Keywords: fiction, light reading, slice of life, female protagonist, friendship, family, comedy, growing up, illustrations, stand-alone book, recommended by a friend.
This book was recommended to me by one of my closest friends: Maple! When I asked her for books that she loved as a child, Candyfloss was the first one she suggested. She said she loved it for its interesting story and cute illustrations. I agree! This might be a bit of a long review. (There are just so many things to talk about!)
The first thing you’ll probably notice about this book is the extremely pretty front cover. I mean, look at it! How often do you come across a book cover of this quality? In fact, it’s so pretty, it deserves to be in the centre of the page:
Now that we’ve basked in the glow of the front cover, let’s talk about the story itself!
Candyfloss tells the tale of Flora Barnes, a 12-year-old girl who likes to be called ‘Floss’. Her family is a bit all over the place; Floss’s mother has remarried to a flashy guy and has had a son with him (‘Tiger’). They live fairly comfortably. On the other hand, Floss’s father owns a struggling cafe with a specialty in chips and chip butties. (Chip butties are basically chip sandwiches!) Floss is able to spend every weekend with her father but has to live with her mother and her new husband for the rest of each week. Floss highly prefers to be with her father, as he gives her all the love and attention that her mother doesn’t seem to provide.
So, when Floss’s mother and new family move to Sydney, Australia for six months, Floss has to make a decision: should she move with her mother or stay with her father?
While all of this is happening, Floss also needs to deal with her so-called ‘best friend’ Rhiannon. I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say that Rhiannon is, um, not a good friend. You’ll see what I mean.
Poor Floss! The entire book is such a rollercoaster for her. So many things change in her life that you cannot stop reading! Every chapter is engaging and filled with life. The dialogue and behaviour of every character is realistic. (That’s surprisingly uncommon in books!)
One of the best things about this book is the illustrations. Before every chapter there’s a page of drawings. Each drawing represents something that will happen in the chapter. It’s fun to look through each illustration and try to guess what’s going to happen next!
The best best thing is the relatability. I have read many books meant for children and teenagers. One of the most annoying habits of these books is that sometimes, the characters don’t act realistically! They’re either too nice or too evil with no complexity. What I love love love about Floss is that everything she does makes sense. She doesn’t always like what’s happening around her, yet she acts as kindly as possible. She shows the most kindness to her father. She knows exactly how sad he is and how much he fears failure. Because of this, she pretends to like everything he does even if it doesn’t go quite so well. Here’s an example:
“Oh, there’s your swing. How…lovely.” Rhiannon said.
“I know it’s not lovely,” I whispered. “But Dad’s fixed it all up for me especially.”
“Sure. OK. I understand,” said Rhiannon. She raised her voice so that Dad could hear in the kitchen. “Oh, Floss, your swing looks great hanging on the apple tree.”
Do you see what I mean? It’s genuinely relatable!
One last thing: Candyfloss teaches you a lot of British words. Of course, they speak English in England, but they have some slang words that we don’t have in Australia. For example, I didn’t know what ‘Candyfloss’ meant until I read the book. Apparently, it’s the British word for fairy floss! I suppose ‘candyfloss’ makes a bit more sense, but I still prefer ‘fairy floss’ 🙂
Because of its easy-to-read writing style and relatability, Jun and Jenny recommend this book!