Jess's Reviews > Dawn

Dawn by V.C. Andrews
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Jun 23, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: vc-andrews
Recommended for: Middle schoolers
Read from June 18 to 23, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I keep wondering why in the world V.C. Andrews books are so popular, and I keep wondering why I buy them at garage sales, and then I finish one and realize they are such campy trash and I love them.

"Dawn" is no exception. Even though this was one of the books ghostwritten after Andrews' death, it follows the same basic elements of any classic Andrews novel: Innocent fair-haired protagonist, rags to riches story, incredibly talented and attractive youths, evil old woman, and a whole lotta incest. Like, a LOT of incest. Incest that doesn't start out as incest, and love that then turns into incest after the plot twist, and just general family-lovin' fun. INCEST.

The story starts with the titular fair-haired innocent, Dawn, on the move with her poor family (Momma, Daddy, brother Jimmy, and new baby sister Fern) to a new apartment. After Daddy gets a maintenance job at the prestigious Emerson Peabody school in Virginia, Dawn and Jimmy get to go to school for free, and they are thrust into a posh private school world that they've never experienced before. I love how recklessly evil the principal, Ms. Turnbell, and the students are to the Longchamp kids. Andrews makes such ridiculous situations- like why is everyone just needlessly evil? It's funny but it tends to make me facepalm a little. Dawn meets the handsome and charming Phillip Cutler, whose rich family own the Cutler Cove resort in town, and his bitchy sister Clara Sue, who wants to make Dawn's life miserable. Dawn and Phillip embark in innocent teenage romance, or in Andrews terms, attempted sexual assault of a young woman masquerading as flirty teasing. Good stuff, keeping it classy. Phillip is a total douchenozzle and lies about his experience with other girls, but Dawn is smitten.

So then the twist comes forth- Dawn's mother dies from sickness and her father is arrested at the hospital for kidnapping Dawn from her rightful family, the Cutlers, when she was an infant. So douchenozzle Phillip and evil Clara Sue are really Dawn's siblings, and she is taken from Jimmy and Fern and forced to live with the Cutlers in their fancy hotel. She is treated like a shameful secret by Grandmother Cutler, a treacherous old biddie who runs a pretty tight ship. Dawn's new family sucks- along with the evil grandma, her father is a flake and her mother is a simpering fool who barely gets out of bed. But that's not all- Dawn discovers what really happened and why she was really "kidnapped", and she has to work to outsmart this powerful new family and get back her old family.

There are so many flaws in this book it is ridiculous. I think Andrews took some liberties with the foster care system. I don't think they just throw the kid into a new home like hey, here's your new family. I really need to stop fact-checking these books; its really just beating a dead horse. Also, why would Dawn's parents take her back to Virginia and have her go to school with the Cutler kids if they freaking kidnapped her from that family? Daddy even knew Dawn was going on a date with Phillip! Like, come on! Best kept secrets, people! You're not doing this right!

This wasn't a terrible book- it certainly wasn't boring. A lot happened in one 400-page paperback and I read it pretty fast. But it is a middle-school level read with a lot of Andrews' weird personal fetishes sprinkled around, and the characters are two-dimensional at best and cartoonish at worst. I don't know why I keep going back to V.C. Andrews- probably some Freudian thing. My brain cells might be dying as I read her books but I'm always entertained.
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Reading Progress

06/20 page 50
06/20 page 50
12.0% "I am so too old for these books, but hell if I'm not loving 'em."
06/21 page 200
48.0% "Ah, there we go! The melodramatic twist NONE OF US saw coming! Incestastic!"
02/01 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Hanna Virginia Andrews actually only wrote ONE of "her" books herself. The rest are ghostwritten. The problem is that they are so incredibly formulaic, that even a 13-year-old gets bored after 2-3 books.

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