BOOK REVIEWS

The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-25 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 54 user ratings
ISBN:0316089184
LANGUAGE:English

"These books are so fun! I read them for my own enjoyment. I think these will be good for my kids to read in middle school.

They deal with issues such as being a friend, working together, lies vs. truth, helping people...and chocolate, mysteries, and spies.

Some characters have an unsavory habit of lying, but I like how they are portrayed as instinctively knowing it wasn't right. There is a great variety of family dynamics, and I love how the main character's good relationship with his parents, and his habit of honesty, is portrayed so favorably. I like that there is a subtle theme of redemption at the end.

There was intrigue, and a somewhat unbelievable situation where the kids wound up having all sorts of adventures without their parents' knowledge on this seemingly endless road trip with all sorts of impulse rabbit trails, while a teenaged spy was their chaperone and made them brush their teeth regularly. I absorbed the improbability of this without it damaging my enjoyment of the story. Truly, I had to find out how all the little mysteries and loose ends got tied up neatly at the end, and then find that on the last page, there is a dangling segue to the possibility of another book in the series. I hope so!

Note, the language was clean and free of swearing. There were a few instances of some mildly crude phrasing that I would not be pleased to hear in our home (for example, "pissed off" and impolite references to bodily waste) but otherwise the main things I'd be concerned about would be the lying and cheating of some of the characters, as well as a theft that went unaddressed. I was pleased to find that several of the characters came clean by the end and told all to their parents...mostly all, anyway.

I liked that, for the most part, the kids respected their elders and valued their older and elderly friends. There were strong ties to family and a desire to have strong family ties in those that didn't. Characters who lied regularly expressed weariness of lying and were relieved whenever they told the truth. The kids that were accustomed to being honest strongly disliked when anything felt deceitful (this didn't always stop them from doing what they were doing, and mainly carried through because of the pressure of feeling like there was no other way) and I think this would be a good discussion point about conscience and making choices that reflect honesty rather than deceit.
" said.

"In the last book, Philip, with the help of Logan, Miles, and Daisy, created the contest-winning Harmonicandy bar, that actually plays music. Now it's time to start production, so the friends gather for the celebration, though they all bring their own baggage. Ambitious Philip hears from his older brother that they might have a grandmother he never knew about--and he's worried about some of his lies coming to light. Scientific Miles figures out that his father--who, like him, is Asian--got his O'Leary surname and Irish parents because he was adopted. Spy Daisy wonders if her 18 year old mission partner is actually her brother. Logan, whose father is the Candymaker, is the one who sends them on their latest quest when he tastes the new Harmonicandy and his super-sensitive tastebuds know that there's something missing--there was some ingredient they used before that isn't there now, and that will disqualify the candy from its contest win--and Philip had great plans for the profits. Then Logan gets a box of old documents from a mysterious source, with information about his grandfather Sweet, who started the factory. Miles discovers an old map and a partially-burned contract in which four people--including Logan's grandfather--swear never to tell where they found...something. Soon all four kids, driven by AJ in a tricked-out superspy RV, are on the road in search of the missing ingredient...as well as clues about themselves and their families.

I loved the first book in this series, and think this one, while I really enjoyed it, isn't quite as tight. There are some really obvious plot contrivances--Like Logan picking up an odd stick for a manufactured reason--that show the plot wheels turning. The book is massively long, and a lot of it is just the characters meandering from episode to episode as the plot slowly unfolds. Now, I love me a meandering plot if the characters and world are well-built, which this is, but most kids will probably want more adventure and a faster pace. The stakes here are also pretty low. Philip might lose the revenue from the candy, some characters' health problems might worsen a bit, but that's really it. Personally, that's my kind of book--and I love a book in which kids are just friends and don't have drama between them--but again, readers might want higher stakes. I loved the description and imagination, and the longing for family is pretty potent, so I enjoyed it at lot. I just wouldn't recommend it to kids who want action adventure and high stakes. It's more of an episodic mystery/friends story.
" said.

" I want more about Daisy's story.http://pussreboots.com/blog/2017/comm... " said.

" Terrific sequel! Full review here: https://sarahsbookjournal.wordpress.c... " said.

" The Candymakers is one of my absolute favorites by Wendy Mass, so when I was searching for books at the library, I saw this and immediately grabbed it! This book was one of my all time favorite reads! After the big success of the harmonicandy, Logan, Philip, Miles, and Daisy all have different challenges and problems. As Wendy Mass takes you through each characters perspectives you learn so much and get to know each of them even better! I definitely give this book a 5 out of 5! " said.

"I received an e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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I haven't managed to make it all the way through a children's book in a while, but this one?! Wow! I mean, what's not to like? Chocolate, young spies, adventure, mystery... If I could have kept my eyes open longer at night this would have been finished much faster, but alas - life gets in the way.

This was a VERY well-written story. I am planning to go back and read the first book in the series as soon as I have a chance - I hadn't read it yet so you do not need to have read the first book to enjoy the second. This plot is reminiscent of a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy adventure.

I love how the story is told from varying points of view so that you get a more well-rounded idea of the details, and the verbiage is very detailed letting your imagination paint a vivid picture as you read. I would strongly recommend this series to any fans of the aforementioned series as well as any youngster with an imagination. ;)
" said.

" Even though I really enjoyed this book, I personally liked the first book better. There were also a lot of little references to the other books that Wendy Mass has made, like Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, A Mango-Shaped Space, and the Willow Falls series. Seeing these references made the book a little more fun to read. " said.

" I really liked this book! It was a great summer read and I found that I could not put it down. This was a great sequel. " said.

July 2018 New Book:

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