32 twelve year olds have been chosen to compete in the Annual Candymakers Contest, and groups of four will train at different candy factories. Miles, Daisy, Philip and Logan are all training at the Life Is Sweet candy factory, which belongs to Logan's father. All four are under considerable pressure to win the contest, and all for very different reasons. First impressions turn out to be deceiving, and much to their surprise, the children must work together to win the contest.
I really, really liked this. At first, there is the inevitable question of, "Is this going to try and be some remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Because what's the point?" And fair question, with the book beginning with children waiting outside the doors of a mysterious candy factor having just won a contest. But luckily similarities end there. I also spent the first chapter or so trying to figure out if we were in a fantasy world or not. It just seemed like such a magical place, but it turned out to take place in the real world.
We get the first two days at the factory told from each of the four children's perspectives, which could easily have become tedious and boring but was not. With each retelling, we learn more about the character whose perspective we're in, which is important, but we also learn a lot more about the other characters since they're all seeing each other differently. I enjoyed that a lot. Things make more and more sense as each child recounts the day. Once the children have come together, we get the rest of the story, told only once.
Excellent candy descriptions. Oh it all sounded so good! I totally want to live in a candy factory.
I also liked that this book was nice. It was just a nice book for a middle school kid. There are lots of edgy books out there. Dystopia is very popular, as is supernatural romance. There are books that deal with very serious issues like death and illness and abuse. And all those book have a place and many of them are very important. But it's also good to have some books that are just nice. Which are well written and light and fun and nothing really bad happens and no one is struggling to survive and no one dies. They have some problems, things are worked out, and people make new friends and help each other. And there's lots of candy. It was a nice, fun read.
The Candymakers came out October 5th.