abbie is just a teenage girl who knows better than everyone else what everything is all about. I think most young ladies would enjoy this very Girlie book because they will find many familiar real life parallels to a lot of the characters in the book.
And just like Goalden Girl Tracey Morait has again created very believable characters. Its a book based in Liverpool so the language is localised as in Goalden Girl which is great.
Reviewed by Maurice Williams for TCM Reviews (this review site is no longer available) and Goodreads
Abbie’s Rival is a fast moving, interesting story about teenagers living in Liverpool, England. Abby Palmer has three sisters, one a quarrelsome step-sister named Tanya, and two brothers. The youngest brother and youngest sister are twins. Abbie found, during a school project, a pen friend in France, Colette Saunier, with whom she texts frequently, although secretly because her parents frown on chat room relationships.
The story begins with Abbie realizing that Colette plans to visit her in Liverpool after the school year and stay with her family in the Palmer’s home. The first complication arises when Abbie remembers that she was not entirely honest with Colette, texting Colette that she is an only child and that her parents are well to do, having a large house, a swimming pool, and a pony.
Abbie discusses her dilemma with her best friend Shireen Shah. Abbie decides to text Colette that she and her parents will be on a Mediterranean cruise all summer. With that problem seemingly solved, Abbie becomes enamored with an “older man,” twenty-year-old Richard Farnham, six years her senior, who crashed his bicycle into Abbie when she absently mindedly walked into his path. Instantly attracted to Richard, Abbie and Shireen argue about the wisdom of having a crush on an older man. Richard turns out to be the son of Abbie’s French teacher, Mrs. Farnham (“Frog Face”), and Richard will be the new student teacher next term, helping his mother teach French.
The story takes a twist when Colette shows up unannounced at the Palmer home. She wanted to surprise Abbie. More surprises develop later when Colette’s real reason for her visit comes to light. Colette is a stunningly beautiful sixteen-year-old blond who could easily pass for eighteen. She is introduced to Richard and both are attracted to each other, causing Abbie no little anxiety. Abbie’s jealousy becomes hard to control, plus her differences with her step-sister Tanya worsen as Tanya begins to show hostility toward Colette. Fights ensue, and the Palmers ask Colette to leave.
The story continues in this direction, developing the sibling rivalry in the Palmer family and the girl’s interest in Richard. Tracey Morait’s dialog is good, and the story moves rapidly with several surprising new developments.
THREE STAR REVIEWS
NEW! Reviewed by J for Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads
Definitely one for its target audience
Tracey Morait’s 2008 teen novel ‘Abbie’s Rival’ reminds the reader that the world has changed significantly in the past decade. Now it’s impossible to imagine a fifteen-year-old girl sneaking around her school to send an email to a pen pal or turn off her mobile phone because she doesn’t want to be called. But this doesn’t stop the book from being charming in its own slightly outmoded way.
While Abbie Palmer is exchanging emails with Colette, she exaggerates outrageously, never dreaming her friend would one day turn up in Liverpool. When she does – with her handsome brother as chaperone – she is richer, prettier and appears much older than Abbie (not yet fifteen) and her friend, Shireen. To Abbie’s horror, Colette starts dating student French teacher Richard, the subject of Abbie’s as-yet untested teenage desires.
A series of unfortunate situations follow: underage drinking and bad moules marinière; an emergency hospital visit and a chilly ferry on the Mersey; and the disruption of a birthday party when Richard discovers his new girlfriend is not eighteen.
The action is driven mainly by the dialogue, most of which is between Abbie and her best friend. The girls talk about fashion and being overweight, their unmanageable hair and sibling rivalry, and the boys they like and the men they swear they are in love with.
This is a story based on a series of white lies, but unusually it is not about the subsequent consequences. The differences between Abbie and Colette are marked, and of course, the sophisticated mademoiselle is the one that the student-teacher falls for. The rivalry is the key theme, although it is at times lost in the noise.
Fortunately, Colette finally turns up safe and sound in Switzerland and Abbie and Shireen meet a couple of nice boys their own age. Colette is certainly not the sort of girl any parents (especially Mr and Mrs Palmer) would want their daughter to ‘hang out’ with. And this may be the reason ‘Abbie’s Rival’ reads a little uncomfortably because, given the right circumstances, the story could have moved in another direction. Morait is careful to emphasise Colette’s age (sixteen) and Richard’s refusal to consider any relationship with a student at his school.
So with proprietary carefully managed, we have the antics of a couple of girls, one of which has a crush on a teacher, which is undoubtedly a story played out in schools across the nation. This is an easy read with likeable characters, but probably one best left to its target audience.
REVIEWS WITHOUT RATINGS
Reviewed by Belinda Kennington for Premier Reviews (this review site is no longer available)
Abbie’s Rival is about a girl named Abbie Palmer. She is excited when her e-mate Colette e-mails her telling her that she is coming for a visit in the summer. Abbie then remembers that she told her e-mate that she is rich and lives in a large beautiful home.
Abbie writes her friend back and tells her that she can’t visit because she will be out of town, trying to cover up her lies. However, Colette shows up at Abbie’s home. She didn’t receive the e-mail since she had left early. Colette is very beautiful and makes Abbie feel ugly and fat.
