The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
Simon & Schuster: 5/15/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
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.