Monday, November 13, 2017

#BlogTour: The Mirror Sisters series by V.C. Andrews® with review

Shattered Memories
by V.C. Andrews®
Series: The Mirror Sisters Series, Book 3
YA contemporary fiction

Paperback and eBook, 434 pages
Published October 31, 2017 by Pocket Books

In this finale of the darkly gothic Mirror Sisters trilogy, one twin fears her reunion with sister dearest…They share an unbreakable bond...An inescapable bond. As identical twins, Haylee and Kaylee Fitzgerald have always done things in exactly the same way. Under their mother’s guidance their every outfit, every meal, and every thought was identical. But now things are different. With Kaylee back at home after her sister's betrayal, Kaylee struggles living a life which has been turned inside out. With her mother and Haylee away, Kaylee’s alone and more lost than ever. Her father suggests going to a new school where she can have a fresh start, and where no one will know about her dark past. But if Kaylee knows her sister at all, she knows that her twin isn’t through with her yet…

Broken Glass
by V.C. Andrews®
Series: The Mirror Sisters Series, Book 2
YA contemporary fiction
Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Published February 28, 2017 by Pocket Books

One night, in the darkness of a movie theater, Haylee reveals that she’s leaving to meet up with someone she knows from online. But suddenly feeling ill, and not wanting to disappoint this older man, she convinces Kaylee to go as her instead. He’ll never know, and this way he won’t think she stood him up. Kaylee reluctantly agrees to go, but when the credits roll and she’s nowhere to be found, Haylee confesses everything to her mom. With the manhunt on, Haylee knows everything must be done to find her sister. Still, for the first time in her life, she’s free from her twin, which, really, isn’t so bad . . . is it?

The Mirror Sisters
by V.C. Andrews®
Series: The Mirror Sisters Series, Book 1
YA contemporary fiction
Paperback and eBook, 355 pages
October 25, 2016 by Pocket Books

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina series, which have become Lifetime movies in 2014-2016, V.C. Andrews® unveils the THE MIRROR SISTERS—a riveting start to a new series about the saga of identical twin sisters tortured by their perfectionist mother to become more and more alike—until one of them snaps. 

ALIKE IN EVERY SINGLE WAY . . . WITH ONE DARK EXCEPTION. Because they’re identical twins, their mother insists that everything about them be identical: their clothes, their toys, their friends . . . the number of letters in their names, Haylee Blossom Fitzgerald and Kaylee Blossom Fitzgerald. If one gets a hug, the other must, too. If one gets punished, the other must be, too. Home schooled at an early age, when the girls attend a real high school they find little ways to highlight the differences between them. 

But when Haylee runs headfirst into the dating scene, both sisters are thrust into a world their mother never prepared them for—causing one twin to pursue the ultimate independence. The dark disparity between the two girls may spell the difference between life . . . and a fate worse than death.

I recently read this three book series specifically for this blog tour. As a teen, I devoured books by V.C. Andrews. Series such as Dollanganger, Audrina, Casteel, and Cutler. Mass market paperbacks could be purchased in practically any store or found cheap in used bookstores or flea markets. Andrews had a knack for creating weird worlds and creepy characters which certainly entertained my youthful interest, so I was excited to hear about her latest series. Until I learned the author had passed away in 1986. Since then Andrew Neiderman has ghost written books in the author's name. I won't get into my feelings on that subject here.

The first book, Mirror Sisters, was very hard to get into. I'll be honest and admit I almost gave up after plowing through those beginning chapters--through pages of telling, backstory, large paragraphs of tedious exposition, and past the repetitive thoughts of the narrator ('good' twin Kaylee). Not much happens for many chapters besides hearing about the odd way their overbearing mother (an Andrews trope) has raised her twin daughters Kaylee and Haylee. Though their father lives with them, their mother is the dominant personality in the family and constantly overrides her spouse. Over time he simply gives up by giving in to her.

The voice of the main character bugged me. Kaylee came across as flat and unreal. She didn't sound like a real teen. For a YA, the continual focus on the mother took me out of whatever story the author was trying to create. The pacing was incredibly slow and not much really happened until close to the end. I missed the gothic-like vibe of the traditional Andrews books. Her settings completely drew me into her tales. 

Throughout The Mirror Sisters we see the twins who are supposed to be so much alike distancing themselves from one another as they age. It's a natural progression, but their mother won't have it, still insisting on buying their clothes and controlling every aspect of their lives. When she finally lets them attend a real school (after homeschooling for years), Haylee really exercises her distinctiveness by hanging with the type of girls who are the exact opposites of her shy, by the numbers good girl sister Kaylee. Smoking, drinking, experimenting with sex, Haylee exhibits her rebellious nature while dragging her sister into her various schemes and lies. 

The so-called surprise ending didn't work for me since I saw it coming the moment Haylee made her announcement. Unfortunately, for this reader it became a case of too little too late. Still, I read on. Book two, Broken Glass, continues the story from the cliffhanger ending of the first book. Narrated by both twins, we see how each acts under their different circumstances now that they're separated. This installment picks up the pace, reading more like an actual story, taking turns between the sisters as their relationship bears the effects of the strain imposed by Haylee's determination to split apart from her identical sibling. For a contemporary series containing cell phones and their dad owns a computer software company, the tone of this series still comes across as old, like 1970s. The voices of both girls still don't sound realistic to me and I read a lot of YA (in different categories) to base my opinion on.

One feels for Kaylee's predicament throughout the chapters while Haylee enjoys what her cruel and vindictive action cost her sister. She has what she so craved and wanted-to be the only one-and over time we see the cracks form in her outer layer as her fabricated story about her sister's disappearance weakens. Their mother can't handle having one of her perfect kids gone and their father returns home to try to keep this sad family together. There were chunks of this book and the final book, Shattered Memories, which made me want to scan through. Again, the repetition of events and tedious thoughts, the excessive verbiage, coupled with some additions that seemed like padding, didn't work for me. Instead of a trilogy, after a thorough editing, this would have worked better as a duology. 

**After reading this trilogy, these are my thoughts on the situation.** The best thing the publisher and the estate of V.C. Andrews could do is release whatever remaining works she left behind and then let the woman rest in peace. Let future generations of readers experience and appreciate HER extensive library (written wholly by her), instead of cashing in on her popularity by offering the public sub-par work written by someone else under her name. To this reader, to continue using her name is insulting, deceitful, and cheating. I chose to remember V.C. Andrews for her original books, not these pale imitations. 

Rating of each book and series: 2 (they were OK)
Cover comment: Not very reflective of the story
Book source: NetGalley (first two books); publisher (third book)

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