Cover Image: The Favorites

The Favorites

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Member Reviews

A tale of suspense, twists and turns that keep the reader guessing throughout. I was reminded of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, the storylines have some similarities. A dark psychological thriller that uses the real life desperation that can come from being a "favorite" in academia. This is truly well written with characters that are bigger than life. My only issue was that it felt like the book lost momentum around the halfway point, it's definitely more of a slow burn.
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The Secret History...but instead of murder, make it about consent. Tense and sad, but also a bit of a stretch with a single student slipping into an uber-exclusive class without the professor knowing her true identity. The ending was not what I wanted, but I think that was the point.
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I read this in one day it was so good. I was fascinated by the idea of revenge that Jess planned to avenge her sister. Working with a small group of characters really allowed this story to shine as I didn’t get caught up in trying to remember everyone, however I felt a though we lost a little characterization in some of the lesser characters. I loved the relationship between Jess and Charlie, it was so sweet and really shined a light on what a caring person he is despite his family. The choice to set this novel in the lead up to the 2016 election was so good and allowed the dichotomy of what was happening on the world stage to contrast with the story we were reading. Honestly I’m blown away by how much I loved this book and all the changes Jessica underwent.
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I really enjoyed the growth and development of the main character. She went from having a hatred for the professor to understanding that he could be human and likable at times. I'm glad that she continues to point of getting him sanctioned by the school instead of letting him off because of his humanity. I liked the plot and the vivid world.
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The Favorites is a thriller about a woman who works her way into an exclusive grad school course to frame the popular professor for misconduct in an elaborate plan to avenge her wronged sister. I was intrigued by the pitch for this book as a #MeToo dark academia thriller, particularly because I enjoy thriller/suspense books with "good for her" energy. 

Despite the book being extremely plot-heavy, I found the pacing of the book to be rather slow. The first 2/3 of the book focuses on Jessie working her way closer to Professor Crane over the course of a semester, with many extended scenes taking place in his class. The final third focuses on Jessie's attempt to bring justice on the professor, suddenly bringing a few members of her cohort, who we've barely spent time with, into significant portions of the plot. The pacing feels really unbalanced. 

I struggled with Crane's characterization in the final act of the book. The attempts to expose the capacity for violence behind the man who "thinks he's one of the good ones" felt a little cartoonish. I wasn't sure why Jessie was so determined for him to understand the full weight of what he had done to her sister. It felt unrealistic. Offenders' ability to rationalize their actions to fit their own narrative is largely why this problem exists in the first place. 

While I was intrigued that the resolution follows a more realistic path, rather than a full revenge fantasy, it necessarily feels underwhelming. The peeks of "Crane as supervillain" especially contributed to the unsatisfying ending. I'm not sure how I feel about The Favorites. I found the execution rather underwhelming.
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This felt very anticlimactic. I was expecting more, but I don't feel like anything truly happened throughout the story. 

I received an advanced copy. All thoughts are my own.
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Set amid the 2016 election with the #MeToo movement at the forefront, 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗙𝗔𝗩𝗢𝗥𝗜𝗧𝗘𝗦 is a dark academia suspense about a young woman’s quest to avenge her sister’s death. There are many important themes explored within the book, including authoritative power imbalance, consent, and justice versus revenge. This is a slow paced read and while it kept my interest throughout, the ending felt very anticlimactic. If you’re looking for an explosive thriller this book isn’t it, but it’s an enjoyable read nonetheless.
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The Favorites tells the story of Jessie Mooney crossing the globe and attending law school to seek justice/retribution on behalf of her late sister.  I love a good revenge story, but this one was both too heavy-handed and not enough for me.  I would have preferred a story where the #metoo message and revenge angle were more nuanced, and the sister relationship/family history more developed.  I'm a sucker for good character development, and that just wasn't this book.  I did enjoy the writing, so would be willing to read more from this author.

Thank you to Graydon House and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Let me start off by saying that I love books about the law and criminal justice. The Favorites by Rosemary Hennigan is such a perfect blend of dark academia, law school thinking and feminist ideals. 

Jess is an incredibly complicated character. She is more driven than anyone I have ever met, and at the heart of her hard work is the thought to seek justice for her sister Audrey. When we find out just how far Jess is willing to go in order to get the revenge she believes is due, we realize just how twisted the concept of power and consent really are. "Punishment to inflict, justice to create."

