The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

The Secret Diamond SistersThe Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #1
Published by: Harlequin Teen on February 25, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
Rating: ★½

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.

It breaks my heart to write this review. I feel like I’m about to rip the book to shreds, and that saddens me. I actually met the author (very, very briefly) at BEA last year. She was SO SWEET and so excited about her upcoming book, The Secret Diamond Sisters. When I saw what it was about, I was excited too! It sounded AMAZING! Now, months later, I’ve finally read the book and I didn’t like it… and that really upsets me. 🙁

There are two big problems with The Secret Diamond Sisters: the characters and the plot.

The Characters

I hated two of the three characters. Courtney was actually pretty cool, but Savannah’s naivety made her annoying, and Peyton’s bitchy attitude made her unbearable.

Savannah

Compared to Peyton, Savannah wasn’t so bad. Her main problem was that she was a 15 year old girl obsessed with being popular and looking amazing. I know a lot of 15 year old girls are like that, so the portrayal is pretty accurate. But the way she acted really made me roll my eyes sometimes.

[Now Savannah] could be more than Evie’s second-best. She could buy the expensive bags and shoes the cool girls flaunted around school, so she wouldn’t feel like an outsider. She would finally fit in—more so once she got her new wardrobe, highlights and hair extensions.
Of course, this Savannah Diamond needed the hottest, most desirable boyfriend by her side.

SO many teenage girls think this way. They feel they have to do everything they can to fit in, and appearances are everything. Even if this is an accurate portrayal, it didn’t make it fun to read about. It’s hard to like and admire a main character who doesn’t have the self confidence to just be who she is, without needing expensive clothes or popular friends or the hottest look. And I don’t feel like she ever changed, even towards the end, so that made it all the worse.

Then the other annoying parts come in when Savannah gives into peer pressure. The girl is 15 and she tried alcohol once and didn’t like it. She also avoids hard alcohol because her mother is an alcoholic. Then a hot guy invites her to do shots and she accepts, even though she doesn’t want to, because she wants to fit in and be cool. Well that is not cool!!

But Savannah wasn’t about to argue with Damien. She would stop at one and pretend she didn’t mind the taste when it was setting her throat on fire.

So even though she doesn’t want to do it, she drinks anyway. Not cool, Savannah.

This goes a step further when Damien advances on her sexually, Savannah pulls back, then sees that Damien is upset, and Savannah believes she was being stupid and “should have gone along with it”. That’s basically a roundabout way of saying, “I didn’t want to have sex, but clearly he’s upset so I should have sucked it up and gone with it.” That’s one step away from letting a guy rape you. Dear Savannah: it’s okay if you don’t want to let a guy feel you up! Especially if you only met the guy YESTERDAY! There’s nothing wrong with not wanting it.

Then there are a few other scattered instances of Savannah getting overly “made up”, like putting on makeup to go to the gym in case she sees Damien there. Do girls seriously put on makeup when going to the gym? Nothing is wrong with having an un-made-up face while you work up a sweat (or even just on a normal day out…)! All these things combined just made Savannah look so materialistic, all about appearances, and very naive.

Peyton

Peyton was the “rebel”. She desperately wanted to go against the norm, and once she learned about her dad she decided she hated him and had to piss him off as much as possible. Fair enough, because the guy wasn’t involved in most of her life so I get why she was pissed off, but Peyton took it a few steps too far for me to handle. Here are a few of the ways she tried to piss off her dad:

Peyton skimmed over the menu as Rebecca ordered her food, zeroing in on the most expensive dish on the menu. Maine lobster—seventy dollars. Perfect. That would do a good job of pissing Adrian off.

The dude is a BILLIONAIRE. A seventy dollar food item is not going to make him bat an eyelash. But the fact that she thought it would and went ahead and did this was my first real sign that she was a stupid brat. I don’t like people who go out of their way to do stupid stuff like this.

[..] so Peyton turned to Brett with a brilliant idea—flirt with her future stepbrother. That would surely piss Adrian off.

This was about 4 pages later… just… seriously? Then about 10 pages later she started flirting with her bodyguard too. She’s just toying with guys to piss off her dad. THAT’S NOT COOL!

Then, later, Adrian gave them the rules of the house. Which were more or less:

  • You can use your unlimited credit cards for anything you want. But if you’re going to buy a yacht or something, you need to talk to me first.
  • Don’t cause any bad press.
  • You can drink alcohol despite being underage, just don’t go overboard and like, black out.
  • You can go clubbing and you don’t have a curfew, just come home at night.

Peyton’s reaction to these ridiculously lenient rules?

[Peyton] was sick of listening to this lecture. She ignored the rules at home, especially since her mom didn’t follow through with punishments, and she would continue doing whatever she wanted here, no matter what boundaries Adrian tried to place on her.

Yeah, because these “boundaries” are sooo unreasonable… At this point she was just looking for ways to cause conflict. THERE’S NOTHING HERE TO ACTUALLY BE ANNOYED ABOUT!! The dude is giving you loads of freedom.

Adrian is engaged to a woman named Rebecca, and one day she came to the girls explaining that they were attending a dinner party and they should dress up and look nice. So naturally Petyon decided to be a bitch about it.

