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The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
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The Favorite Sister (edition 2018)

by Jessica Knoll (Author)

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489242,697 (3.41)2
Member:SheTreadsSoftly
Title:The Favorite Sister
Authors:Jessica Knoll (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2018), 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

Recently added byteeth, vickey, IMBOS, private library, Sharon_Chaffin, BradfordLib, SheTreadsSoftly, Bonnie.Franks

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I enjoyed Jessica Knoll's first novel, Luckiest Girl Alive, and was excited to receive an ARC of The Favorite Sister. This novel was not as easy to read as her first book. I had a hard time staying with the story as I felt it was confusing at times and didn't feel connected to the story, especially in the middle of the book. I did finish the book and was glad I did as the ending was quite a surprise. The story was about five successful women starring in a reality show and all five women are quite unlikable characters! All the women are ruthless and would do whatever it takes to stay in the spotlight. Yes, even murder!
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for an honest review. ( )
  teeth | May 22, 2018 |
A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Five strong, successful women make up the Goal Diggers reality show cast set in New York City. The producers will get more than they bargain for this season when one of the women is murdered.

Brett is the fan favourite. She is only 27 and has launched a highly successful spin studio. That, coupled with her recent engagement, has only increased her popularity and made her the envy of her cast since they are all vying for the spotlight.

Kelly is Brett's older sister, business partner, and the newest cast member. The veterans of the show think she's a cling-on not understanding that growing up, it was Kelly who was the favourite, not Brett.

Stephanie is the oldest on the show, and the first black woman. She is a published author of erotic novels, but her success has come from her memoir in which she has taken some liberties and is afraid of being found out. Stephanie is married to an attractive, non-working actor with a wandering eye. Sounds like the perfect storyline for a reality show, but this season, the focus is on the rift between Stephanie and her former best friend, Brett.

Lauren a successful start-up story whose out-of-control drinking has her poised for a recovery storyline.

Finally Jen, rich and famous from her vegan food line is actually not vegan, and is incredibly ruthless behind the scenes. I pictured her to be like Gwyneth Paltrow chowing down on burgers.

Can I tell you how riveting this was? Knoll has an incredible knack for writing conversation which is why the premise worked so well—we are also a culture that is obsessed with celebrity and social media, and this story plays right into that hand.

There are multiple characters introduced in the beginning and I had to keep referring back to the character synopsis to keep them all straight and I really hope that this is included in the published book. Certainly not a criticism, but I wanted to mention it because I found it useful. Knoll develops intriguing and complex characters with several layers and once you get into the story, you easily can tell who is speaking and whose point of view it is.

The title of the book is clever—it speaks to the obvious sisters in the story as well as a nod to the sisterhood of women. It is these relationship dynamics that are present and integral to the narrative. Knoll's view of the sister/sisterhood is multi-faceted and downright ruthless at times. But she's not wrong. Women are all about coming together and supporting one another however, the flip side is the incredible hypocrisy as women will turn on each other on a dime! Women have to be younger than their male counterparts, thinner, smarter, and so on and unfortunately, we are our worst critics both to ourselves and each other. Knoll explores all of this through the lens of a reality show. I thought this was a fantastic read. ( )
  GirlWellRead | May 20, 2018 |
Goal Diggers is a reality TV show about five ultra successful women living in New York. While the show is based on the premise of highlighting how these women were able to accomplish so much in their young lives, the producers know that the audience is there for the drama. When each woman is pushed to the brink of distrust and revenge, the results are bound to end with murder.

The cast is made up of:
Fan favorite, Brett, who is decked out in tattoos and running a highly successful spin studio whose mission is to help African girls avoid rape by donating proceeds towards buying them electric bikes. She is also portrayed as a beacon for the LGBTQ community and this season will be highlighting her engagement to her girlfriend.

Kelly, Brett’s older sister and single mom to soon-to-be teenager, Layla, is quickly seen as mooching off of her sister’s fame. No woman on the show has ever been a mother before and the other women are scorned when they start to think Layla is could steal their screen time.

Stephanie, highlighted for being the first black cast member, works as a successful author who is about to release a tell-all memoir exposing her rough upbringing and her struggles through domestic abuse. Brett was once her best friend, but this season is focusing on their current rift, of which the cause has yet to be fully revealed.

Lauren, the once successful dating app creator has taken a nosedive into alcoholism. She’s bound to be this season’s comeback queen.

