Book review: The Favourite Sister Jessica Knoll


The Favourite Sister Jessica Knoll (first published in 2018 by Pan Macmillan)

Luckiest Girl Alive was Jessica Knoll’s first novel. It was so sharp, witty and had more twists and turns that the Cape Peninsula coast line. 

I loved it so much that I almost re-read it. And I never tend to re-read novels. 

So when the author’s second novel, The Favorite Sister dropped, I was extra keen to read it. Not because of a particular interest in the story line (as teased on the back cover), but because of the author’s writing style. 

Hoping the author wouldn’t be struck by ‘second novel syndrome’, in that the second book is often a let-down for an adoring first-novel audience, I was once more impressed by Knoll. 

Her approach to storytelling is so colourful, well-informed and just so unpredictable. 

Goal Diggers is a reality show, featuring a few very goal-driven, super successful women. Brett and Kelly are sisters, and from the very first page we are told that Brett was murdered. 

Yet the novel then jumps to the beginning, i.e. before the murder happened, showing us each sister’s unique perspective. 

WATCH: Jessica Knoll discusses her novel, The Favourite Sister

Brett is an already very successful spin studio owner, while Kelly, who was the popular kid in school, is now the one struggling at adulting. 

But it’s the entire cast of characters that brings the drama, the backstabbing and the scandal in a Desperate Housewives meets Real Housewives kind of manner that builds the tension and the constant feeling of unpredictability in this novel. 

I enjoyed the chaos. 

But I’d still recommend you read her first novel instead, unless you are a big fan of catty, gossip-fuelled dramas, in which case you’ll be lapping up this excellently written competitive thriller.  

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