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V.C.Andrews is a very famous author known primarily for her books The 'Dollanganger Family' one of which is titled flowers in the attic. Most of the books under her name come in fives. Four separate stories which somehow wind together to create a fifth. Crystal is no exception and it is the second instalment to the 'Orphans Miniseries'. The others are known as Butterfly, Brooke, Raven and finally Runaways.
Now before I go further I have to break a few hearts. Even though V.C.Andrew is famous for many a book she has personally penned few herself. She did write the whole Dollanganger family series just as she wrote half the Casteel family series and My Sweet Audrina. Apart from this the only thing she contributed was her notes on the idea of a book. A ghost writer fills in her shoes and writes her ideas under her name. He is called Andrew Neiderman. Now I am one to admit that I found this out by accident and without the guidence of someone else I would have never known. Despite that I still feel slightly conned. When I pick up a book with her name on I expect it to be by her, not someone who can write like her. Yet Andrew still carries on her stories well and Crystal is one of the many books I have enjoyed from his handy work.
Crystal is the brightest student in the Orphanage and despite being only eleven has been given a lot of responsibility. She over sees whatever Mr Phillips (one of the workers) asks her and is happy to do so. She is your typical grade A, apple to the teacher student and that is the way she likes it. Crystal also believes that she isn't wanted for two reasons. First being that she isn't four, cute and cuddly and after her prolonged exposure to the world of wanna-be-parents she knows the older you are the less you are worth. The second and most important thing is one she is just about to learn. Her mother was instutionalized at the young age of seventeen and diagnosed as a manic-depressive. Of course all potential parents get to see the records of each child they are interested in.
Due to all this new found information Crystal is stunned to find herself adopted by a couple called Karl and Thelma Morris. They don't look like text book parents but someone wants her and she is happy to grab at anything. The more crystal gets to know her new parents and for each question answered, two more appear. Karl is the bread bringer for the family. He is neat and polite, he calculates everything to a penny and is particular to the point that he designed the very house she lives in. His pants all have a 'wear by date' as do his suits. Once used they are donated to a local charity. Thelma is a whole other kettle of fish. Addicted to daytime soaps she never leaves the sofa. If forced to she makes sure she tapes them and catches up very quickly. So engrossed in her programmes she has lost touch with the real world and some other part of her believes they are her family. Then of course there's the smart but recluse boy around the corner who she is intrigued by, the new school to catch up on and keep her top grades and of course keeping up to date with Thelma's soaps herself.
The story is about Crystal trying to settle in a somewhat surreal family, becoming a teenager, dealing with all the emotions that come with it and trying to find out who she is herself. Finding her place in her own world and the world around her.
--My opinion-- Another book of the V.C.Andrews brand that I love and had me finding as many chances as possible to read. Despite being more of a light teen read it was still enjoyable and pushed me to read the others girls stories followed by the one that finds them all together. With reference to it being light, take note that this isn't anywhere as dark as Flowers in the attic or as deep. The story line flows well and was easy to feel part of unlike some other stories I have read. The main thing to remember however is that this wasn't penned by V.C herself so if you want something original you will have to stick to the classics.
Great review, it has been YEARS since I read Flowers in the Attic and I must admit the knowledge that the more recent books weren't actually written by her had put me off, but may be I will give them a go after all!! Caroline xx
avacarrdo 21.01.2008 12:50
A great review, I had no idea that she had a ghostwriter!
S.Bate 19.01.2008 10:06
Interesting review, bizarre about the writer really, for that genre.