First her best friend, Shireen, and Colette do not get along and fight. Then Colette falls for the same boy that Abbie likes, Richard. Not knowing that Abbie likes Richard, Colette begins to date him. Abbie is left heartbroken, but continues to try to get Richard’s attention.
This is a fun book to read. If you enjoy teenage drama stories this is a good one for you.
Reviewed by Katy Hunter Bristow for I Heard It On The Grapevine
Abbie’s Rival by new author Tracey Morait tells the story of Abbie Palmer, a British teenager who is excited when she receives an e-mail from her beautiful French ‘e-mate’ Colette telling her she wants to visit for the summer holidays. When Abbie realises Colette will find out she lied about her background she tries to put her off by saying she is going away for the summer.
Unfortunately Colette doesn’t get Abbie’s message and turns up unexpectedly and that’s when her problems start.
This story of friendship, romance, modern family, school and exams – set in Liverpool – was reasonably fast moving with well developed characters. It gives a humorous glimpse into several cultures and circumstances and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Although Abbie’s Rival is aimed at teenage girls, it is the kind of story that would resonate with most females. Definitely well worth a read, I highly suggest giving it a go.
Reviewed by The Self Publishing Magazine, Summer 2009 (this magazine has recently relaunched and no longer publishes reviews)
This is an engaging chicklet-lit story about the ups and downs of three teenage girls and their early love lives. It paints an accurate picture of what it is like to be a teenager, and a girl of this age would probably take great comfort from reading about Abbie, Shireen, Colette and their potential boyfriends. The setting is realistic in a familiar, factual Liverpool, and in an equally familiar but fictional comprehensive school.
Tracey Morait creates believable characters and makes her story interesting through a well-balanced mix of dialogue, action and minimal exposition. The dialogue is very natural – maybe at times a little too natural, with some of the slang expressions becoming irritating. At other times, too, the voices can seem to slip. Just one more layer of editing would have been beneficial to this book.
Nevertheless, the pace is maintained, the plot works and there is always cause and effect. It is surprising that this book did not find a mainstream publisher.
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Armchair Interviews (this review has not been archived)
Abbie Palmer is a typical teenager – not interested in school but definitely into partying and meeting boys. Abbie, who is fourteen years old, lives in England. She has a sixteen-year-old pen pal in France named Colette. Wanting to impress Colette, she makes up stories to make her life seem more exciting. A problem arises when Colette emails Abbie stating that she is coming to England for a visit. Abbie’s excitement about meeting her pen pal is tempered by the realization that Colette will discover her lies. Also adding to her angst is the fact that her best friend Shireen is not at all interested in meeting Colette because she perceives her to be snobbish.
This book is aimed at girls aged nine to twelve. It tackles age-appropriate issues such as sibling rivalry and blended families. There is also an important lesson to be learned from this story. People need to be proud of who they are and not be tempted to portray themselves as something or someone they are not. Abbie and Colette could have had a much better relationship if they had not kept the truth from each other.
The characters in this book are fun and believable. The author expertly portrays their feelings. Abbie’s insecurities about her appearance are heightened by Colette’s beauty and her ability to turn the heads of many boys, including the one with whom Abbie is enamored. Colette’s brash exterior is a mask to hide the real reason she wanted to get away from France.
Abbie’s Rival is a good story with which many older children can relate. They will enjoy experiencing the drama, the jealousy, and the general difficulties teenagers face as they head toward adulthood. Since the story is set in England, the words and terminology are based on the local language. I could figure out most of the unfamiliar words, but I had to guess at a few.
Reviewed by Katie Malone (aged 11) for ReaderViewsKids
“Abbie’s Rival” by Tracey Morait is a really good book with a lot of detail in the plot. I think that the message in the story is that life has its up and downs but in the end we all find someone we love or that loves us. Another point trying to be made is that friends should stick with you through everything.
I think this because Abbie’s e-mate, Colette, comes to visit Abbie in Britain. Little did Colette know Abbie lied about her background. Luckily Colette forgives her. This is good because this book is nothing without Colette. Then Richard, a twenty-year-old teaching student comes in. Abbie thinks he’s gorgeous; sadly, so does the absolutely stunning Colette. So, of course, Colette gets him. Little did Richard know Colette was only age sixteen which is old enough to be Richard’s student! And that’s against the rules. Abbie thinks she’s happy when really she’s not. I almost forgot about Abbie’s friend Shireen. She hated Colette, especially when she got Abbie drunk. Then there’s Tanya, Abbie’s step sister. She’s devious. She set Colette up to make it look like Colette stole money from her, but it didn’t work. As far as characters in this book go, Tanya is my least favorite.
I think the author carried the plot nicely throughout the story. She might have added some surprises, but they were reasonable surprises. This author is a wonderful writer. Here’s a quote “She couldn’t stop the sudden attack of jealousy stabbing at her heart…” She used personification to tell us how jealous Abbie was of Colette when Richard and Colette went to the movies together. I think a lot of people (including me) could relate to this story because everybody lies. In this story Colette forgives Abbie. In this story we learn that not always the “hottest” guy suits you.
I think that you should read “Abbie’s Rival” by Tracey Morait for five reasons (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.)
-You will find a way to relate to the book.
-You can’t predict the end.
-This book won’t bore you.
-You’ll learn some British.
-Tracey Morait writes really well.