Debra Doxer’s Like Candy left a sour taste in my mouth

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Debra Doxer’s Like Candy left a sour taste in my mouth

I didn’t like this book and I gave it only two stars, but the Goodreads community seemed to be more forgiving, so there is a chance you will like it more than I did.  Candy is a certifiable psychopath if you ask me, and that can be amusing, but the author pulled her punches and didn’t go whole hog.  I say go big or go home – the book would have been stronger if it had committed to the crazy.

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Goodreads Summary – they used the bad word, not me

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.
Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.
Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.
Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.
My Thoughts

This book just didn’t work for me for several reasons.  First, the blurb lead me to believe that Candy was going to join her father in some action packed sequences, but that just isn’t what happens here.  Candy has no skills beyond her ability to manipulate, so she isn’t going to fight her way out of a paper bag.  Second, Candy comes across as a psychopath – she is calculating and cruel and vengeful.  She is something more than a mean girl, and though I think readers are suppose to cheer when she gets her revenge, it feels wrong.  If she has such deep seeded tendencies, it is hard to see her as some vulnerable girl underneath.  I think this was meant to give the reader an impression of a character with layers, but it ended up feeling like a fractured character.  The Candy who presents herself as hard core feels like a completely different Candy than the one who “falls” for Jonah.  In my opinion, someone like the first Candy would be incapable of feeling any true emotions towards other people, so this just seemed off.  Third, Jonah is not suppose to be a fool.  He sees through the machinations of every high school girl, but he sees the true Candy beneath the mean?  He fails to see how mean Candy is?  She is so hot he can’t help but want to rub against her?  None of those really seemed logical based on what we learn about Jonah, so that romance just didn’t pass muster. I understood what the author wanted to do here, and if the romance was lifted out of the context around it, it wouldn’t be a badly developed relationship – it’s nicely paced, it is full of believable and sweet moments, and I genuinely would have cheered for this couple if it hadn’t been this couple.  Fourth, it ends with a cliffhanger.  A bad one.  There is no sense of resolution in this book, and this is the kind of cliffhanger that irritates readers.  I wasn’t that bothered because I don’t plan to read the next book, but for readers who really liked it, they are going to feel like the author cut the book in half to get a second book purchase (I have no idea if that is the case, but I know that someone will bring it up).  Overall, this book doesn’t have the cohesion and consistency to really make it all work together, and readers will sense that early on.  Candy’s story about living with cousins a la Jane Eyre doesn’t jive with her reflexive vengeance.  Candy’s dad could be at the dog races for all we learn about his “job” and I can’t imagine a man like that not teaching his daughter some basic self defense.  Even the school setting didn’t really feel right because people kept missing practice or being late for practice, and I know that isn’t how things work.  I think this needs an editor who can really suss out some character continuity.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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