The story takes place during the 2016 election in the States and even as a Canadian, I could feel the anger from women in the states during that time. Rosemary Hennigan is perfectly able to capture it onto the page, to let the rage of the time really roll into the story and drive our characters forward, putting us directly into the minds of the young women who were marching and protesting. 

There are so many great lectures and points of view, I cannot list off all them, we have a lot of reference to ancient Greek myths which I truly loved. We take apart the law down to the base of it being a man made construct and has always put men above women in that regard.

"A man can kill his daughter with impunity and a man can kill his mother - but a wife cannot kill her husband no matter what he did"

Truly a great book, if you like reading these sorts of stories I highly recommend to check it out.
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The description of THE FAVORITES by Rosemary Hennigan is irresistible and I was thrilled by the opportunity read an e-galley of the book. One of the main standouts of The Favorites is Jessie's voice; her sly, subtle humor gave the story some levity. Where the book did not quite deliver was in its execution of the plot. Jessie was the only fully developed character and all the others felt rather flat. The reveal of several plot points also fell a bit flat (and I am all for authors allowing their characters to make mistakes).
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This story about a woman’s obsession to correct an injustice against her sister resonates, yet there is also much sadness for the reader in witnessing misguided self-sacrifice for little gain:  two lives possibly wasted instead of just one.
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I love a good dark academia but this was not it. I was super engrossed at first but we hit the brakes and the plot was too slow from then on. I also didn’t like many if the characters decisions
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The Favorites is the newest novel from Rosemary Hennigan, coming out today from Graydon House.

Jessie Mooney has a plan. She did her research and wrote the perfect essay to be selected to Professor Crane's Law & Literature class. Jessie has never met him, but she knows him and what he did...and she's going to make him pay for it. While at Trinity College in Dublin, Jessie's sister Audrey had taken Crane's course and become his favorite. But being his favorite ended up breaking Audrey to the point that she left school and folded into herself, not letting Jessie or their parents know why. Then one day she leaves to backpack through South America, where she dies, leading Jessie to seek out Professor Crane and prove what he did to her sister.

This is a more literary mystery than I usually read. A lot of the narrative was set inside the classroom, discussing how law, literature, and mythology all intertwine. They discuss Paradise Lost and the trial of Orestes for killing his mother Clytemnestra. As Jessie argues and discusses these topics with him, they become closer and her plan to become his favorite seems to be working. Everything is falling into place after all her planning...then everything falls apart in one critical moment.

Filled with lies and secrets, this is a steadily paced, well written and researched novel of dark academia. The legal arguments discussed in the classroom are fully fleshed out, but are still easy to read and understand for anyone not familiar with law.

All in all, a great novel of revenge and obsession set in a university. It's a game of cat and mouse, but who is chasing who? If you enjoy literary fiction with some suspense, secrets, and stalking, then this is definitely for you.

Thank you to #NetGalley and #GraydonHouseBooks for a digital copy for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.
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Real Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

I really have to give this book points for trying. 

Unreliable narrator writing an account of her deeds and misdeeds in hindsight to an unknown third party? I loved that up until I found out who she was writing the account for. 

The plot of the book being that the narrator is attempting to avenge her sister’s untimely death by gaming academia and the professor she feels is responsible for what happened to her sister? I’m always down for fighting the patriarchy. 

A woman who is clever, manipulative, cunning, and willing to lie and cheat to get what she wants? I am always, always down for that. 

Throw in lectures and inner discussions about the intersection of law and literature and I mean, come on, that’s just catnip for someone like me. 

It’s just…this book took something that could’ve been a slice-and-dice takedown of academia and tamed it down. It felt like every time Hennigan built up to something revelatory or explosive, she backed away. What could’ve been brilliant was turned sentimental. 

This book takes place over the fall and spring semester of 2016-2017, so the presidential election of that year here in the US plays a large part in the sociopolitical commentary in this book and I think that takes a lot of the focus off of the main narrative. I think that was a mistake. To me, it read like a crutch for all the other characters in the book to lean on. Even our protagonist and antagonist lean on it from time to time, as if it can explain away actions or reactions. A book set in academia is already going to lean heavily on the themes of patriarchy. There wasn’t really a need to add in the election. 

