The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

Overview

Candice Phee isn't a typical twelve-year-old girl. She has more than her fair share of quirks, but she also has the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to make sure everyone around her is happy—which is no easy feat when dealing with a pet fish with an identity crisis, a friend who believes he came from another dimension, an age-old family feud, and a sick mom. But she is on a mission. Her methods might be unique, but Candice will do whatever it takes to restore order to her world and make ...

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The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

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This item will be available on September 9, 2014.
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Overview

Candice Phee isn't a typical twelve-year-old girl. She has more than her fair share of quirks, but she also has the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to make sure everyone around her is happy—which is no easy feat when dealing with a pet fish with an identity crisis, a friend who believes he came from another dimension, an age-old family feud, and a sick mom. But she is on a mission. Her methods might be unique, but Candice will do whatever it takes to restore order to her world and make sure everyone is absolutely, categorically happy again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/07/2014
In a moving story first published in Australia, Jonsberg (Dreamrider) handles painful topics with honesty and humor. When 12-year-old Candice gets a school assignment to write an alphabetically organized essay about something that happened in her past, she turns it into a book covering her entire life. Candice’s literal-mindedness and social awkwardness are intrinsic to her personality. “I can’t go out in the sun unless I use cream with a sun protection factor of one zillion. Please understand that I am deliberately exaggerating for rhetorical effect,” Candice explains in one of several unanswered letters to an American pen pal. When new student Douglas tells her he’s from another dimension, Candice can almost understand his quest to return “home” because she, too, has a quest: to make her family happy again. Candice’s mother suffers from depression, her father had a falling out with Candice’s uncle, and all of them are still reeling from the death of Candice’s baby sister. Jonsberg has created a memorable heroine in Candice, whose determined attempts to heal her family and understand her place in the world will stick with readers. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Candice is a strong central character, full of personality."-School Library Journal

"You'll like this book AND love it."—Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production, a School Library Journal blog

"Jonsberg has created a memorable heroine in Candice, whose determined attempts to heal her family and understand her place in the world will stick with readers."—Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal
08/01/2014
Gr 4–6—Candice Phee's teacher assigned a 26 paragraph (each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet) long essay on something that has happened in the past. But quirky and literal-minded Candice is unable to express her life in such a concise fashion. Instead, she produces a chapter for each, outlining the unexpected death of her younger sister, an ongoing family feud, a neighbor who claims to be from another dimension, and her pet fish. As she writes, she strives to bring her cherished sense of order to the lives of her loved ones by fixing their problems through one grand gesture at a time. Candice is a strong central character, full of personality and a desire to bring happiness to those around her at any cost. The interwoven plots create a rich story, covering a wide expanse that includes loss of a loved one, a caretaker's depression, (possible) brain injuries, and unexpected friendships. The humor laced throughout can be uneven at times, moving from a serious moment to absurd imagery so quickly that readers may need to take pause. Candice takes similar hairpin turns from being incredibly literal, fact-focused and cognizant of social cues, to making large lapses in judgment. The issue of her seemingly ignored pen pal letters, interspersed throughout the alphabetical chapters, also ties up a bit too neatly at the end. This is a strong readalike for Counting by 7s (Dial, 2013) and Out of My Mind(S. & S., 2010).—Nicole Signoretta Sutton, Kingston Elementary School, Cherry Hill, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
2014-07-16
Twenty-six chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet, chronicle Candice's efforts to fix her family, her friend—and even her fish. Candice Phee's family is a mess. Her baby sister is dead, her mom has had a double mastectomy and is depressed, and her father has quarreled with Rich Uncle Brian. Others in the 12-year-old's life also need help, from her teacher, who has a lazy eye, to her only friend, Douglas Benson from Another Dimension, who is convinced that his parents are facsimiles. Even her pet, Earth-Pig Fish, is religiously confused. Candice, who likes everyone although she knows no one likes her, is somewhere on the autism spectrum (her pencils and pens cannot touch) and is literal to a fault, painfully honest and on a mission to make everyone happy. Award-winning Australian author Jonsburg captures quirky, irrepressible Candice's voice in this first-person narrative that is as touching as it is funny. The humor stems from both Candice's rigid literalness and her well-intentioned but often bungled efforts to fix things. Once readers are past the book's uninviting title, they'll find it impossible not to root for Candice in her valiant and endearing quest to mitigate the sadness of those around her. (Fiction 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452133515
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Pages: 242
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Jonsberg is a multiple award–winning writer of young adult and middle-grade novels. He lives and teaches in Darwin, Australia.

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