by Brooks, Kevin

After falling deeply in love with a desperate, drug-taking girl named Candy, Joe's life begins to fall apart as Candy's mind games make an impact, yet Joe is unwilling to see his dreams of music die and so must find a way to get control back for himself while saving Candy from her self-destructive ways in the process. Reissue.

Kevin Brooks is the groundbreaking author of the internationally acclaimed novels DAWN; BLACK RABBIT SUMMER; BEING; THE ROAD OF THE DEAD, a Mystery Writers of America "Edgar" nominee; CANDY; KISSING THE RAIN; LUCAS; and MARTYN PIG, which received England's Branford Boase Award for Best First Novel. Brooks lives in Yorkshire, England.

Gr. 9-12. Brooks' fourth novel, another provocative, suspenseful work that thrusts an average teen into an intense situation, invites inevitable comparisons with the film Traffic. When Candy, a girl "with the kind of smile that rips a hole in your heart," speaks to suburban teenager Joe outside a London train station, he falls hard but senses something amiss: her pupils are "like pinpricks." She cowers when a rough-looking black guy cuts their conversation short. Candy, it turns out, has a candyman, a pimp who provides the pretty addict with heroin. Joe gets involved (he can't help it; "[he's] hooked"), nursing Candy through cold-turkey detox and sinking into a seedy quagmire of danger and desperate violence. Joe's alternately love-drunk and rueful voice will keep readers engrossed; less easy to accept are Brooks' formulaic plotting, occasionally deliberate symbolism (Joe's future brother-in-law, a smart, compassionate black man, seems present solely to counterbalance Candy's terrifying pimp), and limp ending. But the questions that flicker across Joe's consciousness will speak powerfully to the YA audience, and the story plays skillfully to teens' curiosity about the mechanics of addiction and its manic, lurid subculture. ((Reviewed February 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

A gripping, fast-moving love story set in a dangerous underworld. Joe meets Candy on the streets of London and is instantly, painfully smitten. He buys her a doughnut at McDonald's and becomes embroiled in a confrontation with a mammoth, terrifying man-Iggy, Candy's all-controlling pimp. Candy's hooked on heroin, but Joe and Candy begin a delicate and electric relationship anyway. Joe's confused entrancement by Candy shimmers under Brooks's deft hand. He's addicted to her almost like she is to heroin. When Iggy catches up with them, they may be murdered-or the victim could be Joe's sister, who's been taken hostage by Iggy. Candy goes cold-turkey off drugs in Joe's country cottage; the violent dénouement offers real suspense. Only a disturbing association between scariness and black skin mars Brooks's narrative, not simply because Iggy is black but because it's mentioned over and over again. Otherwise, this is a psychological page-turner adeptly capturing love's hypnotic feel. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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