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Literature / The Wildflowers

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Four young women dealing with the heartbreaking trauma of a family breakup and the repercussions of dark and horrifying secrets from the past....note 

The Wildflowers is a series of novels published under V.C Andrews's name, but actually written by a ghost-writer. Published in 1999, the series revolves around four troubled teen girls who are court ordered to attend group therapy. Slowly, they open up to each other about their Dark and Troubled Pasts and discover they aren’t quite as alone as they first thought.

The books, in order, are:

  • Misty
  • Star
  • Jade
  • Cat
  • Into the Garden

The first four books are told from the point of view of a different girl and focus on their individual stories, whilst the last book, told from Cat’s viewpoint, focuses on what happens to them after.

Not to be confused with the band The Wild Flowers or Ghosts Among The Wildflowers.


This series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: All the girls' parents are abusive in some form. Cat's parents are the most obvious; her mother is emotionally abusive whilst her father sexually abuses her. Star's mother is neglectful and verbally (and at one point physically) abusive. Misty's mother could be regarded as emotionally abusive, as could Jade's parents, though they're mostly guilty of neglect. Steve Gilmore's father is neglectful and physically abusive too.
  • Adults Are Useless: With the exception of Doctor Marlowe, Star's grandmother and the police, adults are the primary cause of the girls' issues and do little to help them.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Cathy is nicknamed Cat, which she begins using instead (to the point where her POV book is called Cat).
  • The Alcoholic: Steve's father and Star's mother.
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  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Part of Misty's attraction for Lloyd is this trope.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • Most of the girls, especially Cat and Star, are hinted to have PTSD, or similar conditions, as well as anxiety and depression.
    • Craig has clearly got mental issues of some kind, being very delusional and seeing nothing wrong with imprisoning a teenage girl, though it's not made clear what exactly is wrong with him.
  • Attempted Rape: In the climax of the final novel, Howard tries to rape Cat (again), but is thwarted by Doctor Marlowe and the other girls.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Star's parents had a very dysfunctional and mutually abusive marriage. Jade and Misty's parents both end up in these marriages before divorcing. The only one who has parents that seem remotely happy together is Cat, and it turns out her father sexually abused her, so...
  • Betty and Veronica: Misty's love interests are well-spoken and cultured young gentleman Charles Allen, and hot headed rebel Lloyd. Of course, Charles Allen turns out to be a manipulative Jerkass whilst Lloyd is actually compassionate and understanding towards Misty...neither relationship turns out well, though.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Dr Marlowe, Misty, Star and Jade at the end of Into the Garden, who burst in to save Cat just as her father is about try and rape her again.
  • Big Fancy House: Doctor Marlowe's house (doubling as a private therapy), Jade's house and Misty's house.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • Exploited and subverted by Charles Allen with Misty, who pretends his parents are divorcing as well to get into her pants. Played straighter with her and Lloyd, who both come from broken homes and both feel like outsiders.
    • Played straight with Star and Steve, who have both lost a parent (Steve's mother died, Star's parents abandoned her) and both have to deal with an abusive and alcoholic parent.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Charles Allen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The girls are always going to carry the scars of their experiences and Geraldine is dead, but Howard is apprehended, Cat is adopted by Dr Marlowe, the girls will always have each other and all of them are able to move past their trauma and have happy lives.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Misty is blonde, Cat and Star are brunettes (well, technically Star has black hair) and Jade is a redhead.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Misty began acting like one after her parents divorced. Deconstructed in that Misty is clearly doing it as an outlet for her pain and frustration for what her parents put her through; not to mention the fact she still comes across as being more mature than both her parents.
  • Broken Bird: All four main characters. Arguably Cat's mother, Geraldine, as well.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Misty towards her parents when they get divorced. The divorce, as well as their childish actions during and after the separation, utterly shatters her view of them as a wonderful, loving couple who she seeks to emulate.
    • Even worse, Cat towards her father. She viewed him as a loving father and the one she trusted and felt truly understood her...which comes crashing down after he rapes her and murders her adoptive mother.
  • Cool Old Lady: Star's grandmother.
