Title: Like Candy
Author: Debra Doxer
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Publication date: July 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
*ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Self-published author, Debra Doxer, writes a building, page-turning mystery in Like Candy. From the summery, I expected this book to be adventurous and fun, but the themes are more serious.
Candy says she’s tough, and I think she is, but it comes from a need to protect herself. She’s lost her mom, lived with relatives who mistreated her, has an emotionally disconnected, hit-man father, and her best friend is terminally ill. When she dishes out revenge pranks (some extreme) her “successes” come off as more immaturely ruthless. I couldn’t decide if I was cheering for her or not. She comes off as a character misguided. Her father’s profession continues to be cloaked in mystery. Should Candy look up to him? Candy is determined to believe he’s one of the good guys, but is her opinion swayed by her need for his approval? Her budding relationship with Jonah proves that she longs to be truly cared for and seen. If she had an attentive relationship in her life, would she feel the need to take revenge on those around her?
Jonah also hides behind a façade, protecting himself from getting hurt by a relationship (so we think). The more time Candy spends with him, the more she discovers he’s compassionate and kind, utterly charming—opening doors for her and carrying her books. But as Candy discovers a threat to her father, and said threat targets Candy as a way to get to her father, she realizes Jonah might not be as trustworthy as he seems.
This has happened to me a lot lately:
engaged in book and characters
excited for the reveal
get to 10% left on my Kindle in particular book and realize “oh no, this can’t possibly be resolved in the allotted time”
realize I’m reading a series instead of a stand-alone novel…
Doxer leaves us with one intense cliff-hanger. The good news: according to Goodreads.com the next book, Sweet Liar, comes out in October! If this story appeals to you, it’s only $2.99 on Amazon.com.
Would I let my teen read this book?
Some people might think Like Candy idolizes revenge, and maybe Candy’s strengths do play a little heavily into her ability to manipulate and carry out pranks. However, Candy is emotionally dealing with so much in her life that, as the reader, it’s hard to trust her judgment. Overall, it’s a clever mystery and romance with themes of grief, love, sacrifice, and trust.
Also, expect the teens in this book to act like teens. There’s some language. The boys are full of sexual innuendos. There’s an unsupervised party with alcohol. Despite these things, the book felt relatively clean to me. If you don’t remember high school, than you might disagree, but compared to the real high school lunchroom, Like Candy is tame.
Age recommendation: 16
Language – mild
Drugs & Alcohol— Underage drinking at party
Sex – There’s some references to sex, like I said, boys with innuendos; Several kissing scenes
Violence – Candy’s father gets strangled; Candy fires a gun
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy Like Candy on Amazon.com for $2.99
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.