The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase


By Wendy Mass

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The highly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Candymakers by beloved author Wendy Mass

It has been a few months since the nationwide New Candy Contest, and Logan, Miles, Philip, and Daisy have returned to their regular lives. But when the winning candy bar comes down the conveyor belt at the Life is Sweet candy factory, Logan realizes something’s very wrong….

When the Candymaker announces that they will be going on tour to introduce the new candy bar, the four friends see this as an opportunity to make things right. But with a fifty-year-old secret revealed and stakes higher for each of them than they ever imagined, they will have to trust one another–and themselves–in order to face what lies ahead.

In this action-packed sequel to the bestselling novel The Candymakers, prepare to embark on a journey full of hidden treasures, secret worlds, and candy.

LOTS and LOTS of candy.


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After spending exactly twelve years and five months living inside a candy factory, Logan Sweet knew all the best places to hide. That's not to say he hid often. In fact, all the folks responsible for creating, packaging, selling, and shipping the dozen different types of candy produced at the Life Is Sweet candy factory considered Logan to be a visible, helpful (some would add indispensable), and always cheerful presence on the factory floor. But from time to time, he found the need to be alone. Usually these times coincided with the final due date of a homework assignment. Since all his teachers worked at the factory (and in the case of his parents, lived in the same apartment), he had to be creative if he wanted to ditch them.

Logan found his first hiding spot at age seven and a half, while trying to avoid finishing an assignment on the Amazon rain forest. In between Max's duties as head candy scientist, he was teaching Logan about the effects of water saturation and drought on various types of cocoa beans.

Logan didn't mind having to make a diorama. All he had to do was visit the factory's Tropical Room, which was as close to a real rain forest as one could get without visiting the equator. He took an old shoe box, shoveled some dirt into it from around his favorite sapodilla tree, taped some fallen leaves to two Pepsicle sticks, strung a green shoelace from stick to stick to make a vine, dangled a brown plastic monkey from the vine, and called it a day.

But he really, really didn't want to do the second half of the assignment—going to the factory's library to find books and write down facts. Particularly in his younger years, Logan was more of a hands-on, in-the-moment type of person, the kind of boy who looked closely at things and tried to figure them out on his own. When he couldn't, he enjoyed the not-knowing just as much as finding a solution. He would rather wonder how an ecosystem such as the rain forest gave life to so many different types of flora and fauna than find out an answer that might not be as exciting as he'd hoped.

So he decided he simply wasn't going to do it. Having no interest in actually telling Max that news, he figured his only option was to hide. But he couldn't just wander into the factory and pick some random storage room. Preparations had to be made. He carefully gathered his supplies and then parked himself in one of the oversized chairs in the library and pretended to do his reading. He waited as patiently as possible (which is to say, not patiently at all) while, one by one, the workers shut down the factory's candy machines for the night. This process was a lot more complicated than merely turning off some switches. The oil that made the machines run smoothly had to be drained and disposed of properly. All the pipes, tubes, trays, bins, compressors, oscillators, tumblers, conveyor belts, ovens, stovetops, kettles, vats, pots, pans, funnels, and barrels had to be scrubbed and stored until the machines would start back up again twelve hours later. Logan nearly fell asleep in the chair!

When the coast was finally clear, he grabbed his stash from behind the chair and slung the duffel bags over both shoulders. He hurried down the quiet hall toward the room with the perfect Logan-sized hiding spot. With one last glance to make sure he hadn't been followed, he ducked inside the Icy Mint Blob Room and wedged a pile of pillows behind the stack of old peppermint-oil barrels. He stocked his new space with comic books, drawing pads, and snacks of both the candy and the healthy variety. He made it back up to the apartment just in time for his mom's famous Veggie Loaf Surprise dinner. (It should be noted that his mom's substitution of chocolate chips for peas hadn't been a surprise for many years.)