  • Damsel in Distress: Cat at the end of Into the Garden, though it's justified in that she's a vulnerable and traumatised teen who's been kidnapped by her rapist father, who also murdered her mother.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Jade, who manages to escape her kidnapper, Craig, all by herself (which is just as well, seeing as no one else at home noticed she was missing).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All four girls, with the first four books focusing on revealing their pasts.
  • Dark Secret: Cat regards her reason for being in therapy as this. It's later revealed she's part of another Dark Secret: She's actually the product of an affair who was adopted by her half sister to cover it up.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Part of the reason Misty starts hanging out with Lloyd is because she knows how much her parents -especially her mother - will hate her dating a boy like him.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Possibly for Star. After seeing Steve flat-line, she blindly ran out into the road and was hit by a car. Onlookers claim she did it intentionally, though Star herself has no memory of the incident.
    • More obvious with Jade. She deliberately overdosed on sleeping tablets and claimed she just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up, but really, in context it means the same thing. Her maid found her and she was taken to hospital before the overdose could do any serious damage.
  • Dysfunctional Family: All the main characters have very dysfunctional families, to the point where they consider themselves OWP's - Orphans With Parents. Their families’ dysfunction is often the direct cause of their emotional problems and the reason they're in therapy in the first place. Reaches Big, Screwed-Up Family levels in Cat's case.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Justified, in that the four girls are all in therapy for various traumas and emotional problems, and are encouraged to attend group therapy to make friends and deal with their trauma together.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: All four girls in the end.
  • Evil All Along: Cat's father.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: It's revealed that Cat's mother is actually her maternal half-sister, who adopted her due to the fact their mother gave birth to her after having an affair with her brother-in-law (whom Geraldine was in love with).Then in "Into the Garden" it turns out Geraldine was adopted too - meaning Cat has no blood relation to Geraldine after all, and Geraldine had wrongly believed she was in love with her own uncle.
  • First Love:
    • Steve for Star. It ends tragically after he's beaten to death by his abusive father.
    • Charlen Allen for Misty. He turns out to be a manipulative Jerkass who was only using her.
  • First World Problems: Star and to a lesser extent the other girls view Jade as having these, due to her being wealthy and priveleged. Jade calls them out on it, stating that just because she's rich it doesn't mean she doesn't have to cope with serious problems and issues. They quickly realise she's right when they hear her story.
  • Foreshadowing: Cat becomes deeply uncomfortable whenever the other girls bring up sex. It turns out she was molested at a sleepover party and raped by her father.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Jade is the "pretty one", Star is the "mannish one", Cat is the "sweet one" and Misty is the "Team Mom".
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Misty is Sanguine, Cat is Phlegmatic, Star is Choleric and Jade is Melancholic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Geraldine is given one, both through letters that Cat finds in the attic and what she reveals to Cat about her past.
  • The Fundamentalist: Cat's mother.
  • Gene Hunting: Part of the plot of Into the Garden revolves around Cat doing this, though it's not so much tracking down her family as finding out why she was adopted in the first place. Seeing as it's a V.C.Andrews' book, it's of course a very angsty reason.
  • Genre Shift: The first four books are fairly realistic drama stories about four girls sharing their abusive/traumatic pasts and trying to move past them together. Into the Garden, however, is a more typical V.C.Andrews' novel, involving the mysteries of a Big, Screwed-Up Family, dark family secrets and murder.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Star frequently has these, as a way of coping with her trauma.
    • Cat had one after being raped by her father, resulting in her being hospitalised and revealing everything to the police and her mother.
    • Misty has minor versions, where she hears lots of static.
  • Hypocrite: Misty views her parents as being this. They constantly complain about the other being selfish, irresponsible and not caring about Misty, when they're both guilty of this. Also, when Misty's father gets angry at her for lying to him and her mother about where she was going to be that weekend, she points out that he lied to her about being away that weekend as well.
  • Ice Queen:
    • Jade, though she quickly becomes a Defrosting Ice Queen.
    • Geraldine, who generally remains as frosty as ever.
  • Idiot Ball: Jade, who's depicted as an intelligent and well-educated girl, going to meet a boy she befriended online, without telling anyone where she's going. Justified in that she was desperately lonely and distraught at the time, and would do anything to make a friend, this meaning she wasn't thinking clearly. She herself lampshades that it was a stupid idea in hindsight and that she should've known better, but it serves to highlight how damaged she is by her parents' actions.
