She is a sixteen-year-old misfit (notably with heterochromia; her left eye is brown, while the right is blue) from Chickentown, a small township located in Minnesota. Chickentown is completely devoted to the chicken industry, which sickens Candy. Her teachers and peers mock her due to her lack of interest in the town's primary source of income.
In addition, her verbally and physically abusive father fails to understand her and is absorbed in his own misery after losing his job at the chicken factory. Her mother is also unable to do anything for her, and feels trapped in Chickentown with her alcoholic husband and three children.
After walking out of school after being humiliated in front of her class by her teacher, Miss Schwartz, Candy soon finds herself in a field of grass on the edge of town. Amongst other things, Candy here discovers a large, dilapidated tower. Her encounter in the field with John Mischief and his brothers begins the series of events starting with almost being killed by mendelson shape which eventually leads her to the Islands of the Abarat.
Her many adventures slowly begin to reveal Candy as the reincarnation of the late Princess Boa, a figure of great positive significance in the islands of the Abarat.