The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll – ⭐⭐
For people who like trashy reality tv shows, for female drama and secrets, definitely NOT for any kind of mystery aspect
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.
Well, I really thought this would be more of a mystery than it was. Told primarily in flashbacks, we are occasionally brought to the current time where Brett is dead, as is mentioned in the blurb. Most of the story, however, alternates viewpoints from the past where we learn about each of the women in the show and try to ferret out the complexities of their relationships. Each has their own secret that could pretty much destroy their business, making them cutthroat towards each other. The murder and mystery around it took a backseat for the majority of the book.
Although I knew the premise involved a reality tv show, I didn’t think it would actually so closely mimic watching one. That’s not something I’m interested in, so I was somewhat disappointed in the book as it was not at all what I expected. That said, it was still interesting and engaging, just not in the ways I had hoped.
The character relationships are all kinds of twisted. Every one of them is desperate to keep their business thriving, and to stay featured on the show that helps keep their business thriving. That’s the heart of the matter we get here. How do they all scheme to put themselves forward? How do they bargain and blackmail and try to take the others down?
Although the mystery aspect was nothing what I expected (ie. a murder investigation, which really took a backseat and only came around to the forefront in the last few chapters), the secrets each women held were DEFINITELY shocks to me. Huge kudos for that, because I really did not see them coming! More than anything, that’s what made this book still enjoyable for me: I truly did not know what to expect. I was kept hanging the whole way through.
But also, y’all, I didn’t like a single character. They’re all awful. I know that’s the point; I know that’s intentional; and Knoll hit that one out of the park. But if you like to have someone to cheer for in a book, be aware that it probably won’t happen with this one.
Another aspect to be aware of is how stereotypical the women are. They’re the epitome of manipulative, cruel women who fake their way through relationships and life. All about the image. Even the eventual reveal of details around Brett’s death were sort of underwhelming for me. Personally, that bothers me. After reading Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men I’m more aware of issues women face, and this book just played into them.
PS: you should totally read Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.
One thought on “Review: The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll”