There is always someone who is stuck being picked on at an early age or being someone’s sidekick friend. They either have a sucky life at home or a sucky life at school. Although, it’s not everyone, the situation is still applicable to a selectable few. This book is exactly that if not a resemblance.
Written in first person narrative, I Want Candy by Kim Wong Keltner is a coming of age story taking place in 1983 San Francisco surrounding the life of Candace Ong who has worked with her parents at Eggroll Wonderland, a Chinese restaurant, for as far as she can remember.
Most of the book is Candace complaining about being the one with the sucky life while her “friend” Ruby, has sexcapades with W.P.O.D.s (“White Punks on Dope”). She does get a taste of what it’s like to have the wild life. And like any other adult, Candace makes a decision out of the climax of these experiences; making this an adult novel instead of the typical YA realistic fiction novel.
Of course, with the voice this novel is given, you would assume these are teenagers within the age range of 16-18. Surprisingly, it is not the case. Candace is 14 and in the eighth grade while her “friend” Ruby is the same. There is a dash of humor in certain chapters and a pinch of the supernatural. But don’t expect the perfect romance in this book because you really aren’t going to get it. However, there is a lesson just like there was in Jailbait by Leslea Newma (which is a YA novel): don’t take candy from strangers.