The Spring of Candy Apples (Sweet Seasons Series #4)

( 14 )

Overview

They’re fun! They’re quirky! They’re Sweet Seasons—unlike any other girls’ books you’ve ever read. You could call them alternative, God-honoring chick lit. Join Candy Thompson on a sweet, lighthearted, and honest romp through the friendships, romances, family, school, faith, and values that make a girl’s lie as full as it can be.

It’s the end of Candace’s senior year, and life’s getting sticky.

A promotion to The Zone’s Candy Counter means ...

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The Spring of Candy Apples

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Overview

They’re fun! They’re quirky! They’re Sweet Seasons—unlike any other girls’ books you’ve ever read. You could call them alternative, God-honoring chick lit. Join Candy Thompson on a sweet, lighthearted, and honest romp through the friendships, romances, family, school, faith, and values that make a girl’s lie as full as it can be.

It’s the end of Candace’s senior year, and life’s getting sticky.

A promotion to The Zone’s Candy Counter means Candace gets to create gooey treats all day long. She is a finalist for The Zone’s college scholarship (Florida anyone?), things with Kurt are getting really weird, and she’s bothered by all the questions about her future. Not unlike the challenge of making candy apples, Candace struggles to resist getting stuck and believe in what is truly at her core.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310717539
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Series: Sweet Seasons Series, #4
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 694,802
  • Age range: 13 - 16 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Viguié has been writing for most of her life and holds a degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis. Debbie loves theme parks and has worked at both Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland in California. When Debbie is not busy writing she enjoys traveling with her husband Scott. Debbie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Hawaii.

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Read an Excerpt

The Spring of Candy Apples

A Sweet Seasons Novel
By Debbie Viguié

Zondervan

Copyright © 2009 Debbie Viguié
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-71753-9


Chapter One

Candace wondered how every couple of months she managed to wind up seated across the desk from a Zone executive. Only this time it wasn't Lloyd Peterson, the hiring manager, it was John Hanson, owner of the theme park himself. Nor was this a small office among many in the building she had gotten almost used to visiting. This office was huge. Trophies from John Hanson's football days glistened from various alcoves around the room. His desk was the size of her bed at home. It was as though everything in the office had to be enlarged to fit his larger-than-life personality.

Just breathe, she reminded herself. She let out the air she had been holding in her lungs and tried very hard not to squirm in her seat. He was smiling and friendly, but there was so much more at stake this time than a part-time, seasonal job.

"So, Candace, as one of the five finalists for The Zone GameMaster scholarship, you must be pretty excited," he said.

Excited. Bewildered. Nervous. So many to choose from. Excited because the winner got a full scholarship to a college in Florida. Bewildered because she still couldn't believe her Balloon Races doodle could be taken seriously as a potential ride by anyone. Nervous because she didn't want to blow it.

With a start, Candace realized that she had been staring into space. "Yes, I'm very excited ... and pretty nervous," she stammered.

"Just try to relax," he urged.

"I'll try."

"Now, as you know, there are many stages in the competition, and you've passed them all to get this far. During the first stage, contestants who don't meet the qualifications are weeded out. Next, the Game Masters take a look at the attraction concepts for viability. Then they announce the top twenty candidates."

Candace remembered how shocked she had been at that announcement. She didn't even know she was a contestant. Over the summer, she doodled her Balloon Races idea on a napkin. She had been about to throw it away but gave it to Josh instead, and he had secretly entered it in the scholarship competition. Now it was nearly March and she was a finalist. She was upset at Josh at first, but if she won, she'd have to get him an awesome thank-you present.

"At that point," continued Mr. Hanson, "we announce the candidates and give everyone who works for The Zone a chance to submit a recommendation for a candidate. Now, this isn't some sort of popularity vote. A recommendation is a serious thing. The person filling it out has to take the time to submit a ten-page form evaluating the candidate's strengths and telling the search committee exactly why they believe that person should have the position. Based on the strength and numbers of those recommendations, the group of twenty is narrowed to five."

"Wow! I can't believe enough people took the time to recommend me," Candace said.

"Several people here think quite highly of you. You had enough recommendations to just beat out a young gentleman for the fifth spot."

"So, I'm here because I had one more recommendation?"

"Essentially, yes. It's policy that we don't allow contestants to see their recommendations. However, since you are in the top five, I can tell you the people who recommended you."

Candace suddenly realized her heart was in her throat. This somehow made her more nervous than the interview itself. It was a reflection of what people thought of her and how they had chosen to support her. She found herself holding her breath again as she waited for the names.

"You had nine recommendations. You received recommendations from your supervisor, Martha; Kowabunga referee Josh; Muffin Mansion's Becca and Gib; Sue from janitorial; Roger from the Dug Out; and Pete, the train operator."

None of those came as a great surprise, but Candace was touched and flattered that they all spent the time and effort on her. She made a mental note to thank them all later.

