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Search tags: Jessica-Knoll
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review 2018-06-03 17:24
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.   

Five strong, successful women make up the Goal Diggers reality show cast set in New York City. The producers will get more than they bargain for this season when one of the women is murdered.

Brett is the fan favourite. She is only 27 and has launched a highly successful spin studio. That, coupled with her recent engagement, has only increased her popularity and made her the envy of her cast since they are all vying for the spotlight.

Kelly is Brett's older sister, business partner, and the newest cast member. The veterans of the show think she's a cling-on not understanding that growing up, it was Kelly who was the favourite, not Brett.

Stephanie is the oldest on the show, and the first black woman. She is a published author of erotic novels, but her success has come from her memoir in which she has taken some liberties and is afraid of being found out. Stephanie is married to an attractive, non-working actor with a wandering eye. Sounds like the perfect storyline for a reality show, but this season, the focus is on the rift between Stephanie and her former best friend, Brett.

Lauren a successful start-up story whose out-of-control drinking has her poised for a recovery storyline.

Finally Jen, rich and famous from her vegan food line is actually not vegan, and is incredibly ruthless behind the scenes. I pictured her to be like Gwyneth Paltrow chowing down on burgers.  

Can I tell you how riveting this was? Knoll has an incredible knack for writing conversation which is why the premise worked so well—we are also a culture that is obsessed with celebrity and social media, and this story plays right into that hand.

There are multiple characters introduced in the beginning and I had to keep referring back to the character synopsis to keep them all straight and I really hope that this is included in the published book. Certainly not a criticism, but I wanted to mention it because I found it useful. Knoll develops intriguing and complex characters with several layers and once you get into the story, you easily can tell who is speaking and whose point of view it is.  

The title of the book is clever—it speaks to the obvious sisters in the story as well as a nod to the sisterhood of women. It is these relationship dynamics that are present and integral to the narrative.  Knoll's view of the sister/sisterhood is multi-faceted and downright ruthless at times. But she's not wrong. Women are all about coming together and supporting one another however, the flip side is the incredible hypocrisy as women will turn on each other on a dime! Women have to be younger than their male counterparts, thinner, smarter, and so on and unfortunately, we are our worst critics both to ourselves and each other.  Knoll explores all of this through the lens of a reality show. I thought this was a fantastic read.  

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review 2018-05-14 22:23
The Favorite Sister
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

Let me start by saying that I don't watch reality TV. I get quite enough reality in everyday life. Nevertheless, the blurb for this one sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a gander. I did finish, but I set the book aside numerous times, mostly due to the fact that I couldn't find a single character in the book to actually root for. None of them were the least bit likable. Maybe that was the author's intention, but for me, I have a hard time getting invested in a story when no one has a redeeming quality.
We have five women who are each successful, but instead of being proud of that, they spend a crazy amount of time tearing each other down. The whole thing read like Mean Girls for grown-ups. We get lots of behind the scenes making of reality TV and how the drama gets encouraged, but the constant conniving among these women quickly grated on my nerves. There is a murder to give us some mystery and things do pick up in the end, but without that connection to any of the characters, it didn't help much.
I suppose I was expecting something more, some actual sisterhood at some point, and that's on me, but I still came away from this one disappointed.

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review 2016-12-04 00:00
Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel
Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel - Jessica Knoll Exquisitely disfunctional! And there's one hell of a crazy girl portrayed in here! It's Gone Girl all right! This book storyline is entirely disgusting, it's like watching a car crash.
One can easily see why modern guys go gay. I would too if facing life with such a nasty creature.
Frankly speaking, a good psychoanalyst would be soo much needed, both for the happy bride and for the unlucky catch. And for the reader too. This should be made a reading material for psychologists in training. The illustration for OCD, neurosis, PTSD and an entire plethora of other conditions.
Paying that much attention to minutiae of life, work, day-to-day... These people are officially crazy!

