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The Candy Darlings

Review

The Candy Darlings

Imagine being part of the popular crowd one day and an outcast the next. Imagine meeting a girl who eats nothing but candy. Imagine that girl, Megan Chalmers, becomes your new friend because you're both outcasts.

These are all components to Christine Walde's first novel, THE CANDY DARLINGS. A girl and her father move after her mother dies, and she begins attending a private school, where Meredith, Angela and Laura (MAL) rule the class. Megan is also new, and she immediately latches on to the new girl as someone who can see through MAL's façade to the meanness inside (hence the acronym Megan comes up with --- MAL, a prefix meaning "evil").

Megan and the main character (who remains nameless) forge an interesting friendship. Megan eats candy constantly, always urging her new friend (who is then given the nickname "Dead Girl" by MAL) to have some as well. But Dead Girl won't; she vowed not to when her mother died. Megan also tells candy stories, both to entertain and to answer the questions about her life that she won't respond to straight out. They're bizarre stories, and Dead Girl isn't sure what to make of them.

Eventually, MAL gets meaner, Blake Starfield (the weird boy in class) becomes crazier and Megan begins to disappear for days at a time. The main character's father just won't understand, and she starts eating candy again as a means of coping.

Christine Walde mixes fantasy with realism using Megan's stories, and even the reader can't be entirely sure which parts are true and which aren't. She makes up a fairy tale for an older character in the hospital to read to the girls and adds just a bit of romance without contriving things.

Those prepared to handle some of the big issues that arise will enjoy the book for its fresh take on teen literature. This is not just another Gossip Girl wannabe, and even calling it "Mean Girls" on paper isn't doing the lyrical prose and unique construction enough justice. THE CANDY DARLINGS is definitely worth a look.

Reviewed by Hannah Gomez on September 4, 2006

The Candy Darlings
by Christine Walde

  • Publication Date: September 4, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia
  • ISBN-10: 0618589694
  • ISBN-13: 9780618589692