Even though he ultimately had to finish the report, Logan wound up spending many lazy midday hours tucked away in that hiding spot, lulled into an almost dreamlike state by the thumping of the nearby panning machine. The panner—which looked to him like a space-age washing machine—spun the Icy Mint Blobs and coated them with blueberry syrup until they sparkled with a sugary glaze. It also muffled the sound of Logan crunching/slurping/chomping the latest candies that had been deemed NQP (not quite perfect) by Randall, the head of the quality-control team. As much as Logan loved all the candy Life Is Sweet produced, he particularly loved the pieces that came out too oddly shaped to fit in the packaging, or that were stuck together, or that came off the conveyor belt too sticky or too hard or the wrong shade of brown/red/orange/yellow/neon green. He possessed an uncanny ability to show up exactly when a new NQP batch appeared on the counter of the employee lounge.

By the time Logan was nine, his legs had grown so long that his feet stuck out from behind the peppermint barrels. Rather than risk being discovered, he found a new hiding spot in the barn's hayloft. This one worked out even better because the open windows let in a lot of fresh air (which also helped offset the smell of the cows below) and allowed him to play Name That Cloud without lying outside in the open. In one direction, he could gaze at the wheat fields and cornfields, the fruit trees and sugarcane grove, and the great lawn with the pond and boats and painted picnic tables. A glance in the other direction revealed the gleaming windows, the tall chimneys, and the deep red brick of the back of the factory.

When not drawing dinosaurs in his sketchpad (many of which looked a lot like his favorite gummy dinosaur, Gummzilla), he would play one of his grandfather's old hand-carved wooden puzzle games. He wasn't very good at solving them, but he enjoyed the challenge. He could hum as he worked, and the noises of the busy barn drowned out the sound. The farmers below him milked the cows for fresh milk and collected eggs from the chickens, and if they knew he was there, they never let on.

As he got older, Logan enjoyed learning more and more and started hiding less and less. Eventually, he forgot about hiding at all. But tomorrow was the big Kickoff. Candy history would be made when the very first Harmonicandy glided down the conveyor belt. A new product was always a big deal, but the introduction of the winning candy in the Confectionary Association's annual New Candy Contest was a massive deal. All eyes were on Logan.

So, obviously, he needed to hide. And he needed to hide fast.

Unfortunately, the options were slim. A frenzied energy buzzed through the air. Visitors from all parts of the candy community filled the factory halls, the candymaking rooms, the library, the cafeteria, the Tropical Room, the Bee Room, the great lawn, and even his family's apartment upstairs. This made it very hard to hide in shadowy corners or to slip into back rooms unnoticed. The factory hadn't had this many people in it in seven years, and Logan was finding it hard to adjust. He rested his hand on the pocket where he'd stuck his poem of the day. Ever since the contest, his mom had let him select his own. Today he'd chosen this one:

I am the boy

That can enjoy


It was written by an author named James Joyce. He'd found it by looking up hiding in the index of one of the poetry books his mother had given him. So far it hadn't helped him hide, nor turn invisible, but it gave him a slight sense of hopefulness, and he was glad he had it.

He wished his friends from the candymaking contest were there. They were the only people who knew him well enough to understand how he felt. Miles O'Leary, Daisy Carpenter, and Philip Ransford the Third were so different—not only from each other but also from anyone else he'd ever met. Each of them made his small world bigger, and every night when he recited what he was grateful for, they were at the top of his list. Even Philip. Not that Logan would ever tell him that.

At least Miles would be there after lunch. Even though it was summer vacation, he had a new hobby that kept him away each morning. Miles wasn't the best at hiding anyway. He'd most likely sneeze or forget they were supposed to be hiding and then start to tell a story and blow their cover. Poor hiding skills aside, Miles was the best friend Logan had ever had. It helped that neither of them had had a best friend before. They were learning together how to be one.

If anyone could figure out a way to help him now, it would be Daisy. Hiding was basically her full-time job! But she was away on a spy mission, and even though she had given him one of her secret communication devices that would allow him to reach her wherever she was, she'd made it clear that the gadget was for emergencies only. He hadn't even turned it on. No one knew when her mission would be over, but she'd promised to be back for the factory's annual picnic, at the end of the summer. As momentous as the next day's event was expected to be, the factory's first picnic in seven years would be an even bigger deal, but one that he was looking forward to. He wasn't exactly dreading tomorrow, but the tight feeling in his stomach felt something close to it, and the instinct to hide was strong.

