A Waxy Problem

waxWax by Gina Damico

Summary from the author’s website:

Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.

With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that’s taking hold of their town before it’s too late?


There are so many things to like about this book.  Poppy is a great character with many flaws, but she is loyal to her friends and her town, and will fight to save them.  Dud is also a very sweet and charming character and totally devoted to Poppy. The town of Paraffin is populated with many characters that you would find in any town in Vermont, including her hippy like parents. Anita and and Preston Chandler, CEO and president of the candle company are marvelous creations, and will stop at nothing to complete their evil plan. I liked that Poppy has kept a to do list since sixth grade, she is now on vol.7, and crosses out each item “with a thick black, outrageously satisfying line.” The list has an important role, in that each chapter heading could be from the list and is duly crossed out.  This is a very funny book, with very dry humor.  I found myself chuckling a few times at Poppy’s antics and sarcastic personality.  Although I did not find this book all that scary, I think there may be a few people who would be squeamish at the idea of walking, talking wax people. Finally, I really like that there is no real romance in this book.  Poppy and Dud develop a fondness for each other bordering on romance, but Poppy is too busy trying to figure out what is going on with her town and saving it, to be caught up in a romance.



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