[The Candymakers]: A Review

Hi y’all!

Hope you are enjoying June. Around here, summer has officially started and I’m doing everything I can to stay a bit cooler. We are enjoying mornings outside and lots of frozen treats. The baby countdown is starting to get a bit shorter!

I am really excited to share my review of The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. This book deserves more of the spotlight or perhaps I am just late to the party. I really enjoyed everything about this book especially the way it reminds me of all the best parts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

I actually first heard of this book in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill when Nina is talking to her half sister about great middle grade books. I read the Goodreads summary and knew I would enjoy this one. Yes, I bought this book before I read it because I knew I would love it. Yes, I already bought the sequel because I need to own that one too. Being a book nerd is so fun. 😉 This book was such a delight from start to finish! I loved it!

Initial Thoughts:

  • Can chocolate factories like this really exist? Please can we have competitions like this one? And yearly picnics and tours of the factory? I would love to experience a place like this.
  • Can we just talk for a minute about how hard it is to read a book with so many delicious treats that are FICTIONAL?! Haha. I seriously wanted to try a jumping jelly bean, the oozing crunchorama, a s’more with fresh marshmallow, and chocolate pizza! Delicious food descriptions were everywhere!

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According to Goodreads, “Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew?

Logan, the Candymaker’s son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone?

Miles, the boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink?

Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it’s a feather?

Or Philip, the suit-and-tie wearing boy who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook?

This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant’s perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

The best part of this novel is the multiple perspectives. This was done in such a clever way and I enjoyed how we got more pieces to the overall story as we added each character’s perspective to the story. I loved getting inside each main character’s head and seeing the same events thru each of their perspectives. It was so clever to keep returning to the start and to end the same point. Instead of this feeling repetitive, it was refreshing and a new way to tell a story. It was a lot of fun to experience the same events from different sides. The cliffhangers definitely kept me turning pages quickly. Each character had things about them and details in their stories that surprised me. Loved each unique perspective and loved the way they fit together.

All four of our protagonists are relatable, engaging characters that you come to love whether from the first page or much further in their stories. I loved Logan and his perspective on the world — he sees so much good and doesn’t let his past define him. I enjoyed quirky Miles with his talking backwards and love of chocolate pizza. Getting inside his head illuminated so many details about why he focuses on the things he does in life. I was surprised by Daisy and her background. I admire her determination and cleverness. And I even loved Philip and how he does the right thing in the end and how much he loves music. These four are very different with vastly different goals at the start of the novel but they become loyal friends and work together for a common goal. I loved how their friendship evolved and how they changed to help each other.

Again, I absolutely loved the candy factory setting!! This is as good a setting as Willy Wonka’s famous factory. Only this time we get to spend 400+ pages exploring the magical rooms and wishing we were sampling everything with them from fresh taffy to churned chocolate to pepsicles and chocolate covered everything. Oh and chocolate pizza!! Each room is unique and exciting. I think I loved the tropical room and the s’mores room best. But it’s sure hard to choose. Wish I could really visit! This is such a fun setting for kids as well as it lets imaginations run wild with possibilities for inventing all sorts of fantastic new candies.

This book is fantastic! I loved the ending especially the secret ingredient. I wish I made a new candy with the gang. And I love the connections we come to understand at the end. Great lessons about friendship, doing what’s right, working hard for your goals, and what’s important in life.

Highly recommend this one and can’t wait to read the sequel!

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What are some of your favorite book settings?
What kind of candy would you invent if you could?
Any Wendy Mass fans out there? Which of her novels should I read next?

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