Cinnamon (Shooting Stars Series #1)

Cinnamon (Shooting Stars Series #1)

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by V. C. Andrews

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For Cinnamon, dreaming of imaginary worlds and characters is her only escape from her mother's breakdowns. Her grandmother's overbearing control. Her family's turmoil. But Cinnamon is discovering something special about herself, a gift from deep within that sets her apart: a talent for the theatre that would finaly give her a truly escape.


For Cinnamon, dreaming of imaginary worlds and characters is her only escape from her mother's breakdowns. Her grandmother's overbearing control. Her family's turmoil. But Cinnamon is discovering something special about herself, a gift from deep within that sets her apart: a talent for the theatre that would finaly give her a truly escape.

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
Shooting Stars Series, #1
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 4.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Darkness Descends

"What's wrong? Why have you come for me?" I asked her.

Once I had arrived, she had simply started out of the principal's office and begun her stomp through the corridor to the exit for the parking lot. As usual she expected me to trail along like some obedient puppy.

She continued to walk, ignoring my questions. She always fixed herself on her purpose or destination as if she were a guided missile. Getting her to pause, turn or stop required the secret abort code only her own private demon knew and was reluctant to relinquish or reveal. You just had to wait her out, calm yourself down and be patient as difficult as that was. Grandmother Beverly could spread droplets of poison frustration on everyone around her like a lawn sprinkler.

But this was different. She had ripped me out of school and sent my head spinning. I would not be denied.


"Just let's get out of here," she said sharply, not looking at me. She lowered her voice and added, "I don't want anyone hearing about this, if I can help it."

My heart was racing now, galloping alongside my unbridled imagination.

"Your foolish father," she muttered. "I warned him. No one can say I didn't warn him."

We passed through the doors and headed toward her vintage Mercedes sedan.

"Grandmother," I cried, planting my feet firmly in the parking lot. "I'm not taking another step until you tell me exactly what is going on."

She paused finally and turned to me, hoisting those small shoulders like a cobra preparing for a deadly strike.

"Your mother has gone mad and you're the only one who can talk to her. I certainly can't. Of course, I can't reach your father," she said, "and there's no time to wait for him anyway. I don't want to call an ambulance if I can help it."


"You know how one thing leads to another and in this community there's enough gossip about this family as it is," she continued. "Maybe you can get her to stop."

"Stop what?"

"I can't even begin to describe it," she said, wagging her head as if her hair had been soaked. "Let's just get home," she insisted and hurried to get into the car. Now that she had sharpened my curiosity and raised the level of my anxiety like mercury in a thermometer, I rushed to get in as well.

Once I was seated, my head bowed with the panic I felt.

"I must tell you," she continued after starting the engine and pulling away from the school parking lot, "I have always felt your mother was unbalanced. She had tendencies I spotted from the first moment I set eyes on her. I warned Taylor about her minutes after he had brought her around for me and your grandfather to meet her.

"She was coming to see us for the first time, but she wore no makeup, draped herself in what looked to be little more than a black sheet, kept her hair miles too long like you do and had enough gloom in her eyes to please a dozen undertakers. She could have worked constantly as a professional mourner. I could count on my fingers how many times I've seen a smile on that face, and even if she did smile at me, it was the smile of a madwoman, her eyes glittering like little knives, her wry lips squirming back and into the corners of her cheeks like worms in pain. How many times have I asked myself what he could possibly have seen in such a woman?"

I had heard a similar lecture before.

"Maybe he was in love, Grandmother."

"Love," she spat as if the word put a bitter taste in her mouth. "How could he be in love with her?"

She glanced at me and then put her eyes back on the road. She was a good driver for someone in her early seventies, I thought, but then again, she was good at everything she did. Failure wasn't in her personal vocabulary.

"Your mother was certainly never what I would call beautiful. I'm not saying she doesn't have pleasing features, because she does, but she does nothing to enhance them. In fact, what she does is diminish them just like you do with that silly makeup you wear.

"Of course, it didn't help that she had the personality of a pallbearer. Believe me," she said, "that takes the light from your eyes, the glow from your smile. It's no wonder to me that she never made any friends. Who wants to listen to the music she likes or read those poems about loss and death and insanity? She has no social graces, doesn't care about nice clothes or jewelry. She was never interested in your father's work or helped him meet business associates."

