Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow


The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
Book One of The Secret Diamond Sisters series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author

Summary (from Goodreads):

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton. 

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

What I Liked:

I didn't really know what to expect with this novel - I don't read too many contemporary novels, and when I do, they are usually contemporary romance novels. This novel was more of a contemporary novel (alone, rather than both contemporary and romance) - I'll explain more about that later. 

There are three sisters - Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah (in that order). Fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen years of age. They lived with their mother for all their lives, never knowing who their father was. Until their mother is sent to rehab (she's an alcoholic), and their father swoops in to save them. Turns out their father is Adrian Diamond, a rich hotel owner in Las Vegas. Life in Las Vegas is very different. Savannah loves it, Courtney is homesick but assimilating, and Peyton... Peyton doesn't want anything to do with their father. Each girl has the good life in Vegas, but each girl discovers problems with boys, publicity, and good old Dad.

This book is split into FOUR perspectives, not just three. We have the three sisters, and then we have a girl about their age who lives in the Diamond Residence - Madison. Madison is stuck-up and rich, the queen bee of Goodman (the private school that the Diamond sisters will be attending). I didn't like her in the beginning of the book, and I did not like her in the end of the book.

The thing about the four girls is that I really did not like three of the four of them. Savannah is naive and silly, Peyton is b****y and slutty, and Madison is equally as b****y, but also cruel and spiteful. Courtney is the only one of them that I actually liked, because she is innocent and sweet, smart and thoughtful. She is also the peacekeeper in the family, so she kind of lets people walk over her, and makes decisions for the good of everyone. That's a good and bad thing. I really like her though.

But Madow does a REALLY good job of characterizing each of the girls. I may not like three of them, but each of them is very well-developed. Each one of them undergoes a progression of character development from beginning to end of the novel, which is excellent. Madow did this really well. 

I also really like how well Madow sets the scene of this novel. I don't know how Madow deoes it, but the setting is so well-written. I know that Madow lived in Vegas, but she really knows what she is talking about! And everything is so well-described - the new lives of the Diamond sisters is so fascinating and it seems real. Fantastic job with that, Madow!

Each girl deals with romance issues. Peyton didn't break up with Mike, her boyfriend back at their hometown. But she hooked up with rich and charming Oliver, but she also likes her very young bodyguard, Jackson. Savannah is infatuated with Damian, but Damian is in love with Madison. Madison is not in love with Damian, and she went out with both Nick and Brett (not simultaneously). Savannah also likes Nick. Brett likes Courtney, Courtney likes Brett. Those two are the most uncomplicated.

So it seems like this book revolves around romance. HOWEVER, I think this book is more about discovering one's self. Like, by going through these silly crushes, infatuations, and lusty affections, each girl is growing into themselves. Also, this book features many different types of relationships. Yes, most are romantic relationships, but the book also features sister-sister relationships, father-daughter relationships, stepmother-stepdaughter relationships, and so on. 

So, I consider this book more of a contemporary novel, than a contemporary romance novel. Also, this book is part of a series, but NOT a companion series. Like, each book is NOT a standalone. Each book builds on the previous one. This book does not end neatly and perfectly. Relationships are not clear-cut and defined. The ending is not wrapped up.

I was surprised by this, BUT, I'm excited to read the next books in the series! It's cool that a YA contemporary series is not a companion series, but it's an actual series. I'm interested in seeing where Madow goes with this series - there is so much she could do!

What I Did Not Like:

I actually don't think I have any complaints with this one! Or maybe I'm too lazy to think of any. Hmm.

Well, I know for sure that I would NOT act like that, as a teenage girl. I'm eighteen, and I'm not that promiscuous (Peyton), naive (Savannah), or cruel/b****y (Madison). I guess I'm most similar to Courtney, being innocent and quiet and the peaacemaker. But... I have a serious temper, and I wouldn't always be trying to keep the peace in the family. 

But seriously, I am not anything like Peyton, Savannah, or Madison, and I honestly would not be friends with them in real life. They're not my type of people, and I don't like their character. HOWEVER, it gives the book depth, and each girl is well-characterized. So I'm not totally against their existence.

Would I Recommend It:

This book probably isn't for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it. It's a contemporary novel, but I wouldn't tag it as predominantly romance-based. Each of the girls featured DO have some romantic issues to deal with, and it probably feels like the novel is all about romance, but I feel like it's more about growth and relationships. 

Anyway, I liked it, and I would recommend it, especially to contemporary fans. Paranormal/fantasy/science fiction fans probably wouldn't be as interested in this book as contemporary fans, but it's worth the read, in my opinion!

Rating:

4 stars. Much to my delight, I really enjoyed this novel! I can't wait to read the next novels in the series. And it's an actual series, not a companion series! COOL!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

12 comments:

  1. I'm glad that you enjoyed this book! The four sisters sound really well developed and given the theme of the book and it's motif of discovery then it seems like something that added to the reading experience overall. Great review!

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    1. There are three sisters, and one female protagonist unrelated to the sisters. But they really are! I love the underlying, recurring theme in this book. I'm usually not a fan of "chick lit" or "women's fiction", but I suppose this is an excellent example of both. Thank you!

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  2. Hmm.. I have seen this around, but I don't think it is for me. I think the girls would annoy me. I would read it for the Vegas parts, though.

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    1. Hey, to each their own! I didn't think it would be the read for me, but I like it. But no pressure! Happy reading, Heidi!

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  3. Glad you found a series to like :-)

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  4. I have seen this book around on blogs and all that but didn't know what it was about so I'm glad I took the time to read your review. I'm just not sure I could get through a 4 person perspective if I didn't like 3 of them! This one is going on my maybe list, I suppose.

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    1. I'm glad I could provide some insight! And believe me, the four perspectives isn't too bad! I thought I would struggle, but each girl has a different story and different voice. If you read it, Rachel, I hope you enjoy it!

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  5. Multiple perspectives are something that I thoroughly enjoy, IF it is done well. And I do mean really well. It sounds like the author got that part of this right, and that makes me more interested than I was initially. It also makes me more willing to try it knowing that there is development in the girls, and that their stories revolve around more than just the romances. So, I guess I have come around with this one, thanks to your review! And I would say that I am most like Courtney. I am absolutely a peacemaker, I hate confrontation, I try to always make everyone happy. So I would say she would be the most relate-able for me. It is a good thing that there will hopefully be at least one of the girls that everyone reading could relate to

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    1. I think the multiple perspectives were done well! Each voice was unique and different. And I'm glad you'll probably relate to at least one girl - it definitely helps. I hope you enjoy this book if/when you read it, Jaime!

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  6. Hmmm, I'm not sure I'll end up reading this book since I'm not a big fan of contemporaries.
    But great review, Alyssa!

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    1. I know what you mean! I'm not either, for that matter. However, this one was awesome.

      Thank you so much!

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