Recently I noticed an omnibus edition of some V.C. Andrews books -- the Shooting Stars series, about four teenaged girls in a special school for the dramatic arts -- was priced reasonably. I loved V.C. Andrews books when I was in high school, so I decided to read the omnibus (the four prequel novels, essentially, about how the four girls ended up in the school).
As some background, when I was in high school in the mid-90s, I fell in love with the V.C. Andrews books. I think my favorites were the books in the original series, Flowers in the Attic and the ones that followed, but I devoured all of the series that were out at the time, as well as those that were still coming out. As my reading tastes matured, I moved on to other books, but I have fond memories of the V.C. Andrews books I read back then.
So when I saw the Shooting Stars omnibus, I decided to check it out and see how I liked it. It's about four girls who are in their senior year (in the next book, about all four of them, they are in their first year at the dramatic arts school, as far as I can tell). Although I know a lot of teenagers love to read V.C. Andrews, this feels like an attempt to formally market her books as YA.
As a result, I felt like these books -- which were very short, by the way, making this the shortest omnibus edition I've ever seen, only 430 pages on the Nook -- were watered-down versions of V.C. Andrews books, stories with formulaic plots and hints at similar themes as the ones I used to read as a teen. V.C. Andrews books often deal with issues of poverty versus wealth, rape, and family secrets -- these have some of those elements, but in much milder versions.
In a way it's a little disappointing, but I am also finding myself pretty interested in the conclusion of the series, Falling Stars, about the girls once they enter the school. It looks like that book is a normal-length novel, too, which I'm glad about -- though it's too bad they couldn't have made the girls' back stories a little longer and a little less formulaic!