From the blurb, I expected to read a story of a girl trained covertly by her father to stand up for herself and right wrongs. Instead, what we have is a very amoral and pathological girl with no spy/assassin training at all. She’s quite normal other than greatly enjoying vicious revenge on those she has perceived to wrong her. In other words, an unrepentant bully and pretty much unpleasant person who we are supposed to inexplicably ‘root for’ as she does her evil deeds. I assume she’s going to go through a story arc that allows her to grow above being a sociopath in future volumes – but I’m not really interested in going there after book one.
Story: The death of her mother and sketchy ‘job’ of her father caused her aunt to take guardianship of Candy when she was young. Now 18, Candy decides to leave her Aunt and return to her father. As payback to her cousin that didn’t like her, she planted drugs so the girl would go to Juvie. Her ex boyfriend who cheated on her? She destroyed his car. Now with her father, who she knows is some kind of mercenary killer for hire, she has to deal with a new school and new people to revenge upon. And a new boy to crush on, Jonah, who inexplicably finds her viciousness cute. Unfortunately, her father’s past is catching up on him and she’s going to be in the line of sights.
I did have some problems with Like Candy. For one, revenge fulfillment might be the fantasy of every girl who has been wronged but there are never any consequences when Candy does it. That lack of reality set my teeth on edge as I read her path of destruction through two towns. We get scene after scene of her smug happiness over her deeds as she confronts her victims afterwards.
But even more mystifying is the attraction of Jonah – cute football guy (whose reasons for being mysterious and aloof are fairly obvious from the beginning) – to Candy. She’s completely fake to everyone, often mean, yet supposedly he sees the ‘real’ girl underneath. I didn’t buy it – he has un upstanding personality and despises the other mean girls who hit on him – so why are they any less damaged underneath or interesting to him? Makes no sense – especially when the ending comes and the (expected) surprise about him drops.
Very little of the book features any kind of action – it’s all about revenge after revenge and then mooning over Jonah. I was expecting all kinds of kick butt and taking names – but none were to be found. Candy has no training as an assassin/mercenary from her father (who has tried to hide it from her). So for all intents and purposes, she really isn’t kick butt. She’s just mean and vicious. A toxic cloud of unhappy, poisoning all around her.
I would have liked this much better if Jonah disliked her fer the sociopath she is – and perhaps grew to like her as she grew above her anger. It would have made for a more interesting story and one I could invest in. But Jonah thinking she’s cute and getting all hot and bothered over her lost whatever respect I could have in the guy. If he’s that stupid, he deserves her, I guess. I don’t want to read about stupid guys.
I think for me it was that the blurb promised someone who could take care of herself and that clearly wasn’t the case. Candy is pretty helpless when she isn’t plotting something evil. So I guess we’d have to read a lot of scenes of her being saved by Jonah in the next book. But this ‘mean girls’ didn’t have enough of a heart at the center for me to continue. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.