Candy by Kevin Brooks
In Candy by Kevin Brooks, Joe, a regular high school kid living with his gynecologist dad and nurse sister, Gina, while playing in a band, takes a wrong turn while on his way to a doctor's appointment in London. By chance he meets Candy, who has to have been drawn to Joe by his regularity and
overall sweetness. Their first chat is interrrupted by Iggy, Candy's pimp, who obviously doesn't want Candy anywhere near a nice kid.
My favorite section of the book is when Candy, who apparently came from a fairly well-to-do background, tells Joe how she fell under Iggy's spell, ultimately becoming addicted to heroin and entering prostitution through him. Iggy as predator casts a strong pall over every section of the book.
By the end of the story, Joe's obsession with Candy seems a great deal like Candy's addiction to heroin--dark, dangerous, and causing an abandonment of previous life interests.
I like the contrast between Iggy and Mike, Gina's boyfriend, who are both described as big black men. Iggy is the personification of someone willing to do anything to get ahead (gangs, drugs, prostitution) without caring about anyone else. Definitely the profile of a sociopath. Mike, on the other hand, is a really nice guy, the kind willing to help a stranger when he knows he'll get beaten for his trouble. The balance between Iggy and Mike helps keep the story from being a tale of "white world" (Joe and Gina) equals good versus "black world" (Iggy) equals bad for Candy.
Can Joe help Candy escape from Iggy? What impact does Joe being involved with Candy have on Gina and Mike? On Joe?
My overall personal rating of Candy is an A-.