The Favorite Sister

Originally published July 2018

You can stop looking now. I found your summer beach read.

Jessica Knoll’s sophomore effort, “The Favorite Sister” is just the kind of book you want for a summer’s day vacation. Gossipy, not too serious, but a thriller just the same. Much like her bestselling debut, “Luckiest Girl Alive,” it’s a page turner worthy of a long day under the umbrella with the tide nipping at your toes. (Continues below ad)

I’m just shallow enough to confess a love for reality TV, though I draw the line at anything Real Housewives or Kardashian. I know enough about how these shows work though to appreciate “The Favorite Sister”’s plot — a Bravo-esque look into the lives of young, mostly single Uber-professional women on a show called “Goal Diggers.” And, like just about anything deemed “reality” on TV, none of it — NONE OF IT — is real. Keep that in mind when you’re reading, and maybe you’ll pick up on the twist before I did.

You can’t write a thriller without killing someone. And it wouldn’t be any fun trying to guess the killer unless it was someone else in the cast that did it. It’s up to you to try to figure it out before you get to the big reveal. There’s …

  • Brett, the victim and one of the original (and most popular) members of “Goal Diggers,” in the role of the healthy-isn’t-always-skinny health and wellness guru, a lesbian that co-owns a startup bike studio, Spoke, with her sister …
  • Kelly, a young single mom that was the darling of the family growing up, until she and Brett’s mother dies and she succumbs to temptation and has a permanent reminder in the form of a 12-year-old daughter, Layla, who kinda sorta idolizes ….
  • Stephanie, the show’s woman of color, a successful erotic author and memoirist who suffers from self-loathing and a cheating husband …
  • Vince, a failed actor that glommed on to Stephanie and may have loved her at one point, but is now interested in anyone else besides his wife. But he’s willing to play it cool for the cameras, which also follow …
  • Jen, an original “Goal Digger” with Brett and Stephanie, a health food guru and vegan, with a mother that seems to prefer Brett to her. Jen’s other contribution to the show? The most recent addition to the cast …
  • Lauren, the resident lush and hot body, playing up her passion for fun over anything academic.

With peripheral characters including showrunners Lisa and Jesse, Jen’s mom Yvette, and Brett’s girlfriend Arch, there are enough story twists to keep you turning the page. For me, the book started a little slow, but the last third moved at a breakneck pace, watching at least one character completely implode in spectacular fashion, and a reveal I absolutely did not see coming. Totally worth it.

If you’re looking for an engaging thriller that’ll keep you occupied for at least a day if not the weekend, pick it up.

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