Since Miles and Daisy were out, that left only Philip, who really wasn't the world's best listener. Not by a long shot. Still, he was much better than he used to be. After winning the contest, Philip had started hanging around the factory at least a few times a week. The Ransfords' personal assistant, Reggie, would drop him off after school in a fancy limo and pick him up before dinner.

For a kid who hadn't eaten candy for seven years, Philip was making up for it big-time by sampling everything he could get his hands on. He'd follow all the workers around, learning how they did their jobs and always volunteering to help. It was obvious he was trying to compensate for having been so obnoxious during the contest. Logan would say he was successful at achieving that goal about 70 percent of the time; Miles put it at 50. Logan had called Philip yesterday to invite him to come that morning, but Philip had a dentist appointment scheduled. That boy should probably cut down on all the candy eating, just to be on the safe side.

Logan pressed himself against the wall outside the Oozing Crunchorama Room to plot his next move. Maybe he could claim that his skin felt clammy and hide out in the nurse's office. It was always empty, so he'd have lots of privacy. The worst thing the nurse usually saw during the course of the day was a bee sting. The Candymaker made safety his number one priority, which made it even worse that the only serious workplace accident had been when his own five-year-old son tried to reach into a vat of boiling-hot fudge and sustained third-degree burns on his arms and face and neck.

Logan quickly dismissed the idea of the nurse's office. He'd spent more than enough time as a patient, with doctors treating his burns after the accident. Plus he would feel terrible lying to anyone.

He glanced behind him. Last month the Oozing Crunchorama had fallen to third on the candy best-sellers list, after being at the top for nearly a decade. Max and the other candy scientists responded to this disappointing turn of events by tweaking the recipe a little. All they did was chop the hazelnuts into smaller pieces and add a touch more cream to up the "ooze factor," and the candy community went wild. A week later the Crunchorama was back on top. Now the room bustled with activity as they tried to keep up with the demand. Logan sized up the corner behind the hazelnut-warming table. It would provide good cover from the workers pouring the hazelnut-praline mixture into the huge vats of dark chocolate. First he'd have to figure out a way to distract them, though.

"I don't think I've ever seen you stand so still," a familiar voice said with a chuckle.


Logan jumped. Then he turned to face Henry, the man who had single-handedly run the Marshmallow Room since the factory opened fifty years earlier. Henry had always been like a grandfather to him, even when Logan's own grandfather—the original Candymaker and founder of Life Is Sweet—was still alive. Since the candymaking contest a few months back, Logan had been so busy that his usual morning visits with Henry had become less frequent. But with his mess of white hair and easy smile, Henry was the only grown-up Logan didn't mind seeing right now.

"Can we go back to the Marshmallow Room?" Logan asked, tugging on Henry's sleeve. He knew they'd have privacy there. Henry guarded the marshmallows the way a mama bird guarded her eggs, and he was extremely choosy about who he let get too close. Plus the walls of the Marshmallow Room were made of a special tinted glass that allowed Henry to see out but kept people from seeing in. Henry insisted the walls were tinted to keep the room cool, but Logan suspected that was just an excuse.

Without waiting for an answer, Logan took off at a run. He darted through crowds of smiling guests, their arms laden with bags of free treats. He did his best not to meet anyone's eyes and pretended he didn't hear their whispered comments. Not being friendly was uncharacteristic of him, but he couldn't handle even one more person gripping him on the shoulder and offering words that were supposed to make him feel better but had the opposite effect. Comments like "You're always a winner to us!" or "This must be tough, but hang in there. Your time will come!" Or, if it was a particularly nosy or thoughtless journalist, "Your grandfather won. Then your dad won. What's it like watching your father's company produce the contest-winning candy when you're the first member of your family in three generations to lose?"