  • Incest Is Relative: Well, what were you expecting from a V.C.Andrews' series?
    • It's revealed that Geraldine was in love with her uncle who had an affair with his sister-in-law, Geraldine's mother. As it turns out though, Geraldine was actually adopted, so she and her uncle weren't biologically related, though she didn't know this.
    • See also Parental Incest further down.
    • Misty's mother brings up the Oedipus Complex, claiming this is why Misty allegedly prefers her father's company. Misty is utterly disgusted by this and rips her mother a new one in response.
  • It's All About Me: Misty's parents, in particular her mother (her father's just as bad, but is less blatant about it). Charles Allen counts too. In fact, all the girls' parents are guilty of this at some point.
  • Jerkass: Charles Allen and Misty's parents (especially her mother). Star's stepfather. Cat's mother, though by the end she's clearly more of a Jerkass Woobie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jade and arguably Star, who both Took a Level in Kindness by the end of the series.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Star and Misty's parents never get any comeuppance for their horrible treatment of their children.
    • Jade's parents are a bit of a subversion, as they seem to realise by the end what they're doing to her and feel remorseful.
    • Subverted by Howard, Cat's father. At first, he gets away with raping her, as Cat's mother doesn't want to pursue a case against him and drag it all up. In the end though, he is caught and arrested for raping Cat and murdering Geraldine.
    • Averted, fortunately, for Steve's father, who is arrested for fatally injuring his son.
  • Lonely Rich Kid:
    • Played brutally straight in Jade's case. She's never wanted for anything financially, but her parents barely interact with her and treat her like a prize to be won rather than a person during their divorce, she doesn't appear to have any real friends and even her servants overlook her. She ends up using online chatrooms and recklessly agreeing to meet a boy she befriended online out of desperation to make a connection with someone. This results in her being kidnapped and when she manages to escape, she discovers no one at home even noticed she was gone, leading to her attempting suicide. This is lampshaded by Star, who realises that the reason Jade acts so cold most of the time is because she has no one to turn to.
    • Misty becomes one, though to a lesser extent than Jade. She's well-off and has lots of friends, but becomes distanced from them after her parents divorced, feeling that none of them understand or even care about what she's going through.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Charles Allen and Cat's father. Craig may also count, though he's slightly more sympathetic than the other two.
  • Meaningful Name: Cat is so nicknamed due to being compared to a cat; quiet and timid. Jade states she was named for her green eyes.
  • New Media Are Evil: Jade experiences this - she gets lured by an internet predator who kidnaps her (though she escapes).
  • Oblivious Adoption: Cat, for most of her life. She finds out in one of the worst ways possible: her adoptive father tells her shortly after raping her to let her know what he did is 'okay' because they're aren't blood-related. Fortunately, she's later Happily Adopted by Doctor Marlowe.
  • Odd Name Out: Inverted; Misty, Star, and Jade tease each other for having such unusual names and Cathy's relatively normal name gets no comment (she gets called "Cat" later on, but it's just an Affectionate Nickname).
  • Offing the Offspring: Steve is beaten into a coma by his father and ultimately dies.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Both Star's parents eventually abandon her, though considering what horrible parents they were, she and her brother are probably better off in the long run.
    • Misty feels as though her father has abandoned her; whilst he visits with her and pays child support and so on, he's very emotionally distant and he often cancels their visits at the last minute.
    • Lloyd's father walked out on him and his mother.
  • Parental Incest: Cat is sexually abused by her father, Howard. It's subverted in that it turns out she's actually adopted - technically, Howard is her brother-in-law, as her adoptive mother is revealed to be her older half-sister, but it's no less Squicky. The revelation that she's adopted also doesn't help Cat's psyche.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • Star's parents. Her father tries at first, but eventually abandons her and her brother Rodney.
    • Jade's parents. They still provide for her but are very emotionally neglectful. The same could be said of Misty's parents.
  • Parental Obliviousness:
    • Jade's parents, to the point where they don't even notice she's been missing for nearly two days.
    • To a lesser extent, Misty's parents.
  • Promoted to Parent: Star is practically raising her little brother after her father leaves, due to her mother being an irresponsible drunk.
  • Protagonist Title: The first four books, Into the Garden being the sole exception.
