The Secret Diamond Sisters
by Michelle Madow
If you were a fan of Gossip Girl, you'd probably enjoy The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow. It's about three high school sisters, Savannah, Courtney, and Peyton who find out that they're actually the daughters of a really wealthy businessman in Las Vegas.
They move from their sleepy down in California to Las Vegas and wow! The lush descriptions make anyone who loves nice things drool. From luxurious drapes to chandeliers--and SPACE! A world of difference away from the cramped apartment that the three sisters lived in.
Of the three sisters, Savannah, the youngest one, is the most eager to soak up the posh lifestyle. Courtney, the middle child, is the responsible one who wants to use Dad's cash for necessities only. She's also the most studious and likes to read. Peyton, the oldest, has seen the worst out of all sisters. She witnessed her mother's many boyfriends, some more sketchy than others.
Crazy, elaborately designed theme hotels. Limos. Nice cars. Expensive night clubs. Cute guys.
And also included in the Las Vegas package: Madison, a rich antagonista who needs to be in control all the time. Madison sees the Diamond sisters as competitors to her reign over the school, as well as her favorite boys. What will she do to stop them from taking over?
It's hard to read this without comparing it to Gossip Girl. I would say that the rivalry between Madison and the Diamond sisters lives up to its catty and juicy potential. However, the characters are a lot more redeemable and likable here than in Gossip Girl. The sisters genuinely care about each other, and even Madison has a conflicted conscience, despite her ambitions to be alpha queen. I come away from finishing the novel feeling pretty good about everything.
One issue I had with this novel is slut-shaming. The practice of slut-shaming is common in high schools, and it exists in this novel as well. Male characters in the book get off scot-free for sleeping around--even glorified, while girls are shamed for doing the same thing. The Secret Diamond Sisters isn't necessarily promoting the practice of slut-shaming (because Madison is also portrayed as a sympathetic character at times), but it is also not attempting to subvert that mindset, from what I can see. There's the double standard of being "easy", which applies to girls but not guys.
When it comes to class and money, The Secret Diamond Sisters is a lot more sympathetic towards poverty people--it portrays working class people as respectable, even in their poverty. While characters in Gossip Girl tended to regard working class characters with disdain or even shame, the attitudes that the Diamond sisters' family takes is different. The sisters' dad respects the employees in the hotel who actually need the money to live.
Overall, I enjoyed reading about the Diamond sisters' new and glamorous life in Las Vegas. It seems like they're only getting started, but the drama is delicious. I can't wait to read the second one.
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