"You received the eighth one from Rose in the nurse's office."

Candace smiled. It seemed like every few months she ended up there after some kind of catastrophe. It was nice to know she had managed to make some kind of positive impression. That had to mean the final recommendation that had put her over the top was from her boyfriend, Kurt. She felt a warm glow as she thought about the special thank-you kiss she'd have to give him.

"And the last one was from Lisa in food carts."

Candace sat stunned for a minute. It wasn't Kurt, but Lisa, the girl who hated her? "Are you sure about that?" she burst out.

John looked surprised. "Yes. Why?"

"Nothing," Candace mumbled, dropping her eyes.

The owner of the park chuckled. "Sometimes it's a surprise when we discover who notices us."

She nodded.

"And so, here you are, one of the final five contestants."

"What happens from here?" Candace asked.

"This is it. I stay out of the selection process until the very end. Now I interview the five candidates and choose the winner."

Candace had suspected that might be the case, but actually knowing made her start to sweat even more.

"You've been doing seasonal work for us, is that right?"

"Yes."

"You know, I think it's time to upgrade you. How would you like to work part-time at the Candy Counter?"

"In the Home Stretch?" she asked.

"That's the one."

"That would be great," she said, not sure what else to say at the moment. She hadn't really had a chance to think about working during the spring. There was a part of her that was instantly excited, though. Working at the Candy Counter meant she wouldn't be working at a food cart.

"So, shall we begin the interview?" he asked, the smile leaving his face.

She nodded mutely.

* * *

When Candace finally left the interview, she was shaking. She had done her best, but it had been very intimidating knowing that her answers could change a lot of things for her. Not quite ready to go home, she headed into the theme park to track down a couple of her friends.

The Zone was one of the biggest, coolest theme parks in Southern California. It was separated into several different areas, called zones, such as the Exploration Zone where she headed first. All the terminology of the park was geared toward sports and competition. Workers were called referees; costumed characters were called mascots; and customers were called players. On field referenced areas inside the park, while off field included the areas behind the scenes where players couldn't go. The goal of the park was to entertain, educate, and inspire healthy competition in every area of life.

Candace had visited the park often as a child, but she hadn't truly fallen in love with it until the summer before when she had gotten her first job working as a cotton candy operator. She had made a lot of good friends in the park, and as she approached the Muffin Mansion she couldn't help but smile at the thought of one of them in particular.

There were no customers inside the Muffin Mansion, and Candace made a beeline for Becca who was operating the cash register. Candace jumped up so she was sitting on the counter, leaned over, and gave Becca a big hug.

"What was that for?" Becca asked.

"For recommending me. I've got a hug for Gib too. Is he here?"

"He should be back from break in a minute."

"I'll wait."

"So, how did the interview go?" Becca asked.

"I'm not sure. I'm pretty nervous about it," Candace confessed.

"Everyone probably felt that way."

"I don't know. I'm still not even sure how I got this far in the competition."

"Are you kidding? Balloon Races looks awesome." "How do you know?"

Becca smiled. "Josh has been showing a copy of your drawing to everyone." Candace rolled her eyes. "Great. One more thing I've gotta kill him for."

"Hey, go easy on the guy. If you get that scholarship, you'll owe him big time for entering you."

"Yeah, I know," Candace admitted.

"What's wrong? You've got frowny face," Becca said.

"Kurt didn't recommend me for the competition," Candace admitted.

"Ouch," Becca said, wincing.

"And Lisa did. Isn't that weird?"

"Definitely freaky."

"My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks," Candace said, changing the subject.

"Happy early birthday," Becca said.

"I'm thinking of having a slumber party a week from Friday, and I wanted to know if you would come."

"I'll be there!" Becca said.

"Cool."

"How many people are coming?"

"I'm not sure yet. You're the first one I've officially invited."

"Let me guess. You figured that it would be a party even if I was the only other person there?" Becca teased.

Candace laughed. "No sugar for you."

"You're cruel."

Kind was more like it. Becca had some sort of weird allergy that made her completely crazy hyper when she had sugar. Every few months she managed to get hold of some and cause complete chaos.

"How did yer interview go?" a deep voice suddenly asked.

Candace jumped off the counter and hugged a surprised Gib. He patted her back awkwardly.

"Thank you for nominating me," she said.

"It was no problem. Glad to do it."

"Tell the truth. Was it so you'd never have to worry about me slipping Becca some sugar?" Candace asked with a smile. Over the summer, Gib had explained Becca's sugar allergy to Candace and forbade her to give the other girl cotton candy.

Gib smiled. "I figger you and I are already clear on that matter. Nah. I nominated you because you show initiative and courage and have a way of shaking things up."

Candace gave him another hug and then pulled away laughing. "Well, thank you. I really appreciate it."

