It’s only April but I have found the worst book of 2019 and that is Bittersweet
Dreams by V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman). I have read almost all of the V.C. Andrews’ books over the past ten-ish years. The newest ones have been consistently terrible. After finishing Bittersweet Dreams, I have decided to no longer purchase these books because I’m just throwing my money away. I’ll get more into my thoughts after the synopsis. There will be spoilers.
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…
This book was so bad that I feel it needs a bullet list for me to accurately get across all the issues I had with it.
- This book has no idea what time period it’s in. There’s references to email, writing letters and Facebook. All of those things do still exist BUT today’s teenagers typically don’t ask each other to write a letter or even email, they text. I think the problem is that Neiderman is almost 80 years old and is trying to write from the perspective of a teenage girl in 2019 and it’s just not coming across as authentic. His older books in the nineties worked because the characters were typically from a previous time period, usually the 1950’s through the 1980’s. Those would have been time periods that Neiderman was familiar with and he was good at writing them. He should stick with that.
- Mayfair is the worst main character (with the worst name) I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about. It was truly a miserable experience to be stuck in her head throughout the entire book. She’s a genius and apparently to be a genius you have to have no social skills and be completely rude, who knew? We, the reader, are also reminded that she’s a genius at least once on every page.
- The writing in this is just terrible. It’s so bad that I almost think that Neiderman has hired someone else to write these books, a ghostwriter for the ghostwriter. There is so much “telling” and no “showing.” We are stuck in Mayfair’s head almost the entire time with her just reflecting on everything that happens to her and thinking super “smart” thoughts. One of the prime examples of this terrible writing is that we’re supposed to hate Mayfair’s stepmother, Julie, but we’re never shown any real reason to not like Julie. We’re told repeatedly by Mayfair how awful she is but Julie never actually does anything mean to Mayfair.
- Nothing, and I mean nothing, remotely interesting happened until about Chapter 14 and there’s only 19 chapters. The book starts out with Mayfair being sent to a new school so I assumed there would be a little bit of backstory about why she’s going to this school and then we’d get into her actually being at the new school but no, the whole book is a backstory.
- Of course, all of the tired stereotypes are present. Most notably, if a woman is feminine in any way she must be dumb and only focused on looks.
- Mayfair’s family is, of course, wealthy because Neiderman does not know how to write poor or middle class characters anymore. Once upon a time, he had strong characters, like Rain and Ruby, who did not start out wealthy.
- Perhaps the worst part of this book is the “romance” Mayfair has with her TEACHER who then suffers no consequences?! I assumed that Mayfair would get pregnant, teacher would go to jail and the pregnancy would be why Mayfair had to go to a different school. That is what would have happened in the older books but nope, nothing happens.
I have no idea what happened to these books but I just can’t support it anymore. Neiderman needs to retire and either hire someone new to write these books or just let the V.C. Andrews’ name go to the grave with her. I do want to review all the older books that I LOVE so much but I highly doubt I’ll ever purchase another new release. If you’ve been reading these newer releases, I would love to know what you think about them or what you think about my ranty review in general, lol. Thanks for reading and have a great day!