He told them the truth, but no one seemed to believe it.

By the time Henry showed up in the Marshmallow Room, Logan already had the large Bunsen burner up and running and two marshmallows speared onto the tips of their favorite toasting sticks.

"Let's hear it," Henry said, sitting down on the wooden stool next to Logan's. The stool groaned under Henry's considerable weight.

"No one believes me when I say I'm okay," Logan complained as their marshmallows toasted over the low flame. He didn't like the way his voice sounded, but until recent events, he'd never had reason to complain about anything. Now he couldn't help it.

"They pat me on the arm," he explained to Henry, "and tilt their heads at me with their eyes as gooey as a fresh batch of chocolate." It wasn't until the contest that he'd begun to realize that people had always looked at him with sympathy—or at least ever since he'd gotten the scars. Other than the need to massage aloe into them, and the occasional itch or throbbing, and the fact that the ones on his hands sometimes made it hard for him to grip small objects, he never gave his scars much thought. It hadn't occurred to him that others would think about them. He was embarrassed that he hadn't been smart enough, or aware enough, to realize that of course others noticed. And now with all the strangers at the factory, he was aware of the second glances thrown his way.

"You can't really blame folks for thinking you might be disappointed," Henry replied. "You have to watch the Harmonicandy get all the glory. Under your own roof, no less! And after you'd worked so hard on your Bubbletastic ChocoRocket."

"I might not have worked that hard," Logan admitted.

"Perhaps it wasn't your best effort," Henry agreed. "But most people don't know that. All they know is that the kid who was rude to everyone won the contest, and you didn't get what you wanted."

"But losing the contest actually is what I wanted," Logan insisted. "I mean, not before it started, but once I got to know the others, everything changed. The Harmonicandy was really a team effort, even though Philip has to get the credit officially. You know he's only half as obnoxious as he pretended to be while he was here, right? And then when we were able to save the factory, I really did win!" Logan shoved his marshmallow into his mouth to keep himself from rambling even more.

"I know all of that," Henry said gently. "And I understand your frustration. But you have to see it from the other side."

Logan let his shoulders slump and crossed his arms.

Henry chewed his marshmallow and laid his stick next to Logan's on the counter. He turned off the burner. "Perhaps you're being oversensitive and a bit overdramatic."

Logan would have argued that perhaps he wasn't being dramatic enough, but then Randall rapped on the glass door, and Logan immediately straightened up. He didn't want Randall to see him sulking.

Randall balanced a large brown box under one arm while he chomped on a green apple held in his free hand. He grimaced with every bite. He'd once confided to Logan that he didn't like apples but had to eat them when he was taste-testing different candies. Sour apples neutralized chocolate. Bread neutralized hot, spicy foods, and fortunately, Randall liked bread.

Randall could also always be counted on to have packets of crackers stuffed in his coat pockets because they neutralized almost any taste—spicy, sour, bitter, or sweet—just not as well as the apples. While Logan loved learning anything about the candy-testing process, he didn't need to use any of those tricks. His taste buds were always on high alert.

Logan jumped up to open the door.

Randall tossed the apple core into the trash can. "I'm sorry to interrupt, gentlemen," he said, laying the box on the counter beside the marshmallow sticks. "This package arrived a few minutes ago, so I offered to deliver it on my way to the Harmonicandy Room. Only a few more tests to go before the first one comes down the conveyor belt. Exciting, don't you think?" He glanced at Logan, and his grin wobbled a bit.

Logan looked pointedly at Henry. This was exactly the kind of thing he'd been talking about.

Henry leaned over to look at the shipping label. He squinted and mumbled that the return address was blurry. "Is this the new vanilla-bean grinder I ordered?" he asked Randall. Halfway out the door already, Randall called back, "Nope. It's for Logan."

Logan and Henry looked at each other in surprise. "Me?" Logan asked.

He pulled the box closer. The return label was printed in neat, even letters. Maybe Henry needed better glasses (even though his lenses must have been a half-inch thick already). The handwriting didn't look familiar to Logan, and the address—a post office box a few states away—didn't mean anything, either.