"Kurt didn't nominate her," Becca said.

"Knave!" Gib said, his face darkening.

Before Candace could respond, players came through the door. She gave Becca and Gib a little wave and headed out. Once in the clear, she headed for the Splash Zone, hoping to catch Josh. She saw him in his tank top and shorts in front of the Kowabunga ride.

"You've gotta be cold," she said as she walked up.

"It's worth it to freeze now so I don't have to sweat through the summer," he said with his customary grin. "So, how'd it go?"

"I don't know," she confessed as she gave him a hug. "But thank you for nominating me. Thank you for entering me," she said, laughing a little.

"Told you the Balloon Races was cool," he said.

She stepped back with a laugh. "Remind me to listen to you more."

"That's an easy one."

"So, do you think I have a shot?" she asked.

He grew serious for a moment. "I hope so, but I don't know. I entered you and I nominated you. That was really all I could do.

It's out of my hands."

"I know. I'm just nervous."

She was about to tell him who had nominated her when she remembered she had other news. "I did get a part-time job out of it," she said.

His eyes widened. "Seriously? Part-time, not seasonal?"

She nodded. "I'm going to be working at the Candy Counter."

"That's great! Congratulations. I'm going to miss seeing you on the carts, though."

She shrugged. "We can still hang on breaks."

"Absolutely. Well, that is, after Talent Show. My team and I are practicing a lot."

Candace blinked at him. "Talent Show? What Talent Show?"

Josh laughed. "Same old Candace."

Another referee walked up. He looked familiar to her, but Candace couldn't place him.

"Looks like I'm on break," Josh said. "Candace, have you met Mark yet?"

"We double-dated a few months back," Mark said, smiling at her.

Then Candace remembered who he was. Her best friend Tamara had gone out with him once on a pity date. He had seemed like a really nice guy, just not Tam's type.

"How have you been?" Candace asked.

"Good. Really good. Actually I should thank you."

"Why?" she asked.

"You and your boyfriend made working here sound like so much fun. That's why I applied to work here too."

"And you've been enjoying it?" she asked.

"Check."

Mark took over Josh's position, and then Candace walked away with Josh.

"I'm glad he's having fun," she said.

"Yeah, Checkmark's going to be okay."

"Checkmark?" she asked.

"Yup. That's what people have nicknamed him. If you ask him anything, he says 'check' instead of 'yes' or 'got it.'"

"Hence Checkmark."

"Check," Josh said with a grin.

"Okay, so what's this about a talent show?" Candace asked him. As usual she seemed to be one step behind as far as the information went.

"It's a big deal every year about a week after Easter. There's a party and talent competition for all the refs."

"What, like singing and dancing?"

Josh rolled his eyes. "Only if you're, like, amazing at one of those. Mostly groups try to come up with new stuff. The winners last year did a whole Chinese acrobat show. Of course, it helped that three of them were exchange students, brothers who were actually acrobats."

"Great, no pressure," Candace said. "When do sign-ups start?" He laughed. "You mean, when do they finish, as in, this week."

"Oh, no," Candace groaned. Her experiences at The Zone had taught her that those who did not sign up early got stuck with teammates they did not pick. That very thing happened to her at the summer Scavenger Hunt. Luckily, though, her team had been awesome. Not only had they won, she had also made some great friends from the experience.

"I'm guessing you're already on a team," she said to Josh.

"Sorry," he said with a shrug. "Us Kowabunga guys kinda stick together. Besides, you said you weren't going to be working Easter."

She shrugged. "You know what they say. The more things change ..."

"The more they stay the same," Josh finished with a grin.

"It looks like it's time to get the team back together."

"Good luck with that."

"What talent do you Kowabunga guys have?" Candace asked.

"We have many. If you're referencing the contest, though, we're keeping that under wraps a little while longer."

"Come on, I can keep a secret," she said.

"I know you can," he said with a sly smile.

The truth was she had been keeping Josh's secret—a big one—for months. Her best friend, Tamara, had only recently found out what it was, but through no fault of hers.

"You wanna hear a secret?" Candace teased.

"Sure."

"I think my best friend's crazy about your brother."

"Well, that's a relief, since I know my brother is crazy about your best friend."

Crazy was an understatement. Tamara and James had met a couple of days before Christmas and had spent so much time together the last eight weeks, it seemed like one long date as opposed to dozens of short ones. Candace had seen more of Josh socially in the last few weeks than she had in the preceding eight months. Somehow the two of them ended up at the movies or the theater or dinner with James and Tamara more often than not. She was seeing more of Josh than she was of Kurt.

She briefly thought about asking Kurt about the talent contest, but he was a mascot, and they usually did things as a group. She was going to have to hunt down some old friends.

* * *

"What's wrong with you?" Tamara asked an hour later as Candace plopped into the chair across from her at Big D's, their favorite ice-cream parlor.

