Book Review: Celeste by V.C. Andrews

Book: Celeste by V.C. Andrews – published by Pocket Star, paperback edition, 432 pages.

Synopsis: He was her mirror image. Now the mirror has cracked.

Celeste and her twin brother, Noble, are as close as can be — until a tragic accident takes Noble’s life. It’s a loss that pushes their mother, a woman obsessed with New Age superstitions, over the edge….

Desperate to keep her son “alive,” Celeste’s mother forces her to cut her hair, wear boys’ clothes, and take on Noble’s identity. Celeste has virtually disappeared — until a handsome boy moves in next door, and Celeste will risk her mother’s wrath to let herself come back to life.

My thoughts: [TW: rape, physical and emotional abuse] [Spoilers]

I’ve read quite a few V.C. Andrews books in my time, and I’m confident in saying this is the worst so far. It has all the markings of true V.C. Andrews trash: hints at incest, fatal car accidents, a pivotal scene where the protagonist gets her period for the first time, rape, child abuse, a psychopathic matriarch… the list goes on. Although it seems strange to say a book containing ANY of those themes could have even an ounce of charm, but there is a kind of nostalgia linked to some of V.C. Andrews’ books, and this one lacks any sort of charm whatsoever.

The story revolves around Celeste and her twin brother Noble (wtf is that name), who dies suddenly in a freak accident near their house. Now, the twin’s mother vaguely comes across as a bit of a weirdo from the start of the book, but after Noble’s death she forces Celeste to take on his persona – fully cementing her froot-loop status. She cuts Celeste’s hair off, throws out all of her belongings, forces her to do hard manual labour to toughen herself up, and goes so far as to tape down Celeste’s breasts when she starts to develop into a young woman.

The whole book is completely bizarre, and although the synopsis hints at a “handsome neighbourhood boy” moving in and shaking up Celeste’s life with romance; what actually happens is he repeatedly rapes her once he discovers she is in fact not a boy but a vulnerable young woman. Oh, and he robs her too. Celeste falls pregnant and mother proceeds to steal her baby, dye its hair, and raise it as her own. The ending leads into the next book in the series, which I 100% will not be reading. I was tempted to ‘DNF’ this, but I gave it a go and it was a huge waste of time.

Rating: 2/10

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