Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen (first published January 1st 2014)
Format read: ARC via publisher
The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.
Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.
(In fact, one of my saddest moments at ALA, was when ARCS ran out right before it was my turn to pick one up. Luckily for me, Harlequin kindly sent me one!)
After reading and (re)reading Diamonds in the Rough – which is kind of notable in it of itself, since I rarely take the time to reread a book, I can definitely say, Madow has lived up to all of my expectations, and more!
Things that worked:
Like The Secret Diamond Sisters, Madow incorporates a number of POVs in Diamonds in the Rough, rotating between the Diamond Sisters and other secondary characters.
Even though she's writing in third-person limited, Madow does a great job of showing readers distinctive personalities between Savannah, Courtney and Peyton. We've seen how they've grown since they've first arrived in Vegas, and how both their good traits and bad traits have been magnified by their exposure as Adrian Diamond's daughters.
While I found each of their storylines compelling, I found myself sympathizing with Savannah and Courtney a little more this time around. As clueless as Savannah could be sometimes, Madow is consistent and unwavering at showing how it's the influences of her new life (and her desire to want to fit into that new life, and her desired aspirations), that has made her slowly become something she may not necessarily be.
Courtney is close to my heart, because she - like me - will always go back to tried and true techniques, e.g. making breakfast after a bad incident, despite having a staff at her beck and call, because it makes her feel better.
Like The Secret Diamond Sisters, Diamonds in the Rough is very much a book about relationships. We have the core relationships between the girls, which Madow has continued to develop with a deft hand.
Even when they fight and may profess to dislike each other, there's never any doubt that they are sisters, and theirs is an unbreakable bond that will continue regardless of where they are, and anything they might have done. This is especially poignant in the latter half of the book, when the three Diamonds are faced with a revelation that fundamentally change who they are as sisters.
While they're more secondary this time around, readers also continue to see how the Diamond girls are relating to the world around them. There's a relationship between the girls and a secondary character that's essentially a ticking time bomb waiting to be revealed, and I can't wait to see how Madow works her magic in the next book.
I mentioned in my original review for The Secret Diamond Sisters that I thought Madow had done a great job of bringing the Strip to life for readers.
I still feel the same for this book, but I'm also equally impressed at how her world-building has changed in a way, where the Diamonds (and the reader) begins to find the large-scale Vegas hotels and the Strip more homey, and some place that they're meant to be.
There's a certain sense of ownership that the girls have begun to feel about their new home, and it's the type of ownership that really impacts their relationship to a place, and to each other. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out, and whether this impacts those they've left behind in Fairfield - something that you could already begin to see in this book.
The romance factor
Madow continues to introduce and (re)introduce readers to cute boys, but she's upped the ante this time.
Not only do we get cute romantic interests for the Diamonds, but she's also fleshed out their backstories more. Readers get to learn just what makes these boys tick, and that just possibly, their lives may not be so perfect after all. They are positively and negatively influenced by their relationships with the girls, and at times, do things that they regret because of their influence.
I'm intrigued by all of the guys, but particularly two seemingly out-of-reach guys.
Michelle has killed me with that ending. When does the next book come out?!
At the heart of the story, Savannah, Peyton and Courtney are young girls who are coming-of-age in a very weird, complicated environment.
(Seriously. If you think you have it/had it tough in high school, just imagine all of your problems + a world famous dad + endless wads of cash. Yep. See what I mean?)
Madow charts the growth, understanding of who the Diamond sisters are and who they want to be, in a way that is both entertaining, but also compelling to read. These are girls who will make mistakes, and will do and learn things that make them reevaluate their understanding of the world, and their place in it.
But it’s also a process where the Diamond girls will come out of it slightly better, and slightly wiser, and readers will get to grow along with them. I can’t wait to see where Michelle takes their journey next, and I’m confident that other readers will agree with me. Seriously - I need Diamonds are Forever already!
I highly recommend this book for fans of contemporary fiction. You will enjoy this book, trust me!
About the author:
Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling the world, shopping, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and loves talking with fans on Facebook (/MichelleMadow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow). Visit her website, www.michellemadow.com, for extras about her books!