I just think it was a whole lot of material with more potential that could’ve been developed better. It’s still a pretty great read if you like your dark academia on the softer side, but if you like your dark academia with a hefty dose of vengeance then this might let you down.  

I was provided a copy of this title by NetGalley and the author. All thoughts, opinions, views, and ideas expressed here are mine and mine alone. This review was written without recompense. Thank you.

File Under: Dark Academia/Literary Fiction/Psychological Fiction
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I loved the idea of this one, but it just didn’t work for me in execution.

I had really high hopes going into this one because I really enjoy dark academia. I also thought it would be interesting to read because this book is set at a law school in Philadelphia, and I am a lawyer currently living in Philly. This actually ended up working against me with the book. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I knew less. 

This was an incredibly slow burn for me and it never really captured my interest. When it did draw my attention, it was usually not for good reason. I felt it had a plethora of problems from start to finish, a number of plot holes, and a number of things that seemed illogical and/or non-sensical throughout. Despite having been authored by an attorney, I also think this book would’ve benefitted from a legal consult. A number of the references to legal principles and the rules of evidence were flawed. 

I did appreciate the themes that this book presented. I think it could’ve been really thought provoking. Unfortunately, these themes sort of got lost in the shuffle, at least for me. 

Thanks so much to the publisher and author for gifting me an e-arc of this book via netgalley. I really wish I would’ve liked this more, but not all books are for everybody.
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Loved the premise of this one, but somehow I didn’t connect to the characters or the story overall. The first 30% got me engaged, but it got slower and dragged out in the latest part for me.  I couldn’t understand the reasoning behind some actions of the main character Jessica, for example, she kept wearing the dresses of her sister to the events,  but didn’t want the professor to connect her to her sister. This type of things made her an unlikable character for me.
Overall it was ok.
2.5 stars out of 5. 

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollinsCanada for the e-Arc copy.
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How far would you go to seek justice? 

Jessica Mooney travels to America from Dublin to enrol in Professor Jay Crane’s prestigious law and lit class. Except, she’s not just there to study the law—she’s there to seek revenge against Crane for what he did to her sister, Audrey. 

Becoming one of Crane’s Favorites was something Jessica sought to do from the beginning and at times, it was uncomfortable to read how far she was willing to go to make that happen. Told around the 2016 elections, it really highlighted the abuse of power and the failures of the legal system. I was quite absorbed in Jessica’s story but found myself wishing more of the side characters, like Charlie and Vera, were more present along the way. I feel it could’ve really rounded out her character more and shown she wasn’t just a vehicle for revenge. 

The ending was abrupt, but satisfying in its own way. Thank you HarperCollins Canada for the chance to read and review early.
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This is a slow burn that had me engaged at first but fizzled out fast. I couldn’t get into this book, for me it was unfortunately a miss and anticlimactic. 

The premise being that a women, Jessie Mooney, enrolls into a prestigious law school to seek revenge for her sister’s death. When she find a final email  that says, “you know what you did” Jessie believes that her sister’s professor, Jay Crane is responsible. He has a group of students that are “The Favorites”.  Jessie’s plan is to get into Jay’s good graces and become one of them.

There is too much focus on the law class discussions and mythology, that it left me bored. I wanted more of the story, character development and dark academia. 

I would have to say that this book is NOT a thriller or even mystery/suspense but more so women’s fiction with themes of power, injustice, revenge and the Me Too movement at the forefront. It has a heavy theme of 2016 election and rich entitlement, which for me fell flat.  I hope to read other books from this author.
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The Favorites by Rosemary Hennigan is the perfect combination of thriller and dark academia.  Hennigan brings characters and content that is so vivid and relatable that you can't help but get pulled in.  It chronicles power imbalances, the competitiveness of academia, and exactly what lengths someone will go to when consumed with grief.  It's a gripping story that leaves you wondering what a person won't do for justice, or revenge.
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A novel of revenge that hits familiar themes. Jessica wants Jay Crane to pay for the death of her sister so she manages (quite a feat given that she's coming from Ireland) to enroll in the law school where they met. It's 2016- and Hennigan pulls all the vibes from that year to tell a story about victim shaming, academia, and bad behavior. Thanks to the publisher for the arc. It's a bit of a slow burn but Jessica's a good character. You won't want to get on her bad side.
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