In the town of Candor, Florida, everyone is perfect. All the teenagers respect their parents, do their homework, and are friendly to everyone. Every kid in Candor is a parent’s dream – everyone except Oscar Banks. Although Oscar acts the part on the outside, on the inside he knows the secret to Candor’s success. Oscar’s father is the founder of Candor, and Oscar knows that the reason everyone is so happy and pleasant is because his father has filtered special Messages into every area of Candor life, controlling its citizens and turning them into perfect, obedient people. Oscar has a business where he helps kids escape the trap of Candor. Everything works for Oscar exactly the way he needs it to, until he meets Nia. Nia is a new kid in town, and Oscar can’t help being drawn to her. He wants to save her from Candor, but at the same time he wants to keep her around. He is torn between his desire to help her and the desire to keep her close… but if he keeps her around, she will turn into someone he would no longer want to be around.
Candor was really an unexpected surprise for me. I had seen one or two reviews around the blogosphere, but didn’t think much of it. When I saw it at the library, I impulsively picked it up and began reading. I was drawn in from the first page and I knew I had to take it home and finish it.
I really, really liked Oscar. He was in such an awful situation. Not only was his father the founder of this brainwashing town, but he was basically alone in the world since nobody else knew the secrets of Candor. Not only that, but his brother passed away years ago and his mother walked out on them after the brainwashing got to be too overwhelming for her, so Oscar was truly, utterly alone in the world. Despite that, he wanted to do everything in his power to save the people he could. He deliberately defied his father, ran a business that would get him in a huge amount of trouble if discovered, all because he believed in his heart that what his father was doing was wrong.
I liked the budding relationship between Oscar and Nia, but I have to admit that I wondered whether Oscar liked her just because she was still normal, not yet brainwashed, or if he really liked her for her personality. The romance just seemed to come out of nowhere for me. But, I suppose when you’re surrounded by a bunch of clones, a new person who has the ability to think for herself would be pretty intriguing.
Candor is a completely wild ride that definitely took me away, right into the pages. There were cliffhangers all over the place. Every time I thought good news was around the corner, something else happened to ruin it for Oscar and Nia. While I can’t say I loved the ending, I think it was the most rational way to end the book and anything else would have been unrealistic. I was totally entertained by Candor, and I can see why it’s gotten such rave reviews by other bloggers!