“I’m going to get ready, and I’ll make sure to pick an outfit that definitely wouldn’t have met Rebecca’s approval.”

Then she proceeded to put on a see-through outfit that was totally inappropriate for a nice, business dinner party.

Plus, I hated how Peyton acted around guys. Before the story starts, Peyton was cheated on, and it destroyed all her future relationships. She hated it, she was humiliated, she was devastated. Then, naturally, she cheats on her own boyfriend.

Peyton didn’t like how she’d cheated on [her boyfriend], but it was nothing that hadn’t been done to her before.

Just because it happened to you (with a different guy) doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to do it.. Don’t you remember how upset and devastated you were?

After she was cheated on, she decided to never let a guy get close to her. She dated a new one every month (or less), had one night stands, etc. Once the guys got too close, she pushed them away. Then, in the book, she has sex with one guy and thinks now they’re kind of dating.. but the guy basically told her that wasn’t the case. Then Peyton was pissed because HE was the one to end things instead of HER and:

“she was the one who ended things with guys, not the other way around.”

Yes, how awful that he got the draw on her and broke it off first.

Overall, Peyton was a massive bitch. She did things to her dad just to try to piss him off, and they were so stupid and unnecessary. Then she was a massive hypocrite when it came to guys. She was allowed to break their hearts, but they weren’t allowed to break hers. Awesome logic.

The drinking—is this real?

The girls in this book are fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen, if I remember rightly. All the people who they hang out with are around that range as well. But EVERYONE drinks. ALL THE TIME. Enough that I’m pretty sure one of the seventeen year olds had a legitimate drinking problem (he constantly carried around a flask to drink from and got hammered like every day).

I mean, this is Vegas, so maybe this does really happen.. but I was floored by the sheer amount of underage drinking and lack of carding at the clubs. Maybe that’s a real thing in Vegas. Maybe sixteen year olds really do go clubbing at 18/21+ clubs every night, never get carded, and always do tons of shots. I don’t know. But geeze. It seemed unreal to me. At least Savannah had the sense to start ordering sodas after her little peer pressure shot escapade.

Update: After posting my review on Goodreads, I got some excellent input from Syndey, who lives in Las Vegas. She confirmed that drinking and clubbing like this doesn’t happen in Vegas for people underage! She said that clubs in Vegas are EXTREMELY strict (more so than other places), you’re always carded, security is tight, and minors aren’t even allowed on the strip (where all the clubs are) after 10 or 11pm!

The Plot

The other problem with The Secret Diamond Sisters was the lack of plot progression. Nothing actually happens in this book. There’s not really a big story arc. The entire book is just about the three girls running around Vegas and each experiencing it a little differently. Naturally they each have their romance dramas, but that’s it. Nothing actually happens with their dad. There was no climax. Nothing gets revealed at the end. And apparently this book is a series, but I was given no indication of where the series was actually heading.

If you like the idea of a book that’s about three different girls having different romance dramas, then maybe you’ll like The Secret Diamond Sisters. I thought I was liking it for a while, but when I realized that none of the stories were actually heading anywhere, I got bored. I finally realized that there was no more to the story than what I was getting. It’s just about one girl (Courtney) falling for the one guy she can’t be with, another girl (Savannah) falling for the playboy who is less into her than he appears to be, and another girl (Peyton) falling for her one night stand. Then see where that all leads (nowhere, really).

The Verdict

avoid

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18 comments

  1. I sadly agree with everything. Those girls…just…aahhh! I could not get invested in their lives with them behaving that way! Peyton was certainly the worst. Nothing she did made any sense.

    As for the drinking, the whole time I was reading I was wondering how this is happening. I know just about every character had a fake a ID, but they’re also part of well known families so surely the people running these clubs KNOW who they are and that they’re underage. Especially for the Diamond sisters, since they’re all the buzz!

  2. Aww I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you, but I can definitely see why. I know people in my grade get wasted a lot but it’s definitely not every week and they don’t go to clubs they go to parties that other people throw or just steal alcohol from their parents’. The characters also sound really annoying, I would hate someone who purposely tries to cause conflict and someone who’s a pushover and superficial. Like, I understand people wanting to have friends and stuff like that, but not to the point where you repress your personality at an extreme level. Fantastic review, Ashley! <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: January Monthly Recap
    1. Yeah I understand going to house parties and stealing alcohol, but in this book they would get into exclusive 18 or 21+ clubs without being carded, then order alcoholic beverages from the staff.. again without being carded. That’s just ridiculous!

  3. Oh boy! It makes me kind of sad to hear that The Secret Diamond Sisters seems to have a lot of problems, based on your review. I’m still going to read it just to give it a chance, but you can be sure that I’m wary now!

    Alexa S. recently posted: The Lit Ladies
  4. I requested this one because I wanted to try something new. Oh God. I don’t want to read a book about spoiled brats who whine about everything. Drinking isn’t really a good topic for me, only because I’m 13 and it’s kind of (scratch that: very) foreign. I’m not into that at all.

    All these characters seem stupid and I can’t stand a book that goes nowhere. Hm… I still have to read it, but thanks for this awesome review!

    Nova Lee @ Out of Time recently posted: You've Been in Twitter Drama...Now What?

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