Oscar Banks lives in the perfect town of Candor, Florida. He is a perfect son and a model student. Everyone wants to be like Oscar. Families move to Candor to change their delinquent children for the better. Oscar’s dad created Candor to make the perfect community. He created a system of mind control messages to force change. Kids who come to Candor do change, but it is because of the messages. Oscar has seen through his dad's lies and figured out how to resist those messages. He wants to help kids before they change into the "perfect kid," so he creates a secret business to help kids escape.
When Nia moves int town, Oscar is intrigued by her. She is a troublemaker who tries to annoy her parents as much as she can. But, she tries to be good on the inside. Oscar falls in love with her and does everything he can to make her leave so that she will keep her unique, exciting personality. The question is what will Nia - and Oscar - ultimately choose? Love or freewill.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (15):
I chose this book because the plot seemed interesting and it looked like something I would read normally for fun. I liked the idea of the book, and the idea of Oscar helping other people. It started out well and how people can connect to Oscar’s relationship with his dad. Nia is also a character who connects to the audience. That said, Oscar and Nia did not really have a true connection and their relationship did not really have chemistry.
The author has a great idea for a Dystopian society, but could not execute it well. I found the book boring. The brainwashed characters are very flat. The book is not very complex, yet it gets confusing at times. Some things the author raises are never explained. Other times she would explain everything and it would not interest the reader. The climax moved way too fast, and she did not describe the plan very well. Also, when Oscar talks about Nia, the writing style changes to romance, which does not work well. I hated the romance parts of the book because how Oscar describes Nia is not realistic and really weird. Their romance also went way too fast, and it was really weird. The cliffhanger ending suggests there will be a sequel. It's been 11 years and no second book.
In the end, I didn't like this book and would not recommend it. There are other, better Dystopian science fiction books for teens.
Readers intrigued by Dystopian societies may find this an interesting book.
None noted by this reviewer. Note: The reading level is a guide, not an age recommendation. This is a young adult novel, not a book for children.
This is a Dystopian story about freewill v. love.
Like many Dystopian novels, the situations present issues that introduce real-world dilemmas. Candor presents the ideas of perfection (who determines what perfect is); technology, consolidation of power, among others. Oscar's decisions are also thought-provoking. Was he right or wrong undermining his father? Does the "right cause" justify the actions? Who was he saving?
15 and Up
15 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 15
Borrow. Try the first few chapters to see if you like the writing style before you bring it home from the library.