Book Title: The Favorite Sister
Author: Jessica Knoll
REVIEWED BY: DENNIS
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Pub Date: 05/15/18
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.
When the Real Housewives and Big Little Lies collide—Jessica Knoll’s The Favorite Sister is a perfect concoction of both reality television and female dynamics.
When I heard Jessica Knoll was coming out with a second novel that exploited the reality television genre in the same vein of the Real Housewives, I was immediately sold. How can I get a copy? What do I need to do? Who’s going to be Bethenny Frankel in her book?! I’d do almost anything to get my hands on a copy, no joke. The story involves five wealthy women in New York City who are all featured in the hit reality television show called Goal Diggers. Goal Diggers is a show that strives to show millennial women successfully undertaking careers, while pushing gender norms aside. This cast is uninterested in having children and being stay-at-home mothers; they’d rather break the Forbes 100 list. In this dynamic group, we have Brett Courtney—a twenty-seven year old lesbian woman who is unafraid of what people may say about her body image and runs a yoga studio called SPOKE. She is tattooed and voluptuous, and she makes no apologies for it. Stephanie Simmons can be deemed the token black woman character on the cast, but she is so much more than that. She is a successful author, businesswoman, and wife; who has just released her empowering memoir that is breaking sales records. Lauren Bunn has launched her innovative dating app that is growing in popularity each day, but her drunken antics have caught tabloid attention that overshadows all the success that she has gained. Jen Greenberg, daughter of philanthropist and socialite Yvette Greenberg, has become the voice for dieting and health food options, claiming that her food line not only encourages a healthy body and mind, but also is a catalyst for success. Lastly, we meet Kelly Courtney, Brett’s sister and cofounder of SPOKE. Kelly is the newest cast member for the upcoming season and really doesn’t fit the mold of the initial concept of the series. She has a twelve year old daughter and is a single mother with modest flair. Goal Diggers is set to begin filming, but nobody would have guessed that it would end in murder.
I don’t want to get any further into the plot than just introducing you to the cast and providing the main theme of the story. The story develops much further than that little blurb, but I felt that you really need a cheat sheet for the main five characters because we are quickly introduced to all five of them (and at least 3-4 secondary characters) immediately. Take the blurb about the cast and carry it with you while you read, I wish I had one! The beginning of The Favorite Sister was rough, I have to tell you. We are thrown way too much about the cast early on, with long chapters that don’t provide us a break to digest what we just read. We don’t really go anywhere in the first part of this novel because there’s too much catch up for us to get to. The novel is broken into several parts, and each part is more enjoyable than its predecessor. Once I got to the halfway mark, I was hooked! As you get to the core of the story, we learn about the exploitation of reality television, we see the dynamics between family and friends, we see how society has forced feminism and women empowerment into a women-eat-women world, and we see fame and notoriety being used as a drug and the lengths people will go for that drug. One thing that I found so profound in The Favorite Sister was the theme of casual racism in every day life. We see a portrayal of how society uses casual racism in dating, business, and overall privilege. I did not expect this novel to even touch any of those topics, and for that I’m grateful. I believe that these thematic elements of the story will resonate with more readers than Ms. Knoll probably imagined. I loved that this story touched on all these different themes without feeling overloaded on plot. The plot is clearly defined as you go on and the story really doesn’t deter from that.
The Favorite Sister is NOT a thriller or a suspense novel in ANY CAPACITY and if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying. The Favorite Sister really is a drama that may also feel like a tragedy at times. Ugh I can keep talking more about the story, but I think I drove the point home. It’s time to pick up this book on May 15, 2018. Will I be buying a hard cover for my collection? Absolutely.
Thank you Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Real queens fix each other’s crowns.