  • Purple Prose: Some of the girls (especially Misty) slip into this, describing people's appearances or their houses and so on in great, lengthy detail. Whilst not too prevalent, it can be a bit jarring at times seeing how they're meant to be teenagers and some of this details are irrelevant to the story (although possibly more justified in Jade's case, seeing how she's upper class and so tends to speak quite eloquently).
  • Rape as Drama:
    • A large chunk of Cat's problems stem from being sexually groomed and raped by her father.
    • Possibly for Jade. She claims that Craig, the man who kidnapped her, didn't rape her, merely tied her - naked - to his bed, though it's possible she's an Unreliable Narrator, and she's clearly still messed up by the incident.
  • Reality Ensues: Misty and Lloyd experience this after running away. They have no money to make it to Seattle, meaning they have to spend the night under a bridge and forcing Lloyd to try and rob a store, leading to them being arrested.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dr Marlowe and the judge presiding over Jade's parents' divorce.
  • Rich Bitch:
    • Averted by Misty, who's a nice, but troubled girl who happens to be well-off.
    • Subverted by Jade. She's the wealthiest girl in the group and comes across as a bit of a bitch at times, but is ultimately revealed to be a nice person who acts bitchy due to her various emotional problems.
    • Seemingly played straight with Misty's classmates, mother and Charles Allen, however.
  • Second Love:
    • Lloyd for Misty. Unfortunately, that one doesn't work out much better than the first.
    • Larry for Star, who she eventually marries.
  • Shrinking Violet: Cat, though she has good reason to be.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Jade, who has red hair and green eyes.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Howard poisoned Geraldine's pills.
  • Teens Are Monsters: At a sleepover party at her friend Kelly's house, Cat's so-called friends get her drunk and watch her being 'jokingly' groped against her will.
  • There Are No Police: Cat lives with a physically and emotionally abusive mother who is actually her half-sister. You would think that the therapist, Dr. Marlowe, would pull her out of that toxic environment (the other girls certainly call her out on it) but she doesn't. She does end up fostering Cat after helping to save her from Howard after he kills Geraldine and forces her out of the house.
  • Their First Time:
    • Misty with Charles Allen. It's very unpleasant, as Misty is very nervous and only doing it to fill an emotional void, so it's painful and uncomfortable. Charles Allen is cold towards her afterwards, even complaining about how bad she was, and it turns out he's slept with other girls (including prostitutes) previously.
    • A more positive example with Star and Steve. Unfortunately, what happens to Steve shortly after makes it a very bittersweet memory for Star.
  • Token Minority: Star (who is black) is the only non-white girl out of the main characters. However, she gets just as much character development as the others and isn't a walking stereotype. She's also not the only minority character; there's also her parents, brother, grandmother and possibly Steve.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Jade and Star, though they were never actually genuinely nasty in the first place, just emotionally damaged. Arguably, Jade's parents are heading this way, realising how badly their selfish and petty actions have screwed up their daughter.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour:
    • Charles Allen is technically a teen, but it's still quite disturbing when we learn he has manipulated a classmate into sleeping with him and sleeps with prostitutes.
    • Lloyd is also a teen, but again, it's far from normal that he robs an elderly store clerk at knifepoint.
    • Misty herself. By sixteen, she's sexually active, has been in a relationship with a known delinquent who was expelled for fighting, ran away from home with said delinquent and has been arrested for involvement in armed robbery (though to be fair, she was unaware of the robbery).
    • Eventually, all the girls, seeing as they help Cat illegally bury her mother's corpse and don't report it to the police, though their reason for doing so is to prevent Cat from being put into the foster system.
  • True Companions: The four girls, by the end of the series.
  • Wicked Step Mother:
    • Averted by Ariel, Misty's stepmother. She seems to be a nice person, if not a bit dim, and tries hard to be kind to Misty. Misty herself only objects to Ariel because she's closer to her age than her father's and she suspects that they began their relationship before her father divorced her mother.
    • Played straighter and Gender Flipped with Star's stepfather. He isn't exactly abusive, but he clearly doesn't care about Star or Rodney in the slightest and walks in on Star whilst she's in the bath, which may or may not have been intentional, and is quite happy for Star's mother to dump the kids with their grandmother rather than look after them.
    • Steve's stepmother is a drunkard who mocks and belittles him and does nothing to stop his father from abusing him.
  • Yandere: Craig turns out to be a bit of one towards Jade, deceiving her to get her to meet him then knocking her out with chloroform and keeping her tied up to prevent her from leaving.


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