Setting: Modern Day
Across the school parking lot, I saw my mother standing by her car. She beckoned and I started toward her quickly.
“What's going on?” I said.
“Get into the car,” she said.
“Just get in, I'll take you home,” she said.
I got in and almost before I closed my door, she was backing out of the parking spot. She took a deep breath and looked at me.
“You haven't heard the news?” she asked.
“Harry Pearson is dead,” she told me, and then to be sure I understood, she added, “Karen's stepfather is dead.”
I felt the blood drain from my face.
“What do you mean, Mama? When did he die? How did he die?”
She started to cry and had to slow down and pull the car to the side of the road.
“It looks like Karen did it, honey. It looks that way. She's run off.”
I actually tried to speak but couldn't. My throat had closed up.
Back Cover Synopsis:
TWO FRIENDS AS CLOSE AS SISTERS.
ONE KILLER SECRET THAT WILL TEAR THEIR SMALL TOWN APART.
In the dust and shadows of the attic, they shared everything – fanciful stories, high school crushes, plans for the future, dreams to travel the world. For Karen, the attic is her escape from the reality of her stepfather's unwanted attention. Together in the eaves of a house with its own murderous history, the best friends concoct a scheme that will put Karen's stepfather in his place. It wasn't supposed to turn deadly. But in the attic Karen shares one more secret with her best friend – a secret to take to the grave...
In comparison to Flowers in the Attic (written by the original V.C. Andrews), I'd have to call this story 'generic.' Unlike the earlier series where the story refers to the deeply-rooted pathos of it's characters and a past that unwinds as mysterious as the sordid present, this novel felt flat.
It actually seemed like most of the book just fleshed out odd details to fill more pages. For example, how many times do you need to read about Zipporah's horrible, boring days at school? After a bit, these details become redundant. It seems that this book is filled with the same details over and over, rather than digging into family secrets. Everything seems so surface, not at all the feel of my regular V.C.A. Reading.
The storyline and idea were terrific...the idea of two girls losing their sense of reality in an old attic, playing pretend. Everything is so fairytale until someone dies.....yet it becomes boring rather than the type of page-turning story that reels you in and won't let go.
I also had a really hard time commiserating with either of the main characters, Karen or Zipporah. They both seemed like spoiled brats. There was no adversity with either of these girls. No humiliating past, no previous suffering. And the character of neither was really excavated. Just two girls who had perfect lives, who chose to ostracize themselves from the rest of their highschool class, who prefered fantasy over reality and thus one girl allowed that fantasy to overpower reason.
I usually enjoy my V.C Andrews reads. Given, I'm not saying I didn't like this book. It's a fair read, I've just read better from her series.
If you're a fan, give it a go. Just don't expect it to be anything like Flowers in the Attic just because it shares the 'attic' bit.
Best Gothic Details: two girls who hide out in an attic and play pretend to forget the troubles of the world, a dusty attic with relics from the past, playing dress up in the old clothes and trunks in the attic, murder, a character so mad with mourning that he dresses up a manequin to act as his dead mother, odd incestual relations (this is most any V.C.A. Book, really).