Bestselling Author Kim Wong Keltner Returns with a Dazzling, Humorous Coming-of-Age Novel Set in Adolescent Purgatory
"Wong Keltner is unabashedly sassy and biting... the result is both refreshing and smart." –Publishers WeeklyCandace Ong is fourteen and sick of being "a fat, fucking dork." She'd rather be the girl on the cover of Candy-O, her favorite album by the Cars. She'd rather be her best friend Ruby, who has perfect boobs and has already "Done It." She'd rather be anyone than "the eggroll girl," frying crab Rangoon and eggrolls at her parents' restaurant. A coming-of-age novel that's honest about the lives of teenagers, I Want Candy reads like an updated Judy Blume with a dash of Amy Tan. Bestselling author Kim Wong Keltner (The Dim Sum of All Things, Avon 2004) treats Candace's first, awkward sexual fumblings frankly and with laugh-out-loud humor. Her prose crackles like the Pop Rocks her heroine munches, and like Candace, we savor the sweet explosions. Stuck toiling away at the fryers of the Eggroll Wonderland after school and aimlessly wandering the streets of San Francisco, Candace hoards every penny and steals what she can. She keeps it all under her bed in a pink, plastic Barbie Corvette that she dreams of trading in for a real vintage red Mustang that she can drive into the desert. Between Ruby, who's been ditching her lately to hang out with boys, her mother, who’s “constantly extolling the virtues of perfectly fried eggrolls and an intact hymen,” and a seemingly-endless parade of street sleazies trying to get in her pants, Candace has to watch her back. Rock-and-roll reinvention seems as far away as David Bowie's Major Tom. But when a tragic accident turns Candace's world upside down, she decides it’s finally time to change from Candace Ong to sexy Candy-O: a hip, sweet-talking bohemian whose colorful arsenal of cusswords and encyclopedic grasp of Bowie lyrics may be the key to the new Candace. At turns honest and tender, Kim Wong Keltner writes with enough wit to smack the reader right back to the injustice of the eighth grade. Astutely capturing the paralysis that parents, bullies, and a foreboding adult world can have on the quest to find oneself, Keltner may be writing about the Chinese-American experience, but her themes appeal to anyone who’s ever wanted to be somebody else.