"Then what do you think it was, Grandmother," I asked dryly, "a magic spell?"

"You think you're being facetious, I know, but let me tell you that woman can cast spells of sorts. I'll tell you what it was," she said, after a short pause, never wanting to admit to not knowing something. "She was probably his first love affair. Men, foolish men, often mistake sexual pleasure for love. Sex is like good food. You can eat it with anyone, Cinnamon. Remember that," she ordered.

"Then what's love?" I asked her.

"Love is commitment, responsibility, dedication. It requires maturity."

"Sounds boring," I said. "If that's love, I'll take good food."

She opened her mouth wide and glared at me, shaking her head.

"You'd better be careful of your thoughts," she admonished. "Insanity can be inherited, you know. The genes from our side of the family just might not be enough."

I wanted to laugh at her, but I kept thinking about what awaited me and how it might make her right.

No one could tell anything about the inhabitants of our home by simply driving up, especially this time of the day. The front faced east so that all morning the windows were turned into glittering slabs, impenetrable crystals, twisting, turning and reflecting the sunlight. In fact, if it wasn't a day for the gardeners, and today wasn't, there was a look of abandonment about the place. Our cars were always left in the rear, out of sight. Two tall weeping willows on the northeast end painted long shadows over one side of the structure, adding to the sense of desertion.

There was a swing under a maple tree to the right on the west side. I noticed it was going back and forth, which made me smile. Anyone looking at it would be convinced there was a ghost sitting on it. I imagined one myself, one of the Demerest girls, smiling.

Fall had just lifted its head and begun to blow the cooler winds over the landscape, waving a magical hand to change the greens into yellows, browns and oranges. The grass, however, seemed happier, waking to heavier dews every morning. It was a deeper green. I loved the aroma of freshly cut lawns, the freshness traveled into my brain and washed away the cobwebs and shadows from my darker thoughts.

As Grandmother Beverly turned up the drive, she finally revealed the situation in detail.

"I was in the living room, watching a good Cary Grant movie, when I heard her humming in the hallway. What is she doing downstairs? I wondered. The doctor had specifically told her that if she was going home, she was to remain in bed, resting, getting stronger. I offered to be her nurse, to march up and down those stairs as many times as need be, so she couldn't use that as any excuse.

"But your mother never listens to wiser voices. She hears only what she wants to hear. Secret voices out of the shadows," she muttered.

"Anyway, I went to the family room doorway. At first, I didn't see her. Then I heard her talking to her plants."

She paused, smirked and shook her head.

Mommy often spoke aloud to her plants as if they were her little children. She said when she was sad, which was far too often, the leaves were limp and dreary, but when she was happy, they were crisp and alive.

Meet the Author

Cleo Virgina Andrews was born to William and Lillian Andrews on June 6, 1924 in Portsmouth, Virgina. She was the youngest of three children, and spent her childhood in Portsmouth and Rochester. She enjoyed ballet, classical music, chess, and astrology. She read all the time and excelled in art. At the age of fifteen, Andrews won a scholarship for a literary parody she had written.

In her late teens, Andrews fell down a flight of stairs and tore a membrane that led to bone spurs. That and botched orthopedic surgery would lead her to a dependence on a wheelchair. She finished high school in spite of the operations and went on to complete a four-year art course. After Andrews became disabled, her mother tried to hide her fromt the world. She would not accept the accident and told Andrews that she could not be a writer. This is why Andrews is sometimes referred to as a "closet writer".

Andrews' father died in the late 1960s and her and her family moved to Manchester, Missouri.

Andrews was living in Apache Junction, Arizona, when she began to devote all of her time to writing. She completed her first novel, The Gods of the Green Mountain, in 1972, but it was not published. Andrews managed to produce from thirty to forty pages a night in spite of her disability, but her only sales before 1979 was a small piece in a confession magazine.

Nine novels and twenty short stories were rejected, but Andrews kept on writing. A tenth novel, called The Obsession, was sent to a publishing company. The editors told Andrews that the story showed much promise, but it was too long. Andrews did much revising and shortened it to a ninety-eight page version she entitled Flowers in the Attic. She rewrote it a second time, dedicated the book to her mother, and sold it to Pocket Books for seventy-five thousand dollars.