"Maybe it's from Daisy," he suggested to Henry. "It doesn't look like her handwriting, but maybe that's on purpose to cover her tracks." Henry was the only adult at the factory who knew Daisy's true identity. He'd promised to keep her secret, and Henry always kept his promises.

Logan pulled at the thick tape on the side of the box but couldn't get a good grip. He would need scissors or a knife to cut through it. Logan and sharp instruments didn't mix well. "Will you open it for me?" he asked.

Henry nodded. "Certainly."

As Henry crossed the room to his metal supply cabinet, Logan thought how much he appreciated that Henry hadn't jumped up to help before Logan even asked. He'd become very aware of people doing that for him.

Henry returned and got to work cutting through the thick tape. He was very careful. When the flaps were loose enough, he stepped back to let Logan pull the box open.

Logan thought maybe it might contain a game or a puzzle or something funny that Daisy had come across on her travels. She knew he didn't leave the factory very often, so she liked surprising him with random things from the outside world. The week before, she'd sent him a (not very good) painting she had found at a rest stop on the highway. It showed a cat waving a magic wand while wearing polka-dot pajamas. The painting had a title (Abra-Cat-abra) and the signature of the artist (a woman named Ava Simon) in the lower right corner. It now hung proudly over his bed.

"So what's in there?" Henry asked.

Logan carefully lifted out a thick stack of yellowed newspapers and dusty spiral notebooks tied together with brown twine. A folded-up map, the back yellowed with age, remained at the bottom of the box. "I don't think it's from Daisy," he said, moving the contents from his arms to the counter. His new friends were well aware that he didn't have much patience when it came to reading. He'd once told Miles that he usually read the last page of a book first, and Miles was so horrified he didn't speak to him for the rest of the day. Talk about being overdramatic.

"I bet this will tell us," Henry said, pulling a long, thin envelope out from underneath the twine. He handed it to Logan, who turned it over in his hands. The envelope was new, while the rest of the stack looked as if it had been rescued from someone's attic or basement. Logan tore open the envelope and unfolded a typewritten letter. He held it up so that he and Henry could read it together.

Logan had only gotten as far as the first sentence when Henry asked if he minded reading the letter out loud, so Logan began again.

Dear Logan,

We have never met, but your grandfather—the one and only Samuel Sweet—and I spent our boyhoods together. We lived two houses away from each other, and I believe I spent more time at his home than at my own. I would be lured over by the most wonderful smells of whatever Sam was cooking up! (Unlike your great-grandmother's cabbage, which did not smell good AT ALL!)

I recently found a bunch of Sam's old journals and candymaking research in my basement. I know he would want you to have them. Even though my life took a different path, I do keep up with candy news because it reminds me of my dear friend and the world he treasured. I heard that you were defeated at the candymaking contest and that your family's factory was given the honor of producing the winning Harmonicandy. I hope you will be comforted by seeing all the notebooks your grandfather filled with ideas for candies that failed. Don't give up! I am old and coming to the end of my days faster than I want to accept, but there is greatness ahead for you. I can smell it from here.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin O. Griffin

Logan stared down at the letter. "Even strangers feel sorry for me. Still think I'm being oversensitive?"

When he got no answer, Logan looked up. Tears were streaming down Henry's cheeks in two even rows until they dripped off his chin. When Logan thought about that moment a month later, after so much had happened and so much had changed, it felt like a turning point, with a clear before and after. But at the time it was happening, all he could think about was how unprepared he was to deal with Henry's reaction. The random thought occurred to him that if they were eating slices of chocolate pizza, Henry wouldn't be crying. No one could cry and eat chocolate pizza at the same time.


Logan shifted from foot to foot. Crying at the Life Is Sweet


On Sale
Aug 2, 2016
Page Count
544 pages

Wendy Mass

About the Author

Wendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers, Pi in the Sky, Every Soul a Star, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and A Mango-Shaped Space.

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