Book Review: The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

Sister 1

Publish Date: May 15, 2018

“A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite.” – Elizabeth Fishel

I received an advance copy of this book from Simon and Schuster through NetGalley.

Sister 2 (2)Five very successful women star in a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, and no one predicted that season ends in murder…

Who was killed, and why?

Brett’s the favorite of LGBTQ fans and the object of jealousy from her cast mates. Kelly is Brett’s older sister and business partner and the newest cast member. Stephanie is the first black cast member with a rift between her and her former best friend, Brett. Lauren is Goal Diggers’ recovering addict— everyone loves a comeback story. And Jen plays a holistic hippie for the cameras, but is perhaps the most ruthless of them all when the cameras are off.

This is the literary equivalent of Real Housewives of New York – a must read for fans of this show or any reality show!

Sister 3 (2)

Kardashian & Real Housewives drama mixed with murder – what’s not to love with a storyline like that?

I loved Jessica Knoll’s first book, Luckiest Girl Alive. I loved the main character, Ani Fanelli, and the plot that was woven around Ani and some traumatic incidents during her teen years that shaped her adult life.

Jessica Knoll’s writing style is very good, so I was excited to learn about this new book, The Favorite Sister. This plot sounded even better than her first book! I don’t watch much reality TV, but I jumped at the chance to read about it.

What I like about this book

Strong, smart, ambitious women – All of the characters are success stories. Each woman had their own challenges to overcome. Each woman did not have everything handed to them. I enjoyed reading about how each female persevered to get where they are today.

An inside look at a reality show – I loved reading about Jesse, the producer, and how the cast mates were selected and why. We usually aren’t privy to the cast selection process, and I was fascinated by it. Ironically, most reality shows are scripted and fake, and this plot definitely supports that theory.

Diversity – The book has a lot of character diversity! It has people that are black, white, and every color in between, old, young, every kind of sexual orientation imaginable, and different economic backgrounds.

Sister relationships – This book reflects the complicated relationships of sisters – the highs and lows, the good and bad, the loyalty, love, support, and friendship – and how it can change minute by minute.

Unreliable narrators  – It’s hard to know who to believe, because they are all so convincing! This makes it fun for the reader.

What I didn’t like about this book

Too Many First Person Point of Views (POVs) – The story is told exclusively in first person POVs. Each chapter was told by a different person. This had me constantly confused on who was narrating. I kept going back to the beginning of the chapters to remind myself who was narrating. I couldn’t keep them straight. The voices were not as distinctive as they could have been, and every mid-chapter I kept saying to myself, “Who is this again?”.

Lack of character development – Each chapter only provided a small glimpse into the narrator before it switched to another character’s viewpoint. None of the characters underwent any kind of transformation or learned more about themselves, which was disappointing.

No endearing characters – I didn’t like any of the characters. I think that this was the author’s intent, and she certainly succeeded in this, but hey, I need someone to root for!

Too much feminism commentary – This book was long, and many times it went overboard on feminism topics. I fully support women’s rights and #MeToo, but the feminist dialogue felt too much like a soapbox rant at times.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars 3 Stars

The book seemed longer than most, but I was rewarded with a few unexpected and interesting twists and surprises at the end, which made my reading worthwhile.

This quote sums up the sisters in this book perfectly:

“Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.” – Charles M. Schulz

If you like watching reality shows on Bravo and E! and relish the drama, cat fights, tears, and backstabbing of these shows, you will enjoy this book!

4 thoughts

  1. Lovely review! I am in the middle of this, and I am the big sister, but I don’t have younger sisters just brothers, does that still make me crab grass, LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy this book! I would love to hear your thoughts on it. It’s full of great discussion topics. I’m a big sister to a brother, too – and yes I think we are crab grass to little brothers too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with a lot of your review, especially how interesting this book is for those of us who watch reality TV. I am a Housewives fan and I have not been able to watch it since reading this without thinking- oh, they opened more wine, told her what someone said, etc. All the manipulation!

    You’re right about everyone being unlikable, but that didn’t bother me. I embraced the crazy and thought this was great summer reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Catherine! It was a fun peek into “reality” TV – and the behind the scenes drama that probably happens also. Glad you liked this book too! 🙂


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