Destinee Sutton's Reviews > The Candymakers

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
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's review
Jul 04, 10

bookshelves: middle-grade, food, adventure, tween, mystery
Recommended for: 9-12
Read from July 01 to 04, 2010

I picked this up at ALA with much excitement. It was described to me as "Willy Wonka meets Mysterious Benedict Society" and I liked at least one of Wendy Mass's previous books. As I started in on it, I was pleased to find decent jokes, a quick-ish pace, and lots of mouth-watering candy descriptions. The structure of the book is interesting too: Each of the four main characters (Logan, Miles, Daisy, and Philip) narrate separate sections of the book. So after we've read Logan's POV, we go back in time and see the day through Miles' eyes, then Daisy's, etc. So it's a slow reveal of what's really going on, which definitely keeps the pages a-turnin'.

The mystery is very Wonka-esque. Three kids are invited to a candy factory to learn about candymaking so they can enter a candymaking contest (Logan, the fourth contestant, is the candymaker's son and lives at the factory). It seems as though someone is after the factory's secret ingredient and may be trying to close it down. But who's the bad guy? Why do these kids have so many secrets? Who can be trusted? Will the four kids end up best friends or bitter enemies?

I was with this book right up until the end. The finale could have really popped, but instead it fizzled. And it got pretty cheesy, too. Still, 90% enjoyable isn't bad. I always think the toughest part of writing a mystery/adventure story is coming up with a satisfying ending. Maybe it's enough that the journey is exciting, even if the destination leaves something to be desired. I think I'll still recommend this one. The premise alone will make it an easy sell.
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