**Middle Grade Novel**
This novel was rather... unexpected. The bulk of this 453 page read is divided into four sections-one section each to retell the story from the main characters' POVs. It starts with Logan's POV. Logan is the candymaker's son and was the logical choice of narrator. The story opens on the first day of an annual candy-making contest where he meets three other contestants. It's not that this first section with Logan's POV is bad, not at all. But it reads like any old middle grade novel - cutesy, pleasant, nothing all that memorable. Kind of like an alternate version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Then you get to the second section.
In Miles' POV, the story takes a whole different feel on. You learn why he acts the way he acts when Logan is telling the story. He's witnessed something that left him feeling vulnerable and as a response, he's had to develop coping mechanisms. The reader also learns something HUGE about Logan that Logan never shared in the first section because it was never a big deal to him. The second section takes the book to a whole new level. I should mention that Miles also talks a lot about the "afterlife" and my son had a handful of questions concerning a couple of Miles' comments. The event he's witnessed is not at all graphic, but it does bring up the theme of what happens after death.
Third, we have Daisy's section. During the first several pages, my son asked if we were reading the same book. =) Her story line is more fantastical than the first two. Reading her narrative was fun and exciting. More things start to make sense from the first couple of sections.
But Philip's section. =) Both mine and my son's favorite. I have to say, I'm really glad I read this book. It's one I would have enjoyed even without reading it to my son. I just adored Philip's section. In the first three sections, you think you have a pretty good grasp on the character of everyone. But by the end of the novel, the reader is left with a resounding feeling that you should never judge someone else because you don't know what they're going through. It's a book about second chances and believing that people are primarily good if given the chance to show it.
I definitely recommend this book for middle grade readers. The candy factory setting may make it feel too young for older readers, but aside from the setting, I believe older audiences would also enjoy this novel. I did. =)