With cute illustrations by Nick Sharratt!
Flora Barnes (a very likeable preteen nicknamed "Floss" because her fluffy blonde curls are like candyfloss/cotton candy) has two homes - the best of two worlds, really. During the school week she lives with her mum, stepfather Steve, and half brother Tiger. Floss is very close to her very dependable mum. Floss is also very close to her fun and very loving dad. She spends every weekend with him at his cafe. When her mum and stepfather decide to move to Australia for six months, Floss decides to stay in England with her dad. She can't stand the thought of not seeing him for six months, and her dad needs her. Mum has Steve and Tiger. Dad only has her and his failing cafe. Floss soon discovers that living with her dad isn't easy. They face one disaster after another: awkward home life, bankruptcy, eviction, homelessness, and physical danger!
Floss is also having problems with her best friend Rhiannon. Rhiannon is the most popular girl in school. She is also the meanest and is increasingly disloyal to Floss. Floss wants to stay best friends with Rhiannon and be friends with the new girl Susan, but Susan always gets picked on by Rhiannon for being nerdy.
Candyfloss is a fun read (though sometimes I found it a slow read) about growing up. It also has plenty of depth from its exploration of family and friendship. This novel made me truly feel Floss' relationships with her family and friends. Jacqueline Wilson (the 2005-2007 British Children's Laureate) subtly led me right into the heart of a girl who loves her parents very much and wishes they hadn't gotten divorced.
Reading Candyfloss brought back the girl that I was and brought out the girl still inside me. I remembered the days when figuratively and literally my worst nightmare was being separated from my mommy. I still tear up at the thought of losing her. And I remembered the days when I thought my daddy was perfect. I was his princess, and I will always be "Daddy's little girl." Candyfloss reminded me of the value of my relationship with my parents and the value of my relationships with girl friends.
Another great thing about the book: I enjoyed learning a bit of British English! Traditionally, when a British book is published in the U.S., the vocabulary is changed. The American edition of Candyfloss (which is what I have) kept all the British vocabulary and even includes a little "British English guide" - Floss' Gloss!
Click here to read the book review that made me march right out to buy Candyfloss. If you're a girl, or "still a girl at heart," you should read Candyfloss too. :oP
Now I will really go on my blacation. ;o)