There is much shame in giving this 5 stars - but please know that it's b/c I have fond nostalgia for the time in my life when I read this, not for the quality of writing or depth of story telling. Read during my early teen years, I was shocked, addicted, horrified, and utterly sucked in by this story. We were on vacation one summer & my mom was reading this book (amongst several others at the time). Apparently my dad picked it up from the table in our condo & began reading before she could finish. They were both so drawn -neither one wanting to relenquish the book til the other finished it - that they decided to rip the paperback in half so they could BOTH read. (I can remember sitting in the backseat at they joked about it & my mom taunting my dad with cryptic comments about the ending after she'd finished the book.) As a very rule-abiding pre-teen, I was SHOCKED. Not like it was a library book they tore up - but still, I was SHOCKED. And of course, DYING to read it.
So there you go. 5 stars due to the train-wreck nature of a story plus nostalgia over a book that had our whole family racing to see what happened in my favorite of all the guilty-pleasure VC Andrews reads.