Author: Michelle Madow (Twitter)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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.
The Secret Diamond Sisters is a novel packed to the brim with luxury, opulence and greed, all bound tightly together with a thin veil of discord that's both alluring and addictive to readers. It's an age-old story of the haves and the have-nots, offering readers the inside scoop on three sisters forced to learn to live in a life of luxury in a heartbeat, having always before lived modestly and without their father. With a very Gossip Girl-esque vibe, we're privy to the most exclusive clubs, restaurants and shops that Las Vegas has to offer - along with the unlimited drama that naturally goes hand-in-hand with it.
Our three protagonists, Savannah, Courtney and Peyton couldn't be more different, and this offers a unique perspective into three different takes on their rags-to-riches story. Courtney was, largely, the most level-headed of the three sisters. Studious and smart, she offers readers a bit of a respite in the largely chaotic backdrop of the novel, which is much needed and much appreciated. Of the three, she felt the most normal and familiar to me, which made things a lot easier. Savannah was the most naive of the three, which was both a strength and hindrance to the novel. Her persona allowed us access and insight into how such a transformation might affect one who's personality is still developing. At the same time, however, it felt a bit cloying and suffocating at times, as well. Peyton was the resident badass of the three. Everything she did was meant to be rebellious and to anger her father, though I must say that her efforts felt weak and fell flat for much of the novel.
While much of The Secret Diamond Sisters provides a fun and brainless escape for readers everywhere, there is also a delicate undertone of issues such as alcoholism, excess and greed. I feel that, if explored more in upcoming installments, this could be a strong asset to the novel and the series as a whole. For the time being though, we're given a plot that is rife with drama, tension and intrigue, which seems to never stop - fitting in the city that never sleeps. On the flip side, however, there was an air of pettiness, which often overshadowed the story. I enjoy a good rags-to-riches tale as much as the next person, but I want to have a firm grasp on the characters and their motives all the while. At times, I felt as though the characters that drove the plot were mere stereotypes of themselves, and I longed for a bit more depth.
It must be said, too, that there were some unsettling elements of The Secret Diamond Sisters. For example, Savannah, in her naivety, almost convinced herself to go too far with a guy, simply because she saw how upset he was when she stopped him. Bear in mind that this is a young, 15-year-old character. It's hardly a message or feeling that I want to see broadcast anywhere. Furthermore, there is excessive underage drinking throughout the novel that is actually condoned by their father, so long as they don't overdo it. This is not uncommon in glitzy stories like this, but it felt stifling at times.
Overall, if you're looking for an engaging and entertaining whirlwind, The Secret Diamond Sisters will probably be the perfect novel for you. It won't teach you deep life lessons, but you will be sucked into a world that, let's be honest, we've all wished for at one time or another. I give it a high 3.5 out of 5, and I definitely recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.