The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

The weather has gotten ridiculously warm, and I guess this is the part where I make a cute joke about things heating up outside and in my reading realm. But really, warm weather sucks and The Favorite Sister decidedly does not.

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Title: The Favorite Sister {384 pages}

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

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.

Review:

To say that I didn’t like any of the Goal Diggers wouldn’t be enough. None of them were good people, none of them had any redeemable qualities, and all of them made for good TV.

Because of their lack of likeable personalities, I want to concentrate on the questions this novel raises, mainly about feminism, the morality of lying, and reality television.

The purpose of the show Goal Diggers is to give young businesswomen a platform to establish themselves and their businesses. Ideally, the women work together, support each other, and boost each other up in something like a feminist Shark Tank. Stephanie is the only one to question how feminist Goal Diggers really is, because the show also thrives on putting these women in dramatic situations. They cannot boost each other up in these conditions, Stephanie believes. But this is exactly when we should be supporting each other the most. Brett and Jen are in the same industry – health – and they are at each other’s throats. I understand competition {TRUST ME} but in this world, in this climate, shouldn’t we women be helping each other out? Now, if there are women out there supporting people or an agenda that goes against women {side-eyeing the US Government right now}, then maybe we should band together and figure out what to do.

In a perfect world, right?

Speaking of perfect worlds, let’s jump into lying and morals. Spoiler alert: everyone lies in this book. Some are little white lies, while others could destroy the Goal Digger world. But every character believes she is lying for the god of someone – or something – else. All these lies to is create more problems and drama both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. But it’s not the drama that caught me. It was the ease and normalcy with which they all lied. Our society has become one where we all encounter a lie – or many – on a daily basis. These women lied for many reasons: fame, family, love. But their lies came so easily and frequently that when one finally started telling the truth, she was branded the crazy bitch.

It hit a little too close to home to be funny.

That’s the perfect segue into reality television. Look, I am not immune to the charms of reality TV. I love Cops. But while all that show does is make me want to catch some bad guys, shows that we actually think of when someone says reality TV can be a bit more harmful. Brett, Jen, Lauren, and Stephanie admitted that they became hideous people because they were determined to stay on Goal Diggers. They knew what the audience wanted and they gave it to them. I don’t know when everyone decided that they wanted to be famous, but those people are terrifying. But what happens after you finally get that reality show? What happens when everything of yours is suddenly laid out for the entire world to see?

You better have a great puppet master like the Goal Diggers do.

All of this is to say: I liked this book. Any book that gets me going like this is either really good or really terrible. Thankfully, with The Favorite Sister, it’s the former. This is definitely going to be one of those books that makes you think long and hard after reading the last word, but it’s going to be worth it, I promise. Stick with the horrible people and the situations they put themselves in. You might even discover a few things about yourself along the way.

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