Book Review: The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: May 2018

I was drawn to this book because while I don't watch reality programs I have some strange pull toward books about reality programming. Perhaps these books confirm what I suspect, that they're an exercise in cut-throat debasement for the chance at fame but more often results in infamy. I think this book disabused me of the notion that people at least were compensated well for the self-inflicted damage. My fascination and horror have deepened accordingly.

This is deep in unreliable narrators and as there's a murder revealed at the beginning, there was no leaving for me, until who did it and why were revealed. There's a fair bit of brand slush to power through but I'm sure it's to add to the patina of the brand neurotic characters.

There's a lot of commentary about women, feminism and tokenism (I found the insight here very well done) but what this story lays bare is that women are never going to be unilaterally on the same page with regard to furtherance, collectively or individually. More than anything else, power and power-adjacency drove these women and that felt all too real and nothing any amount of hashtags and Instagram stories will circumvent. So that leveled it up from just a frothy vacation read and made me more somber by book's end, but that in itself was a welcome surprise. The plot builds and momentum strengthens over three parts (the final part being the tightest and best) so this is one you need to just stick with until the 50% mark when it quite takes off. Knoll's witty turn of phrase is also on fine display here and I have a fair bit highlighted (her best is doled out on Stephanie and Brett, respectively.

I'd definitely recommend this (just in time for Memorial Day weekend reading. Hello Summer!) and look forward to Knoll's next.

I received a free galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Summary: When five hyper-successful women agree to appear on a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, the producers never expect the season will end in murder…

Brett’s the fan favorite. Tattooed and only twenty-seven, the meteoric success of her spin studio—and her recent engagement to her girlfriend—has made her the object of jealousy and vitriol from her cast mates.

Kelly, Brett’s older sister and business partner, is the most recent recruit, dismissed as a hanger-on by veteran cast. The golden child growing up, she defers to Brett now—a role which requires her to protect their shocking secret.

Stephanie, the first black cast member and the oldest, is a successful bestselling author of erotic novels. There have long been whispers about her hot, non-working actor-husband and his wandering eye, but this season the focus is on the rift that has opened between her and Brett, former best friends—and resentment soon breeds contempt.

Lauren, the start-up world’s darling whose drinking has gotten out of control, is Goal Diggers’ recovery narrative—everyone loves a comeback story.

And Jen, made rich and famous through her cultishly popular vegan food line plays a holistic hippie for the cameras, but is perhaps the most ruthless of them all when the cameras are off.

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