Most people think The Zone is an amusement park, but Candy Thompson knows it’s really a slave labor camp. What else would you call a summer job that requires a sixteen-year-old girl to set aside her whole social life for the privilege of standing out in the hot sun selling cotton candy? Still, there are perks—particularly the mysterious hunk in the Lone Ranger costume. Behind that mask are the most amazing eyes Candy has ever seen. Who is that masked man? But someone else is just as interested. And romantic competition isn’t the only problem. Besides being hard work, The Zone is eating up major time. How is Candy supposed to stay involved in church? Worse yet, will she lose her best friend, Tamara, who resents how Candy’s job limits their time together? This is NOT the summer Candy hoped for! But as she is about to discover, the summer of cotton candy will be the greatest summer of her life.
I was a little torn between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. One moment I pick 3 stars, and the next I feel it could almost be a 4. Here’s my initial thoughts when picking my rating:
- The idea was cute. Girl gets her first job and deals with the crazy ups and downs that come with it. It’s relatable.
- It’s kind of shallow at times? Huge conflicts that last 1/4, 1/2 the book are resolved with a simple conversation towards the end…sort of anticlimactic in that regard.
- One of the listed genres is romance, yet I wasn’t feeling it.
- It didn’t follow the cliche “I date one guy then I date this other guy you didn’t expect but probably should have”…and I can’t decide if I like that or not.
- The dialogue is cheesy at times, as if the characters are taking the role of narrator and monologue-ing to each other.
- Details are over explained! I didn’t need to know about every section in the entire amusement park…just tell me as I need to know.
- I found myself rooting for Candy. I wanted her to succeed.
Are any of these deal-breakers? No, not most of them. But some of them do break the flow for a reader, which makes me lower the star rating. I don’t think the reader should need to stop and say “Isn’t this a little cheesy?” or “Why am I reading about this section?”
The Summer of Cotton Candy is a nice summer read. The plot and writing can use a little work, but overall was solid. If you’re looking for a light read, this book is the one for you. With it’s easy storyline and only 225 pages on the Kindle, you can easily read it in an afternoon. I’m looking forward to reading the next book and seeing what is in story for Candy and the rest of The Zone gang.