Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Candymakers: A Sweet & Satisfying Middle Grade Read

In the town of Spring Haven, four twelve-year-olds have been selected to compete in a national candy-making contest to create the most scrumptious candy in the country. There is Logan, the candy maker's son, who has spent most of his life sheltered inside the factory, and worries about whether or not he has what it takes to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and win. Next is Miles- an unusual boy who is allergic to seemingly everything, and has an odd fascination with the afterlife. Daisey is a perky and cheerful girl who can pull taffy like it's a feather. And finally, there is Phillp- an over-achieving, suit-wearing boy who is always scribbling in a secret notebook. Each of them has their own reasons for being there, but as readers will discover, they are not what they would expect.

Wendy Mass is one of my favourite middle grade authors, and I always make a point of reading her new books when they come out. I've yet to be disappointed. She's one of those writers who really understands what being a tween (11-12-13) is like, and perfectly captures that in her books.

The Candymakers alternates between the four perspectives of the different kids, but with a third person narrator. I really enjoyed the third person in this case, because the narrator was able to provide a wider insight into the characters than first person would have. Wendy Mass begins the book with Logan's story, but in an interesting twist, warns readers to pay close attention to what he doesn't tell you in his narrative. This ends up being sound advice, because as it turns out, there is a great deal that these characters aren't telling readers but is revealed through the observations of the other characters.

The characters in this book are wonderful. They are intelligent, talented,  multi-faceted, vulnerable and mysterious, and are connected in unexpected ways. I also loved how they bonded with each other and developed a genuine friendship. Regardless of who they are, or where they came from, what they each needed most was the one thing none of them seemed to have- a friend.

There are several mysteries that unfold over the course of the story, and only those who pay close attention will figure out how all of the pieces fit together. Readers will also enjoy imagining themselves in the contest around all of those sweet confections, and dreaming up their own special candy in the process.