Q:
I once wrote some tip in The Women’s Magazine, “A study found that the act of physically closing your menu once you’ve decided what to order can make you feel more satisfied with your choice. So go with the pan-seared sole and snap that menu shut before you start eye-sexing the penne alla vodka.” LoLo, my boss, had underlined the words “eye-sexing” and written, “Hilarious.”
(c)
Q:
I gushed, “That would be such a help, Eleanor,” and bared my recently whitened teeth. The elevator doors dinged my freedom.
(c)
Q:
Clifford batted his eyes flirtatiously. Eleanor got nothing. Clifford has been the receptionist at The Women’s Magazine for twenty-one years and has various, absurd reasons for hating the majority of people who walk past him every day. Eleanor’s crime is that she is awful, but also that one time, an e-mail went out that there were cookies in the pantry. Clifford, who couldn’t leave the phones unattended, forwarded it to Eleanor asking her to bring him one, plus a coffee with enough milk that it turned the color of a camel. Eleanor happened to be in a meeting, and by the time she read the e-mail, the cookies were gone. She brought him his precious camel-colored coffee anyway, but Clifford turned his nose up at it and hasn’t spoken more than five words to her since. “Fat cow probably ate the last one instead of giving it to me,” he hissed to me after “the incident.” Eleanor is just about the most anorexic person I know, and we fell to our knees we laughed so hard.
(c)
Q:
“Look at that skirt.” Clifford whistled, his eyes approving on the size two leather tube I’d stuffed myself into after yesterday’s carb catastrophe. The compliment was as much for me as it was for Eleanor. Clifford loved to showboat what a peach he could be if only you never crossed him.
“Thank you, doll.” I opened the door for Eleanor.
“Fucking queen,” she muttered as she passed through, loud enough for Clifford to hear. She looked at me, waiting to see what I would do. If I ignored her, it was a line drawn in the sand. Laugh, and it was a betrayal to Clifford.
I held up my hands. Made sure my voice carried the lie, “I adore you both.”
(c)
Q:
The editor in chief—a chic, asexual woman named LoLo, with a menacing presence I thrive on because it makes my job feel forever in jeopardy and therefore important—seems to be simultaneously disgusted by and in awe of me.
(c)
Q:
My co-workers turn their noses up at meeting with these sad-sack girls the same way they turn their noses up at writing about the grundle, but I find it to be pure entertainment. Nine times out of ten, she’s the prettiest girl in her sorority, the one with the best closet, the biggest collection of J Brand jeans. I’ll never tire of seeing the shadow pass over her face when she sees my Derek Lam trousers slung low on my hips, the messy bun sprouting out of my neck. She’ll tug at the waist of her tasteful A-line dress that suddenly seems so matronly, smooth down her overly straightened hair, and realize she played it all wrong. This girl would have tortured me ten years ago, and I fly out of bed on the mornings I get to exert my power over her now.
...
I make it a point to bring these girls to the newsstand. “You were a staff writer for your college newspaper?” I’ll cradle my chin in my hand, encourage them to tell me more about their exposé on the school mascot, the costume’s homophobic undertones, when I’ve already decided how much help to provide them based on how they treat Loretta.
(c)
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review 2016-10-24 20:01
Luckiest Girl Alive
Luckiest Girl Alive - Jessica Knoll

I'm really disappointed I didn't like this book more than I did. I was just 'meh' for me. I even felt let down by the twists and turns the synopsis promised me. Nothing in the book surprised me. I felt the characters were a bit flat. They were somewhat unique (except the fact that they were all terrible people), but they kind of felt like 'plug and play' characters. Like saying, "Oh, I have this psychological thriller so that means I need all unlikable characters. I'll take one tormented fat kid, one anorexic, one jock, one embarrassing mother, oh and can't forget the emotionally detached father!" There were, of course, more characters, but they all fit in the plug and play formula. I read to the end so I can't say I hated it, I just wished I liked it more.

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review 2016-09-21 03:56
Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel - Jessica Knoll

I typically like books with dislikable characters; the flaws are so fascinating. In Gone Girl, the book this one is so frequently (and erroneously) compared to, pure sociopathy came to life in a way that furthered the storyline. 

 

Here, the characters are horrendous simply for the sake of being horrendous. It was as if the author wanted to see just how far she could explode her unbelievable world. 

 

It's also highly triggering if you've ever struggled with your weight or relationship to food. The main character is an obsessive binger, again, just for the sake of being one, narratively. There's frequent discussion of the Dukan diet, pounds lost, sizes dropped... none of it put me in a good headspace.

 

...I guess I don't actually have anything redeeming to throw at this one. :/  

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