This book reminds me why I always tell fellow readers to give young adult books a chance. The only complaint I have about The Candymakers is due to the fact that these books are unfortunately targeted towards young adult readers rather than adults that are young at heart.
On that note, the only real problems I had were the same reasons this was not targeted to me. Again, unfortunately. The sentences were more concise and simple then I believe necessary for teens; there was a lot more telling than necessary, although there was notable detailed showing. Some of the plot was rather unbelievable; it all came together a little too easily. But, it is a fantasy world filled with candy, after all. How could I not fall in love with this book? The only other two fictional books that I have read set entirely in the Candy World are "True Confections" by Katherine Weber and, of course, "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl. And now this one, which holds its own among them.
My favorite thing about this novel is its structure. The author is able to successfully write from different points of view- something many adult books cannot get right. Furthermore, these accounts are sold separately, in different chapters- a difficult thing to do. With impeccable exactitude, no facts, no details, none if the timeline, not the characters are mismatched. Readers get the feeling that they are experiencing the event as they switch between the four childrens' minds, each with their own secrets.
They all have their own reasons for being there and all eventually really want to win competition. At first a few are enemies, but, of course, they eventually grow to really care about one another and sincerely can each other friends as they learn each other's secrets and inner thoughts.
**** Spoilers ****
Logan, The Candymaker's son, feels the need to prove to his parents that he is worthy of inheriting his father's position. He has no other friends because his parents have kept him sheltered since he was a young boy. During the annual factory picnic, he met Philip, who was touring the area. This was one of the first boys had met and he was excited to find a new friend. After playing like boys do around the candy factory for most of the day, they were at the chocolate vat when Phillip lost his toy truck in it. Not wanting to upset his friend and wanting to return it, he crawled into it. He ended up not getting it in time and scarring his entire face. He is still a very happy boy; it seems that he notices his scars far less than anyone else does. In fact, he often forgets that they are there.
Daisy, who grew up in a special family- spies with all the technology and ninja moves- is on an assigned mission. She is there for reasons that at first she does only because she was told; until certain events cause her to truly consider what she is doing. And what is right and wrong. Finding and taking Life Is Sweet's secret ingredient with the goal to shut down the factory? Certainly in the latter category.
Miles, whom carries a life jacket around everywhere and has taken an interest in the afterlife ever since he was out boating and watched a girl drown. He eventually funds or that girl was actually Daisy, who of course never died because she was utilizing her super powers.
Last but not least, there is Philip, whom is extremely negative, pretentious, rude, and full of animosity as soon as he meets the others. We eventually find out that he is the former boy with the toy truck. As expected, he typically is not this type of guy. But as an equally lonely child, when he was erroneously informed by his father that he had been banned from the Life Is Sweet candy factory (he was actually invited back by the family), he is there to win the competition; to take Logan's thunder. I also loved his secret violin talents and music genius.
Looking forward to reading her other books!