Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Educate Emma: Books: The Candy Darlings by Christine Walde

Dust Jacket Description:

"The candy became an obsession between two outcasts—one who only wanted to fit in, the other who knew she never would.
Urban legends, rumors, lies, myths, mysteries, fairy tales. Stories, in all their magical forms, bound them together. 

"Satin Chocolate Covered Chicken Bones,” Astro Pop,” Fun Dip,” "Thrills.” 
 The candy stories—outrageous, twisted, hysterical— were an escape from a harsh reality and revealed a startling truth.

Darkly lyrical, sensual, suspenseful, and disturbing, The Candy Darlings is a celebration of friendship, story, and the power of each to help you define yourself—or simply survive."

Characters:  Megan is your typical, fiery manic pixie dream girl of a best friend. She's nothing unusual. Neither is the unnamed protagonist. The characters are quite realistic in The Candy Darlings, but they're not particularly multi-faceted. Of course, the real strong point of the book is its premise and writing style, so I found the characters to be forgivable. There's nothing new or memorable about the personalities in The Candy Darlings, but this might be the only time I can say that it was okay with me. 3 flowers. 

Writing: Within the first few pages of the novel, I was stunned by how gorgeous Walde's prose is. It's so lush and detailed, and the use of candy is highly original. Her dialogue reflects the most accurate portrayal of female bullying I've seen in YA literature. The writing is high quality, and it helps add more depth to the basic plot. The Candy Darlings is worth reading for the writing style alone. 5 flowers. 

Plot: The mystery of Megan's history is kind of original, but the rest of the book has familiar elements. The resolution to the climax also feels a bit rushed and inaccurate. However, I can forgive this a bit, just because of how brilliant the candy premise is for writing and characterization. 3 and a half flowers. 

End: One component of the ending made the book fall into the trope category. The other component was kind of unsatisfying, but realistic for the exact same reason it's unsatisfying. So, I'm unsure about this one. 4 flowers. 

Dust Jacket Description: I would have talked about the relevance of candy to both the protagonist and Megan's lives and interwoven the two. Mostly because I didn't find the candy stories all that engaging. Ultimately, the dust jacket description is intriguing, but too vague to capture my full interest. 3 and a half flowers. 

Overall: The Candy Darlings has fantastic writing and a decent world, but the prose is only thing that makes it stand out from the rest. I'll warn that it has mature language and events in it, but anyone over 14 has probably been acquainted with similar brutality. If you like great prose and can handle generic plots, try this one. 3 and a half flowers. 



  1. Agreed. We already talked about this, but so agreed: great writing, issued execution. I hope more people try her, though, as I'd love to see her write another book.

    1. I've met Walde. She's a great speaker, very excellent at communicating with teens, and obviously has polished writing skills. It's just the content that is currently her downfall.

  2. Hm. We haven't heard anything about this book -- and we're a bit disappointed at how little about the plot and characters we learn from the blurb -- but your review has us intrigued. As you say, it's a very cool premise, and it sounds like a decent read. Thanks for the heads-up!