Why do I torture myself?
This series is called the Sevens series by Scott Wallens, yet I had to search for them individually by what I thought were the subtitles. I guess technically those are the official names listed for the books, according to the Library of Congress info on the publishing info pages anyway.
I tried to remember why, why did I buy these books back in the early 2000s? I was obsessed with them for like a week, making almost daily trips back to the mall to raid Borders for the next book in the series. I think I remembered why when I was looking at the covers - first book, Shattered, was US$1.77 / CAN$2.99. Ahah, cha-ching! The other six books were US$4.99 / CAN$7.50 a piece. Not that expensive for a teenager who never spent her weekly allowance on anything except chips and soda at school. (Social life? Ha, what's that?)
Back to present time - I need to downsize my physical collection of books due to reasons. I figured, read it one last time and then donate it. Alas, my mistake. I am still sucked in by the random first-person POV passages amidst the otherwise consistent third-person. The over dramatics. The injustice of bad skin on weekends one is hanging out with one's unrequited crush. Quel horreur!
It's all set in that wonderful mythic world where high school seniors throw raging house parties with free flowing alcohol (rather, beer, maybe wine, because that is as sophisticated as it gets when you're 17 or 18 years old) every Friday night without any of the neighbors calling the cops. A lot of characters smoke cigarettes or pot because apparently it's pretty easy to do in public without anyone wondering, hey, where did you get that, aren't you underage? Were teenagers allowed to smoke in restaurants back then? I can't remember, to be honest. I always sat on the non-smoking side so I guess I wouldn't have ever seen them even if they were over there.
Frank discussions of sex and freak outs over parents, grades, college admissions, pretty on point. The books do not properly warn for triggers. There is rape of an underage character, thoughts and attempts of suicide, underage drinking, underage consensual sex, underage sex of dubious consent, thoughts of the aforementioned, use of drugs by underage characters, homophobia, sexual slurs, and wow, I think that's all I've gotten to 1 1/3 into the series.
Before I wrote all those triggers off the top of my head, I had thought that actually this series would have made a pretty good contemporary teen soap opera along the lines of One Tree Hill or Gossip Girl. After writing that all out, um, I still think it would make a good teen soap opera, which is now causing me to reevaluate what kind of shows we're marketing to the young adult demographic these days. Dang.