Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: The Favorite Sister

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 castmates.

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.

The Favorite Sister explores the invisible barriers that prevent women from rising up the ranks in today’s America—and offers a scathing take on the oft-lionized bonds of sisterhood, and the relentless pressure to stay young, relevant, and salable. -- Simon & Schuster

I recently finished my first book on my new Kindle Oasis. It was THE FAVORITE SISTER by Jessica Knoll, and it really has nothing to do with the book other than I love my Kindle Oasis -- see here. And while I loved reading with my Oasis, I think the quality of this novel had a lot to do with it. THE FAVORITE SISTER was a terrific (and oh so ever smart!) mystery!

THE FAVORITE SISTER tells the story of five women who are part of a reality show set in New York city called Goal Diggers. Each of these women is successful in their own right and they've gathered quite the fan base. However, when one of the stars ends up dead, the other women are all under suspicion for her murder!

Brett is definitely the fan favorite and with that comes a lot of jealousy from her co-stars. She is not exactly stick thin like the others, has many tattoos, runs a bike company that helps women and girls in developing nations, and is recently engaged to her girlfriend. All of these things make fans love her, but her co-stars not-so-much.

And then there's Kelly, Brett's older sister and business partner. She's the newest to the cast and not exactly considered worthy to be on the show by the others. She and Brett work closely together on the business, but they also share one very surprising secret from their past.

The other main character is Stephanie, an African American author of erotic novels and a successful memoirist. She is the oldest cast member and feels that her time on the show is limited because no one has ever made it past 35 years old on Goal Diggers. She and Brett were best friends but had some sort of falling out. It looks like the focus of the show this season will be on their friendship... or lack thereof.

When one of the stars is found dead, suspicion runs amok and no one is without some blame. These women find that the "roles" they've been playing on-screen (as well as off) have taken on a new meaning... and one star is certainly to blame!

I thoroughly enjoyed THE FAVORITE SISTER on so many levels. I really appreciated Ms. Knoll's writing style, and I also thought the character development was interesting. In addition, the mystery was a good one. However, I think I most enjoyed the social commentary about women, careers, relationships, and friendships.

One thing that was especially interesting about THE FAVORITE SISTER was how Ms. Knoll chose to tell the story. There were viewpoints from multiple characters as well as chapters that went back and forth between pre and post-murder. I loved how she brought each of these characters to life and the outrageousness of these women made for some very fun reading!

I also have to say that I was kept guessing until the very end. There were clues along the way to lead the reader in certain directions, and there were also some huge surprises about the characters... but the ultimate ending (and by that I mean who was responsible and why) was definitely a surprise. I enjoyed how everything came together by the end of the story, and I thought it was perfectly appropriate for the characters and the book. (That will make more sense after you read it!)

Finally, I loved this book because of the commentary on today's society and especially how women behave in it. The book was very smart, and at times almost uncomfortable, but it was also extremely funny. This story explored what it means to be a successful woman -- the sacrifices that must be made, and it also delved into some insightful ideas about relationships and female friendships. I also loved how it portrayed the reality show and the women's roles on the show. It probably won't surprise you that much of the show was staged, and the line between truth and fiction was definitely blurry.

I enjoyed THE FAVORITE SISTER a great deal and I think fans of both suspense and literary fiction will totally appreciate this novel. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I had to check to see if I have this after reading how much you loved it. Thankfully, I do. I hope to get to it soon.

The Book Sage said...

Sounds like a good read.

Stacie said...

This book has been popping up everywhere. I will have to look for it at the library based on your recommendation!