by V. C. Andrews
First published in 1979, FITA is the trashy classic read by many preteens, including myself. It was inappropriate reading material for me when I was that young, and the novel is really quite shocking to read even now.
In a nutshell, this is the dark story of the Dollanganger siblings: Christopher, Cathy, Cory, and Carrie. When their father dies in a car crash, their mother is unable to support the family and is forced to ask her own parents for help.
There is just one problem: Corrine was disinherited by her father a long time ago. The reason? She married her half-uncle. Ick!
So, her dying father is willing to allow his daughter to return to the family home/mansion, just as long as she has not reproduced with the aforementioned half-uncle. Uh oh!
What’s a broke widow with four children to do? Well, desperate Corrine moves back to her parents’ home and hides her children in a second floor room (with attic access) in the same home. Kept in that one room, the Dollanganger siblings suffer the wrath of their strict grandmother, as well as the neglect of their greedy mother.
Time passes, and the children grow and mature in the attic. And they wait for their mother to release them. And they wait. . .
It is hard to know what is most terrifying about this story—the wrath of the grandmother (she is scary!), the neglect of the mother (don’t get me started), or the incest that occurs between Chris and Cathy.
Regardless of the creep factor, this is a thoroughly addictive series of novels. I cannot wait to reread the next entry in the series!