It was not Andrews' decision to use her initials on her books. At first, she was told that it was an irreversible error by the printers, but later learned that it was an editorial decision. The editors wanted to prove to men that women didn't always write about so-called "girlish" things. They used her initials, instead of Virginia, so men would buy the books.

Flowers in the Attic was released in November 1979. It rocked to the best seller list two uneventful weeks after its release . It remained there for more that fourteen weeks.

Word spread that there would be a sequel to Andrews' popular novel. The demand was so great that the publisher moved the publishing date up by several months. Petals on the Wind was released in June 1980 and became an instant success. It rose to the number one position and remained on the New York Times best seller list for nineteen weeks. Its popularity was so great that it caused Flowers in the Attic to reappear on the list.

If There Be Thorns was the third book in the series. It was released in June 1981 and was also successful; it appeared on the best seller lists the second week after its release.

Shortly after Thorns, Andrews wrote a new novel entitled My Sweet Audrina which was released in April 1983. The fourth book of the Dollanganger series, Seeds of Yesterday, was published in March 1984. Andrews then started the Casteel series, publishing Heaven in October 1985 and Dark Angel in November 1986.

Andrews died of breast cancer on December 18, 1986. Her family had promised themselves to continue her novels. The fifth and last book of the Dollanganger series, Garden of Shadows was released in November 1987, less than a year after Andrews' death. The movie adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, in which Andrews had a cameo as a window-washing maid, was released to theatres in the fall of 1987 and made into video in the spring of 1988.

Andrews' family carefully selected a "ghostwriter" after her death to complete novels.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
June 6, 1923
Date of Death:
December 19, 1986
Place of Birth:
Portsmouth, Virginia
Place of Death:
Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Cinnamon (Shooting Stars Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When Cinnamon's world starts to fall apart, people aren't surprised. In fact, her grandmother gloats about it. Of course she would, she said Cinnamon's mother was crazy all along. Cinnamon knows the only was to help her mother escape her prison of madness and fantasy is to tell her of the real world and live the dream her mother always had for her, the theater. In the meantime things are getting worse at home. Her father is acting strange and her grandmother has taken over the house. She begins changing things from the first moment Cinnamon's mother went to the 'clinic'. She's changing the decor, throwing older antiques out and worst of all trying to put a lock on Cinnamon's door so she can't go to her bedroom whenever things get rough at home. Will Cinnamon be able to help her mother live in reality again? Will she overcome the obstacles her grandmother sets in front of her? Will she finally be able to confront her father about the truth of his adultery? And most of all will she learn that her mother's dream for her is really her future? Find out by reading Cinnamon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
falling stars is much better than the first four books if you ask me. there isn't really any horror in this series like in most of the vc andrews books. in some ways it was a real let down. to me, rose was the character that had the most connections to real series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. You should defiantly read this book. After you read it you will want to read the reast of the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Cinnamon is faced with a lot of problems in her life dealing with her mother that has gone all strange on her because of the loss of the baby. Cinnamon finds out that she is a very good actor and she actually then follows her dream for her mother and father, but her grandmother disagrees with the whole ordeal. However, Cinnamon finally gets accepted to a great school to show her acting skills that she has. I absolutly recommend this book to any one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was excellent. I thought it was especially good for the teenage girl, ages 13-any age. GOOD BOOK =c)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the V.C. Andrews series. They are easy to read & very enjoyable. I love them. However, they are very similar to each other. This one, true, is somewhat different, but still reads like many of the others. I'm hoping the author will branch out a little more with this series (as it seems) & keep me coming back for more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cinnamon Carlson finds herself trapped between her mother's mental problems and her problems. She finds out that she has more to offer to the act!! A great, wonderful story, between loving your family and caring for your dream!! A best way to enter the bestselling list for the first book to a miniseries!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Neiderman has finally given us a book that he can be extremely proud of again. Cinnamon wasn't the same as the other characters. She is more headstrong, more sarcastic, and in the physical appearance department A LOT more different than any of the other 'squeaky clean' types. Cinnamon lives up to her name. A bit sweet, followed by a whole lot of spice. Move over Cathy and Heaven, there's a new girl in town.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The beginning of a new miniseries by bestselling phenomenon V.C. Andrews. When her mother has a mental breakdown after a miscarriage, Cinnamon Carlson escapes her domineering grandmother by turning to the theater.