Review: Bittersweet Dreams by V.C. Andrews

Book Blurb

From V.C. Andrews, bestselling author of Flowers in the Attic (the first in a series of Lifetime movie events about the Dollanganger family), comes the tale of a gifted teenager who finds that mastering high school is much easier than mastering her heart.

Mayfair Cummings is young, beautiful, and brilliant. But her intelligence makes her the outcast of both the private school she attends and the broken family she hopes to salvage. When she catches the eye of both a popular senior and her handsome English teacher, not even her brilliant mind can help her navigate the explosive new relationships she is forming, or a scandal that is brewing…

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Toot's Review

I have to be honest, I haven't read a V.C. Andrews book since I was in high school. So, when I was approached to read a new series of hers with prequels, I was definitely intrigued about diving back into a beloved author.

After reading Corliss - one of four prequels (Bittersweet Dreams, Corliss, Donna and more to come), I couldn't wait to dive into (what I thought) was the main story that prompted the prequels. With that being said, unbeknownst to me, Bittersweet Dreams is also a prequel per se'. Yep you heard me right, it's basically an extended prequel. These books explain how the characters end up at an uber private school for the profoundly gifted known as Spindrift.

Ok so now that you know about these "prequels", realize that each story is a standalone story unto own. None of these books are connected right now but will somehow, someday become connected in the future. So, each can be read as a standalone albeit with a bit of a cliffy.

So, for Bittersweet Dreams, the main character we are following is Mayfair Cummings whom is too smart for her own good. She's to the point she's almost a robot. I'd venture to say she's beyond autistic in how she sees and interacts with the world. Now throw in a newly blended family, a school full of stupid teachers and a newly blended family who doesn't know how to deal with her but at its heart, it's a story of sisters. The two unlikely sisters might not be of blood but Mayfair has found possibly her first ever friend and wants to be a big sister to the only girl that has ever been nice to her. Luckily, her opportunity has arrived to step up and find out why her sunshiny little sister has suddenly turned gloomy. Through these twists and turns, we will also find out how Mayfair is set on the path to the super-secret Spindrift school.

Alright, so first, it took me awhile to figure out what was going on. I was expecting a whole different story. I was expecting that the Girls of Spindrift prequels were leading me to Bittersweet and that I'd find all the characters in this book but that's not what this was. This was basically another prequel, so once I got over my initial confusion I could enjoy it a bit better.

Once that happened and I knew how to approach the book, it made it more palatable. The story is told from Mayfair's POV. Mayfair is very robotic in how she views the world and how she interacts with it. So, you're in the head of a teen "know it all" the whole time, someone who struggles with empathy and who knows she is smarter and prettier than anyone she comes across. Yep, it's a hard pill to swallow and probably why the reviews have been so mixed with this book.

With all that being said, it's definitely a YA read with some spice. There's not only the teen angst of the "fish out of water" trope but it also has teen crushes, blending family drama, sisters, adults are too stupid to live and a forbidden taboo. And parents be warned, there are some triggers and language. This is not a sunshine and roses book or HEA.

Lastly, for fans of V.C. Andrews, even though the cover says "The Forbidden" it has nothing to do with her "The Fobidden" series.

I honestly think that this book and the Girls of Spindrift books should be repackaged and that Bittersweet Dreams in particular should be added to the Girls of Spindrift group of books but preface them as prequels, so rather then the upcoming 4, there should be 5. This way, it's more clear to the readers where these books sit in the V.C. Andrews world and the purpose of the books in particular. Yes they are technically standalone books but they all end on a cliffy with the girls on the path to the mysterious Spindrift.

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