Reviews for The favorite sister : a novel

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Sibling rivalry is not unfamiliar to sisters Brett and Kelly, and this tension escalates when they're cast in the same reality show Goal Diggers, which features young, ambitious female entrepreneurs. But did this jealousy lead to Brett's mysterious death? The novel fluctuates between past and present from the points of view of three of the cast members. Stephanie hides a dead marriage and a string of affairs that only contribute to her unhappiness. Kelly is constantly trapped in her sister's shadow, wanting to be recognized for her own accomplishments. And Brett, who appears to have everything she ever wanted, hides her own reality from the cameras. VERDICT Knoll's second thriller (after Luckiest Girl Alive) combines the cut-throat world of reality television and the competition for fame among alleged friends. The unexpected and unpredictable twists and surprising revelations will delight suspense fans.-Adriana Delgado, Palm Beach Cty. Lib., Loxahatchee, FL Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Knoll (Luckiest Girl Alive, 2015) turns her cynical eye to sibling rivalry and the twistedand, in this case, murderousworld of reality TV.Meet the entrepreneurial ladies of the New York City-based reality show Goal Diggers. Brett Courtney is the youngest cast member. She's been known to reach for a second doughnut and is committed to convincing the clients of her popular WeSPOKE spinning classes that being skinny is not the key to being healthy. Her engagement to her girlfriend, Arch, is the icing on the reality show cake. Stunning Stephanie Simmons is the only African-American cast member and a bestselling author, but her struggle with depression threatens to hold her back. Juice bar guru and famously vegan Jen Greenberg indulges in secret turkey bacon binges, and dating website creator Lauren Bunn is known as Lauren Fun! Brett's older sister and business partner, Kelly, a single mother whose 12-year-old daughter is a showstopper, is the new cast member and is everything that Brett has never been: thin, beautiful, and, as far as Brett is concerned, always their parents' favored daughter. Executive producer Jesse Barnes turns the screws and showrunner Lisa Griffin cracks the whip as Brett and Stephanie detail the production of Season 4 in alternating first-person narratives. Opening and closing the book (and sprinkled a few times in between) are sections narrated by Kelly in which she sits down with Jesse for on-camera interviews in the aftermath of Brett's death, but the truth of how Brett died isn't revealed until the final act. Knoll explores the pressure society places on women to be everything to everyone and do it all without a strand of hair out of place. There's enough conniving, scandal, and snark to rival the most shocking episodes of Real Housewives, and these cutthroat divas play to win even if it means blurring the line between truth and lies. In the end, murder seems inevitable. Season 4 will end with a bang, and there will be blood.Dizzying and overwrought but salaciously entertaining nonetheless. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The cast of the reality TV show Goal Diggers are young female entrepreneurs, two of whom are sisters; Brett, who owns a successful spin studio and recently became engaged to her girlfriend, and older sister Kelly, Brett's business partner, share a shocking secret. Erotica writer Stephanie is the first black cast member of the show and Brett's former best friend; their relationship provides plenty of fodder for the broadcast. Well-cast narrators Ashlie Atkinson, Jenni Barber, and Aja Nami King don't hold back any of the anger or angst. Unfortunately, the novel drags on and is too predictable. Listening to Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive would be far more rewarding. VERDICT For listeners who love reality TV, catfights, hissy fits, backstabbing, and revenge. Recommended only for collections that have the audience and the budget. ["The unexpected and unpredictable twists and surprising revelations will delight suspense fans": LJ 3/1/18 review of the S. & S. hc.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Knoll (Luckiest Girl Alive) explores the blurry line between a reality show and real life-and the duplicity of family ties and friendship-in this razor-sharp, darkly comic thriller. The grisly murder of spin and yoga studio entrepreneur Brett is revealed at the outset of this briskly paced whodunit; the narrative then flashes back, unfolding the complex how and why from the perspectives of narrators Brett, the overweight "least-loved sibling"; her thin and pretty sister Kelly, who abandoned a high-profile career path to be a single mom and run Brett's growing business empire; and bestselling author Stephanie. All three are contestants on the reality show Goal Diggers, which hypes the accomplishments of "unmothers and unwives" and is run by conniving and high-profile network executive Jesse. The characters compete for prominence, audience popularity, and social media buzz. It's off-screen where things take a dark turn: Brett's "enigmatic gay millennial" persona comes apart and Stephanie's bestselling memoir is exposed as anything but true. Though the mystery is engrossing enough in its own right, Knoll's novel is most notable as a potent takedown of a reality-show-obsessed culture that seeks out the spotlight rather than harder truths. (May) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

It's clear from the start that 27-year-old reality-TV star Brett Courtney has suffered an untimely death. But only closing pages reveal exactly how Brett was killed and by whom. Meanwhile, the activity and manipulation behind the scenes of Goal Diggers, a popular show featuring successful young women entrepreneurs, are laid bare. Secrets and lies undergird the friendships and betrayals (sometimes pushed by the production staff) between cast members: lesbian Brett, the recent focus of the show; married black author and memoirist Stephanie; vegan Jen; and alcoholic Lauren. Meanwhile, Brett's older sister and business partner, Kelly, single mother of beautiful, biracial, 12-year-old Layla, maneuvers to join the cast. Motives? How about these: Brett and Steph had been best friends before a breakup ostensibly caused by Brett failing to help promote Steph's memoir; Brett's close relationship with Jen's mother, Yvette, has long strained her relationship with Jen; and Brett had just revealed plans to fire Kelly. Got all that? This is prime bitch lit, so those looking for more crime and less dish may be disappointed.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2018 Booklist

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