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I Want Candy

2.68 of 5 stars 2.68  ·  rating details  ·  202 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Fourteen-year-old Candace Ong is wasting away in wonderland--Eggroll Wonderland, the restaurant where her under-Americanized family toils in San Francisco. She loves rock candy and rock music, jelly beans and jelly shoes--and hangs with her best friend Ruby, whose wild life she envies. Candace wants more than another stifling summer stuck in the kitchen. So when a new oppo ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published January 29th 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers
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(showing 1-30 of 367)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for

Don't let the cover's pink, white, and red color scheme, or chicklit-ish title, fool you. Kim Wong Keltner's I WANT CANDY is not some lighthearted, nostalgic ode to life as a teen in the '80s. Keltner explores life as experienced by fourteen-year-old Candace, who wants more from life than what the larger culture deems appropriate for someone of Chinese descent.

Candace knows the odds of her dream boyfriend, Rick Ocasek from The Cars, driving up next to her as
I quite enjoyed The Dim Sum of All Things, so when I saw I Want Candy, I thought I'd give it a try. It's interesting in that this book is part coming-of-age Judy Blume's Forever and part historical fiction. On one page (sorry to be crude) blow jobs are discussed, on the other the sex trafficking of young Chinese girls. It should be noted that this is an EXTREMELY graphic book (depicting 14 year olds), so I wouldn't recommend it for girls under... 15? I'm a little out of touch with what kids are ...more
Here's a book that should totally be NOT judged by its cover. You think it's all dandy, what with all the red swirls going on there, but it was more than dandy. It was unexpected, thought-provoking and even to the point of scandalous. I made the mistake of assuming it was only going to be about the pangs of growing up Chinese in another society.

-Kim Wong Keltner may not have had the most original idea - a 14-year-old Chinese American Candace Ong wanting to find her self outside being a wait
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am so disappointed in this book. Her first one, "The Dim Sum of All Things," was hilarious and I told everybody how good it was. The sequel to that book "Buddah Baby" was ok, but not as good as "The Dim Sum of All Things." I hated this book and it just wasn't what I thought it would be. I'm thinking that perhaps "The Dim Sum of all Things" was her one hit wonder??
Fourteen year-old Candace Ong lives in the Chinatown section of San Francisco with her younger brother and her parents who own and operate a Chinese restaurant called Eggroll Wonderland. But Candace can’t stand her life. She hates being Chinese and working alongside her parents making wontons and eggrolls. Candace doesn’t want to have to work for the rest of her life waiting tables and cooking in the back kitchen just as her parents are doing. Candace wants something more; she just has to find o ...more
I picked this up for a vacation read and ended up reading this on the flight home. While it touched upon growing up with hard working immigrant parents and the struggles of being the first American generation. There was a lot of raunchy stuff going on. Especially since the main character was 14 and the majority of the book takes place while she is in 8th grade and the summer after 8th grade. It had it's moments, but not something I'd read again.
Shadow Girl
Another 'vacation' paperback I ran across last month.
And, while this is not anything close to something I'd pick out for myself, I enjoyed reading it.
It was jumpy, not deep, and no real ending - but, my mind was set on Scatter-Brain - so I was picking it up and putting it down and picking it back up... It was fate that me & I Want Candy came together at the perfect time.
It's a first person story about a teenage girl who works with her parents in a Chinese restaurant, and live above it. It's
This was not what I would call Keltner's strongest effort. The ending (while better) did little to redeem the overall book, which featured what seems to be the current trend in self-absorbed and oblivious characters. That's definitely a trend I'd like to see the end of!
A truly awful book.
This is the first book I've read and reviwed that I had a really hard time finishing (as evidenced by how long it took me to finish). I found this book in the YA section but I'm really not sure if should count as YA. It seemed more like one of those books where the author makes the main character a teenager just to prove a point, to use her as a device. If that makes sense. The book is set in the '80s and 99% of the references were completely lost to me sicne Candace mostly listened to rock and ...more
Phong Ho
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Alexandra B.
The book was alright...DEFINITELY more graphic then I judged. I wouldn't reread it OR recommend it to anyone. All I learned from it is Chinese American culture and the dangers of city life. It looked more fun then the cover read. What I liked about this book is that they showed what society looks like from a young Chinese girl's point of view. I related to the constant nagging of her foreign mom warning her that she would get raped, which almost happened. I enjoyed learning about the Chinese-Ame ...more
It's 1983 in San Francisco's Chinatown. Fourteen-year-old Candace Ong spends her time after school working alongside her parents at a Chinese restaurant called Eggroll Wonderland. Candace feels fat and ugly, and willingly but unhappily plays sidekick to her best friend Ruby Ping, a seemingly self-assured underage Lolita. She observes Ruby's sexual escapades and has a short-lived encounter of her own with an older musician who works at the neighborhood copy store. Following a summer tragedy, Cand ...more
catherine james

Don't let the cover's pink, white, and red color scheme, or chicklit-ish title fool you. Kim Wong Keltner's I WANT CANDY is not some lighthearted, nostalgic ode to life as a teen in the '80s. Keltner explores life as experienced by fourteen year old Candace, who wants more from life than what the lager culture deems appropriate for someone of Chinese descent.