And Jen, the all-natural, organic, hippie who made her money selling women on her vegan food line as a way of being healthy and skinny. The persona she has built neatly tucks away her true self, but this season is all about revelations and her truth isn’t what it seems.

Just how far will producers push the limits this season?

THE FAVORITE SISTER directly transports the reader on set of the reality TV show Goal Diggers through the perspectives of Brett, Kelly, and Stephanie. Immediately you know that someone isn’t making it until the end of the season and you know the who, but not the how or why. Knolls backs up the book to pre-production and walks the reader through the murder and the after effects. While this process is intriguing in it’s revelation and details about the women of the show, it does start to feel slow and falls too much in the minutiae that you lose focus on the fact that this is all building towards a murder at some point. I think the premise was a bit lost on me since I’m not a reality TV fan, but I could see it working perfectly for those who are. I wouldn’t categorize this one as a thriller or necessarily a mystery, but I would say it qualifies as women’s fiction. I love that Knolls has so many sections where she focuses on the way society views women, their success, and how we then sell that through reality TV. I would recommend this one to fans of reality TV and a slower read. For those looking for something more fast-paced, I would say to pick up Knolls’ first novel, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE.

A special thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  jess_reads_books | May 17, 2018 |
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll is a recommended thriller for fans of reality based TV. We know from the start that season 4 of Goal Diggers, the New York City based reality series that showcases entrepreneurial woman, results in murder. The question is why was Brett Courtney murdered and who did it?

On Goal Diggers all five of the female cast members compete with each other for audience popularity and a greater share of social media hype to stay on the show. Brett, the youngest cast member, is the owner of a spin studio franchise and quick to make it clear that being skinny does not mean being healthy. She's moving in with her girlfriend this season, which will surely up ratings. Returning cast members include: Stephanie Simmons, the oldest, is a bestselling author of erotic novels and the first black cast member; Jen Greenberg, the vegan owner of a juice bar line and health food guru; Lauren Bunn, a dating website creator and known as Lauren Fun! on the show. The latest addition to the show is Brett's older sister, Kelly, a single mother who runs Brett's ever expanding business empire. Jesse is the network executive who controls the focus of the series and what will be highlighted. The focus for season four will be on the rift and resentment that is growing between Stephanie and Brett, former best friends.

The narrative is told through alternating first person accounts of what happened before and during the production of season 4. Excerpts from Jesse's interview with Kelly after Brett's murder open and close the book, and are also included a few times in-between the first person accounts. This clearly demonstrates how muddy the line between truth and fiction is in the reality TV show and real life.

The start is slow as we are introduced to the woman, their lives, and getting a glimpse into what they are thinking or scheming. You will need to keep track of who is talking in each chapter until you get a grip on the characters. As events unfold with secrets revealed and lies exposed, it becomes clear that the tension is going to boil over and something bad is going to happen. There are humorous moments in The Favorite Sister and Knoll does manage a message about the reality TV obsession - the striving for a few more minutes of public fame, and the need to appear to be young and relevant in order to stay in the public spotlight.

While very well-written, the problem with The Favorite Sister for me is that I simple couldn't muster the capacity to care about these women. They all seemed like caricatures of a type rather than real people. Perhaps it is because I don't watch reality TV shows and don't care about them. Also my lack of following pop culture, etc could have influenced how I related to the book. Knoll's gets points for the writing, the message she was trying to get across, and the ending, which was a surprise. I have a feeling that this novel will do much better with a younger reader (20s or 30s) and anyone who loves to watch reality shows like real housewives and... I can't even name any.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster via Netgalley
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2018/05/the-favorite-sister.html ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | May 16, 2018 |
Thank you NetGalley for my copy of this book.

I had the privilege of reading the first book by this author, Luckiest Girl Alive. As it was in that book, the writing in this book is great. The characters are complete and well developed. The story line leaves you guessing as to who committed what crime and why. Very entertaining.

As a matter of personal preference, I like this author's first book better. It has nothing at all to do with the writing or the plot, and more to do with my pre-conceived notion of the book based on the first one. This one is more of a well-drawn mystery, rather than a psychological thriller, which is great in and of itself. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. I was highly entertained and appreciative of the story and the writing.

Read it and see if your guess as to the perpetrator is as off-base as mine was! ( )
  Bonnie.Franks | May 16, 2018 |
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