Cover Image: The Candy Mafia

The Candy Mafia

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Member Reviews

Thank you for the arc Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC, Peachtree Publishing Company and NetGalley.

Great illustrations. Easy to get into. Mystery was intriguing and fun to read to see how it would all unfold. Loved the throwback to aprohibition and thought it was a clever way to show/teach kids about prohibition; although some of the references may not completely resonate with a younger audience. Thought the violence and gun use wasn't completely necessary. Made sense for the feel of the book (mafia era) but not sure if it was for the right audience. Despite that, really enjoyed the story and would read more from the author.

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<u>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</u> meets film noir in this funny, clever crime novel for middle graders. Nelle Faulkner is a young detective trying to figure out what's going on in the newest crime conduit in her small city-the bootleg candy trade. With Prohibition making all candy and sweets illegal 3 years past, the kids of Nelle's town are getting restless and finding themselves in deep trouble when they start doing all they can to sneak candy into the city limits.

I honestly liked the premise of the novel and thought it had a quick paced start to it. Immediately the readers are thrown into the mystery and introduced to a number of characters. However, I thought the ending veered a little too adult was somewhat sudden. I had honestly been leaning towards 4 stars until the last 20 pages or so of this novel. Still, I think most upper elementary and middle grade students will get a kick out of this, as it's a fun and entertaining crime mystery.

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This was a great read! I loved all the characters, the mystery, and all the hidden candy. I really hope there are more to this series. I'd love to see what happens next, but I am curious to know what crimes Nelle is going to solve next.

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*Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC of this title, in exchange for an honest review.*

Nelle Faulker is a private detective. She even has her own office out in the shed behind the house. Her town had had its fair share of drama, thanks to the sugar prohibition that the mayor started. Now, if you wanted candy, you had to go looking.

Her newest case sounds easy enough - a missing teddy bear - except that it belongs to notorious kid candy-smuggler Eddie de Menthe. Nelle never wanted to get mixed up with the Candy Mafia - sure, she wasn't above the occasional chocolate, but she wasn't about to start working for them - except, she knew Eddie. They used to play in the sandbox together as kids. What could looking for an old teddy bear hurt?

When the case turns more complicated, involving all three smuggling dons, a couple of nosy police officers, and more confusion than she expected, Nelle starts to regret taking the case - but she's in things like bubble gum in someone's hair. It's too late to pull out now.

Reader's Notes: A very cute kid-friendly version of a hard-boiled detective story, though I'm sure the references will be way over the heads of most kids reading it.

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3.5 stars - Good+
A fun premise to this one - Noir detective tropes with a candy prohibition/mafia setting. There are some good twists to the mystery here. I felt like the characters could have been developed a little more and maybe a stronger motive for the villain.

I loved the hints at how much of their childhood the kids had lost because of prohibition and their smuggling. I would have loved to have seen that teased out more.

I think this would make for a fun read-aloud!

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Nelle is a 12-year-old private detective working from her mother's garden shed and in desperate need of a new case when Eddie de Menthe (notorious candy smuggler) seeks out her services to find a lost teddy bear. When it turns out that the teddy bear may belong to the owner of the closed candy factory (a Prohibition on candy caused the factory to shutter its doors), the case begins to get very interesting.

There is a slow burn in the beginning that leads to some fun and intense action sequences at the end. I love stories where there is a villain, and the villains here are definitely bad and threatening and the mystery has a quite a few red herrings, which will definitely be interesting to mystery readers. Unfortunately, the language and setting are a throwback to old film noir / hardboiled detective stories, and unless you have that as a frame of reference (something that I know many of my students will not have), it just feels weird and disengaging to read. Will not be purchasing at this time.

**Thank you to Netgalley and Peachtree for a digital copy. All opinions are my own.

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Unique mystery story that was a lot of fun. I didn't like the unnecessary violence and gun added to the story though.

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This is a fun middle grade story with young characters and a plot about candy being illegal. I'm not sure that kids will really get what a mafia is, but they will get how candy is truly important. There is quite a bit of bullying, both from children and from adults, so I would offer it to more mature readers as an option. A huge theme seems to be that none of these children (or adults) are really good at making friends. I would spend some time with that if I was sharing with children. Cute pictures.

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I received an electronic ARC from Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC through NetGalley.
An interesting take on gumshoe detective novels for the middle grade level. Nelle is a twelve year old detective who solve small issues for other kids. A friend asks her to find a missing teddy bear. This launches her into the middle of the candy turf wars in her city. As she digs deeper to solve her case, the issue continues to get larger. She winds up in the middle of the turf war for selling illegal candy (Mayor banned all sweets) and comes up against adults who are part of a bootlegging operation to bring candy in to the city.
Terrific book to use to introduce Prohibition in the United States. The setting, characters are all similar to what happened during that time in US history. I appreciated this story as an adult but am not sure middle grade readers will. Readers should see the humor and the heavy undertones that play out.
Trigger: Gun use

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A great kids book. This book was fun for both my fourth and first grader. We read this as a bedtime read aloud. They both were interested and engaged. I've never seen any work by the author or illustrator, but will definitely watch for more.

