Book Review: The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

The Favorite Sister.jpg

If you thought the Real Houswives were crazy... you have not seen anything yet. What happens when competition and "goal-digging" lead to murder? Well, The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll happens. While I am not an avid Housewives-watcher, I could not stop reading this book. 

These women came to play, friends. There are five incredibly successful, incredibly fleshed-out characters that are all kinds of crazy. Just when you think you know them... you don't. 

Read this book. Avoid all spoilers. Be entertained.

SYNOPSIS

From Jessica Knoll—author of Luckiest Girl Alive, the instant New York Times bestseller and the bestselling debut novel of 2015—comes a blisteringly paced thriller starring competitive sisters whose dark secrets and lies result in murder when they sign onto a reality TV show.

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.

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.

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.

HOW I RATE IT

TITLE? * *   STYLE? * * * *   CHARACTERS? * * * * *   

RELATIONSHIPS? * * * *  STORY? * * * * *  SETTING? * * *   

PAGE-TURNER? YES  ORIGINALITY? * * * *

BECHDEL TEST? PASSES   DIVERSITY? * * * *  PLOT TWISTS? * * * * *  

OVERALL READING EXPERIENCE? * * * * *

> Note: All of these opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley for providing the ARC!

Book Review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

REMEMBER HOW TERRIBLE HIGH SCHOOL WAS_.png

Have you forgotten how terrible high school was? Well, let Lindsey Lee Johnson remind you! The Most Dangerous Place on Earth takes you back to the deepest, darkest corners of high school and will leave you thanking your lucky stars that you're an adult now. (If you are still in high school and you're reading this, please let me offer my condolences.) 

This book leads you down the windy dark alleys that your Mom warned you about walking down at night. Some of these stories are spot-on. Some of them are highly sensationalized. But all in all, it's a fantastic read.

[Full disclosure: I had a great high school experience. Mostly. ;)]

SYNOPSIS

The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral.

Lindsey Lee Johnson’s kaleidoscopic narrative exposes at every turn the real human beings beneath the high school stereotypes. Abigail Cress is ticking off the boxes toward the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screwup. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.

Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students—without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.

HOW I RATE IT

Title? * *   Style? * * * *   Characters? * * *   Relationships? * * *   

Story? * * * *   Setting? * * * *   Page-turner? YES  Originality? * * * 

Bechdel Test? PASSES   Diversity? *   Plot Twists? * * *   

Overall Reading Experience? * * * *

> Note: All of these opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley for providing the ARC!