When Candy is literally stolen from her snooty New England boarding school, she knows something the kidnappers don’t: her rock-star dad is not going to ransom her.
The white teen’s mother’s been dead for years, but her father, aging rock star Wade Rex, never stepped in to fill the void, instead first fobbing her off on her emotionally distant grandmother and then dumping her in boarding school. So rather than trying to escape her kidnappers, Candy allies with them. From the outset, Candy’s appallingly privileged narration grates. Despite her “poor little rich girl” back story, she fails to ingratiate herself with readers. She is terrified of black kidnapper Jamal, scarred and with “half-dead” eyes, but she finds herself increasingly drawn to white Levon, of the luminous green eyes, soft hands, and “creamy and smooth” skin. The situation is also wildly implausible, starting with Candy’s ability to get her HD mini handheld camera out of her back pocket and use it unnoticed while wearing a ski mask on backwards and with her hands taped. Candy and Levon easily become partners in the deal when Jamal departs after an unlikely confrontation. Levon has reasons for his actions that Candy thinks are valid, and she has no fondness for—really, only one happy memory of—her father. For readers who can get past Candy’s unpleasant self-presentation and the narrative’s equally unpleasant stereotyping and who are interested in escapism, this will do the trick. Right down to the last scene readers will find enough implied steaminess, threatening violence, and sob stories to make pulses race.
Just don’t think. (Thriller. 14-18)