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I've read my share of kids mysteries, ranging from lost objects to actual crimes, but this may be the first I've encountered with organized crime (Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew aside). And that's not the only thing that sets this book apart from the pack. The biggest difference is the tone. Tidhar has really captured the feel of the noir story. Nelle aims to be a traditional hard boiled detective, so her approach to investigation mimics the classic Sam Spade style. The whole book follows that standard format, the characters all extreme versions of their assorted types. Following a pattern means that the plot is fairly predictable but that's not too much of a problem. There's a large cast of characters and plenty going on to keep the plot moving. A fun little read.

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It's certainly original... but not quite my cup of tea. There was some real violence, including gun play, as well as bullying and plot holes (in what kind of town do people vote to shut down their largest employer?). But it has candy gangs and teddy bears and some kids are, I'm sure, really going to go for it. Main character presents as white but other characters are portrayed as BIPOC.

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This was such a cute little mystery. I really enjoyed that Nelle was a PI for her little town and she was investigating a missing teddy bear and how there was a mystery on top of that. The whole idea of a candy bootlegging thing going on and that there was a turf war between three kids.

I loved this little story and think it is definitely worth the read. I think middlegrade readers will love it.

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This is a really cute detective MG story, with a bit of an old fashioned feel that I think parents will love and kids will find new and different (and fun!) Candy is illegal and we have a cute group of candy smuggling mafia, and missing teddies, too! I love how this story is unique, and it’s great for MG readers who love a bit of mystery. The black and white pictures throughout add a great touch too. I’d definitely recommend this.

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What a fun detective book for those MG readers! Mafia and candy and smuggling and missing teddies? It read like an old fashioned detective story, complete with a trench coat! The mystery is totally aimed for kids! It also has a great message hidden within the mystery! Would be great for those kids who love some mystery in their reads! Recommend for all (there's also some sneaky funny bits).

(Will blog closer to pub date)

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This is a unique middle-grade mystery set in a universe in which candy is illegal and rival candy gangs are competing for territory in the underground distribution business. I enjoyed following the story through Nelle Faulkner, a twelve-year-old "gumshoe" detective, and the noir-esque setting and dialogue made this a fun read. The side characters are also fleshed out well, and there's some diversity evident in the illustrations.

What gives me pause is the fact that there's a lot more violence in this book than I was expecting (including a scene of an adult with a gun). The ending is also unsatisfying, playing on the recurring theme of "life isn't always fair."

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This book is the absolute most fun MG! I read it so quickly, not just because it's MG length but because it was so entertaining! I did not want to stop reading until the case was solved! I highly recommend this one. I think it would be a great one for kids to read themselves, or to read together with an adult! Everyone can enjoy this book.

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I'm about to say something kinda crazy.....

This middle grade gem may in fact, be more enjoyable to adults than young readers.

I said it and I meant it.

It's like when you go back and watch all of your favorite animated movies from childhood, and you realize you are suddenly old enough to catch all of the cheeky jokes you never knew existed. This entire book was a play on the alcohol prohibition of the 1920's and it was ripe with double entendre for the savvy reader's enjoyment.

I laughed at so many lines that weren't even actual jokes. It was like reading a book made up entirely of inside jokes. And really, who doesn't enjoy being on the 'in' side of an inside joke....

So yes, the story was all about kids saving the day Codename: Kids Next Door style and what young reader wouldn't have a blast with that? But this book also "ages" very well.

Thank you Netgalley and Peachtree Publishing for the opportunity to read this book before its US release.

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Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of "The Candy Mafia." This was an entertaining detective/mystery genre for kids entering into the realm of chapter books! Fast-paced storyline and plenty of illustrations to keep things interesting for the more reluctant reader. Would be a great series!

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A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Peachtree Publishing for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of “The Candy Mafia” for my review.

I always love reading something completing new in the middle grade genre. Being a fan of old film noir movies, I simply loved reading this book. The author plotted and paced the story very well. What starts off as the mystery of a missing bear soon leads to a bigger conspiracy that Nelle wouldn’t have imagined. I read quite a few mysteries and even I couldn’t figure out where the story was heading. I loved the reveal in the end as to what happened to Mr. Farnsworth and how everything fit together.

Moreover, Nelle is great as the private detective. She is willing to solve the case and will stop at nothing in the process. I also liked the supporting characters, Waffles, Sweetcakes, and even Bobbie. The villains were also well written, where they are menacing and scary, but also a bit ridiculous at times.

The only downside to the story was the way it ends. I am not going to give away the ending, but I wished things had turned out better. Honestly, I expected a happier ending. However, I was glad that the ending felt realistic. Also, some of the themes, particularly with the violence, felt too mature to be mentioned for younger readers.

However, apart from that I loved everything about this story. The author wrote the story very well and you actually feel like you are watching an old film noir movie. Moreover, the illustration by Daniel Duncan are amazing and brings the book to life in a new way. Overall, I personally enjoyed reading “The Candy Mafia” and hope it turns out to be the beginning of a series.

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