Meet Jackie Amsden.

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Jackie Amsden is a writing teacher and YA fiction author. Her recently released mystery/thriller, The Tokyo Cover Girls, is about three teen models who become trapped in a competition where they only escape is to uncover the truth behind a series of murders. The book is based on her experience working as a fashion model in Japan, Taiwan, and China. Sign up to her newsletter for a free digital copy of her novel.

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Guest Post – Forget Girls in Wells with Long Ratty Hair, This is One Girl That Will Never Die: My Sweet Audrina

What do you get when you combine a protagonist that is so dimwitted she would probably think Trump’s hair is just naturally like that and a plot with more amputations, electroshock therapy, and miscarriages than an 1800s lunatic asylum?

My Sweet Audrina is a gothic horror novel about a twisted family living in a creepy mansion in the American south. Written by V.C. Andrews, the story revolves around a girl named Audrina and her struggle to cope with her controlling father while dealing with the death and rape of her older sister.

My Sweet Audrina was first released in 1982 and is not only still in print but was made into a Lifetime movie in 2016.  The secret behind the novel’s impressive lifespan? My Sweet Audrina is the worst—and best novel ever written.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Thankfully the novel’s more recent cover art has finally put those cute little bears out of their misery.

V.C. Andrews creates only two kinds of characters in this book: total psychopaths and total idiots. As a result, the plot is an ending sequence of betrayals that is somehow boring and too-horrendous to comprehend at the same time. The combination world is completely hypnotizing.

I was 11 years old when I first read this 400-plus-page tomb. The thing was over twice as big as my usual Sweet Valley High fare and I couldn’t put it down. But even more impressive is that, two decades later, the book is still with me.

For good or bad, the book’s shocking sex-and-violence imagery will forever be seared into my brain.  As Erin Callahan from Young Adult Forever put it,

“…Because I had to read an endless description about how three boys held down a NINE YEAR OLD and mass-raped her. Fucking excellent, V.C. Andrews. Thank you so much for that. I still have the scars on my psyche from reading this as a twelve year old.”

Okay, so it’s most for the bad. In fact, looking back at this novel, I suddenly understand why I have had a lifelong phobia of rocking chairs. Still, the fact remains: I remember. The only thing I could tell you about Jessica and Elizabeth’s vanilla-scented world for sure is that they were both blonde.

My Sweet Audrina may not be perfect, but the fact that it is still traumatizing teens over thirty years later is pretty damn amazing.

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