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Review of CANDY by Kevin Brooks

by Becky Laney

Brooks, Kevin. 2005. CANDY. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439683270

Set near London, CANDY stars Joe and Candy as the teens destined for a bittersweet whirlwind romance. Joe is a young teen boy in a band. He happens to meet Candy outside the subway station. On the day they meet, they share some fries at McDonalds and talk about anything and everything—everything except the fact that Candy is a prostitute who is addicted to drugs and dependent on her often-cruel and always-jealous pimp. When Joe realizes that Candy is more than what she seems, he knows he should avoid her, yet can’t bring himself to do so. He calls her and they arrange to have a day together at the zoo. They spend hours walking, talking, and laughing. Yet ever so often, she excuses herself so she can go shoot up drugs. Joe knows that is what she’s doing, yet he likes being with her. The pimp eventually finds out that Candy has been encouraging this kid to hang around, and he is not happy. When he finds them alone together in Candy’s room, together they clunk him over the head and make their escape. Joe takes her to his family’s cabin. He knows that without drugs, Candy will soon experience severe withdrawal symptoms but he’s ready to face anything if it could help Candy be free from her way of life. Ultimately, everything collapses. The pimp finds out where they’re staying. The pimp threatens to kill them both. Candy goes outside to seemingly “go back” with him, and she kills him. Candy faces trial for murder and she’s being kept in a mental institution. Joe’s life is changed forever.

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