"I gotta get the team back together," Candace said.

"Same question, let's try for a new answer," Tamara said.

Candace sighed. "Talent Show competition at The Zone after Easter. Not only do I have to get a team, but I've got to have a talent."

"Girl who doesn't work at the park, say 'what?'" Tamara asked.

"The beginning?" Candace asked.

"Yes, please. And don't leave anything out," Tamara cautioned.

Candace smiled. She and Tamara had been best friends forever. Sometimes it was like they could read each other's minds. Other times it was like they were communicating in completely different languages. It wasn't that far of a stretch. They practically came from different planets.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Spring of Candy Apples by Debbie Viguié Copyright © 2009 by Debbie Viguié. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2015

    Boooooooooo

    Boooooooooooooooooo>:[] [():::::::::()]::::::::::::::::>

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Wow, mind blowing. I don't think there is any book better than this.

    I mean, WOW THE BEST SO FAR! I bought this book by acsident and, wow AMAZING, I LOVE IT! It can't get better than this, right? Is there an other book I should know about?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    good book !!!!!!!!!

    really good book. a must read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Delicious Treat

    Book four of the Sweet Seasons Novel series is a delicious treat. It can be easily read and appreciated on its own. The story grabs the heart of teens as two high school teenagers, Candice and Tamara--best friends solve problems as only teens can. The characters are slightly flawed and therefore, quite believable. The plot includes college applications, boyfriends, work at The Zone, Man of La Mancha, and a talent show. The author has teen dialogue down pat; I enjoyed the parts where the kids text.As in book three, parents, teachers, and employers are respected. There's a bit of romance, a time of tension between two opposing viewpoints, a sad scene that causes the need for a tissue, and a delightful ending. The real meaning of Easter is covered. If you have a teenager or know one, this teen fiction is a good idea for them! I'm passing my copy along to my granddaughter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2011

    Candy apples

    Oh my gosh, best book ever! I love it but I really wish I read them in order!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Sweet Ending

    It's spring and Candace is busy working at the Zone's Candy Counter while struggling to make decisions about her future. She's been accepted to two different colleges, but family and friends are pressuring her to stay local. Her coworkers, however, are urging her to follow her God-given dreams no matter how far away they take her.

    The Sweet Seasons series has been one of my favorite YA series from the time I picked up the first book. Debbie Viguie writes in a perfect teen voice and really gets you into the story. There's no label dropping and teens come across as very real. It's also one of the funniest and just plain enjoyable YA series that's out there. It's Christian YA but it's not preachy at all.

    This book features Candace in her last season working at The Zone amusement park. She's been working there for almost a year and it's about time for her to leave not only the park but make plans to leave for college as well. This time the mission for the park's employees is to put on a talent show. While this may sound boring, the results definitely are not and it's a hoot watching Candace's group perfect their talent. And then of course, there are new things to discover about the The Zone which is always really exciting to read about. I think that these kids have the best job a high schooler could ever have.

    I don't want to spoil the story about who Candace ends up with but let's just say I was super geeked and it was done absolutely perfect. Honestly I really can't find any fault with this book other than I'm really sad that this is the final book of the series. I've grown to love Candace and the gang at the Zone. I loved reading about their adventures in the park and seeing how the characters have grown and matured over the past year. I totally wish that The Zone amusement park existed in real life. It is pretty much the theme park of my dreams. If you're looking for some fun light YA reading, this series is definitely for you. HIGHLY recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Delicious Treat

    Book four of the Sweet Seasons Novel series is a delicious treat. It can be easily read and appreciated on its own. The story grabs the heart of teens as two high school teenagers, Candice and Tamara--best friends solve problems as only teens can. The characters are slightly flawed and therefore, quite believable. The plot includes college applications, boyfriends, work at The Zone, Man of La Mancha, and a talent show. The author has teen dialogue down pat; I enjoyed the parts where the kids text.<BR/><BR/>As in book three, parents, teachers, and employers are respected. There's a bit of romance, a time of tension between two opposing viewpoints, a sad scene that causes the need for a tissue, and a delightful ending. The real meaning of Easter is covered. If you have a teenager or know one, this teen fiction is a good idea for them! I'm passing my copy along to my granddaughter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Spring of Candy Apples

    The Spring of Candy Apples is one out of a set of four written by Debbie Viguie. The story takes place at The Zone, an amusement park, where Candy is the main character. She has made friends while working there when she discovers someone has turned her name in for a college scholarship. <BR/><BR/>Candy has been dating the same boy for quite some time, but knew deep in her heart he was not the one. Through different situations and circumstances she comes to find out that the boy she calls her friend is the one she falls for. This novel takes you through Candy¿s life and to the point when she finds out what college she will be attending. This is a book that will grab your teenager and keep them reading to the end. It shows the importance of friends, family, relationships & God. Great read for any teen.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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