Candace knows the odds of her dream boyfriend, Rick Ocasek from The Cars driving up next to her as sh
"I Want Candy" has the grit (Chinese restaurant grit) of Kim Wong Keltner's earlier books, but less of the humor. This book is darker and more frightening though the fourteen-year-old narrator's tone is flip ("The girl who really liked her tits was gone. The girl who liked her tits, had a heart-shaped butt, and played a mean game of Galaga, was blown to smithereens," p. 146.) Candace's love-hate relationship with her best friend is completely believable and real, as is the risky behavior both gi ...more
Jan Taylor
I've read only half of this book, I give up, I kept hoping it would get better ... It's just too dirty, gritty for me!
Candace's parents run a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco and Candace wants out. All her life, she's been frying eggrolls and working without complaint. But now, at the age of 14, Candace is sick. Her so-called best friend Ruby is experienced in things that Candace only dreams about. She's so anxious to get out of her parents' house that she'll do anything. Won't she? Maybe? Maybe not. This adult fiction novel is one heck of a coming-of-age story that explains what it's like to be Chinese Amer ...more

From the cover, I expected a breezy coming of age story of a girl I would grow to love. Ugh.

The book began nicely enough about an ugly duckling who had a pet duck, a pet duck which her mom made as a surprise dinner one day. Candace worked in her family's restaurants mainly as the "egg roll girl". It was a coming of age story filled with all kinds of stomach clenching scenes.

I rushed through the story not really enjoying the journey. If it were much longer, it could have really depressed me. But
Chi Thomas
I related to this book way too much.
Elena A. D.
Mar 18, 2012 Elena A. D. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOT people my age...
Shelves: reviewed
This is why I should stay out of the adult section of the library.

Like many others, I grabbed this book expecting a fun, quick read.

That is not what I got.

However, this book kept me interested enough to keep reading. I will warn you, though-it's EXTREMELY graphic. It follows Candace Ong through her journey to escape the terrible fate of being the "Eggroll Girl" at Eggroll Wonderland, her family's restaurant, for the rest of her life. It's definitely funny, but it's pretty intense. Once again, it
well, i read most of it. i'm reviewing so many books lately, i couldn't get myself to finish this. it's totally amusing, the main character is more tough than she cares to admit, swears a lot, and is dealing with immigrant parents and a history of mental illness in her family, as well as sexual encounters and drifting away from someone who used to be her best friend. it's not amazing literature, and the references may be too obscure for today's teens. darn.
This is one of those rare times where I just don't know what to make of a book. It was okay... nothing great. I'm not really sure what it is supposed to be. Young adult fiction? The 14 year old central character tells me it could be; the strong sexual content tells me otherwise. Chick lit? General fiction? I never did figure it out.
Didn't get past first 40 pages...there's too much description of minutiae and cultural references to 80's phenomenon and not enough character development or plot for me, so I just put it down.I was hoping for so much more...especially because it's about a Chinese-American teen of immigrant parents in San Francisco...
Sarah Jacquie
I loved it, very quirky and all over the place. Definitely not young adult.. very vulgar, crude, funny... my type of book. Love the 80s lyric and pop culture references though, and part of the book just takes a complete twist that you wonder if you are reading the same thing.
Adolescent Chinese girl comes of age in the early 80s. Meandering plot and mean-girl behavior were interesting at first, but soon the author took a magical realism turn--for the worst! Fell apart for me after that, but I did enjoy the nasty-as-you-wanna-be voice.
My inability to quit a read once I've started is the only reason I finished this book. It was dificult to believe in Candice and her life; especially in the end. I thought the description of the book was mis-leading and I do not recommend it!
i learned it is fun to read dumb books when you're on vacation at the beach. this is a good one for that. mariryn, you might like this one, as it is about chinese people like yourself. there are no mexicans in it, though. you can't have everything.
Fun book to read about a coming-of-age Asian American girl in San Francisco; the language was really casual, which made the book more entertaining to read. A lot of interesting twists in the story; Keltner is a sassy writer.
I read it all in about 2 hours on a plane ride. Decent enough story to keep me reading... but after I finished it, I honestly didn't remember much about it. Entertaining at times. Not great.
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