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Candor by Pam Bachorz
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's review
Aug 09, 2010

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by Pam Bachorz

Think your parents are controlling? Oscar Banks’s father is a genius. He was sick of Oscar always getting in trouble, so he bought a huge chunk of land in Florida, created a subdivision, called it Candor, and invited other families with “troubled teens” to move in...for a price. Oh yeah, and he developed a way to use music to make teens do what they’re told to.

“It happens fast. One day kids are blasting their music, ignoring their parents, smoking or drinking or doing whatever they’re not supposed to.

And then, they’re dusting. Cooking dinner. Making their beds every morning. As long as it doesn’t interfere with homework.

[Oscar:] has watched 1,381 families move in. Thousands of kids, all changing to fit the same ideal.

But it’s not just the kids. Candor fixes everything.

Do you smoke? We’ll fix it. Got marital problems? Prepare for bliss. Undermotivated? Overeating? It will all go away in just a few weeks.

Everyone is saturated with Messages from the day they move in. Speakers are installed in bushes downtown, at the parks, in the stores—not just at school. And then parents play special custom “boosters” at home. Even send them off in care packages to their darlings at college. Candor kids only go to certain colleges, with certain accommodations: special dorms and classes. Music and speakers everywhere they go. Anything is possible with enough money.

You can’t hear the Messages—or at least, you don’t realize you’re listening. They’re subliminal. That means your subconscious hears them. And it obeys” (Page 18).

The worst part? The other kids in Candor don’t even have a clue it’s going on. Oscar’s heard all the Messages, but his Dad isn’t the only genius in the family. Oscar has found a way to make his own Messages. Ones that remind him to “control the messages” and “think independently.” And he sells these messages to other Candor kids…at least the ones who can afford them. For a price, Oscar will help the richest kids escape Candor and rejoin life “on the other side.”

Oscar is in it all for himself…until a new girl, Nia, and her family moves to town. Forget Mandi, his girlfriend of two years, Oscar is infatuated by the rebellious new girl and can’t stand to see her slowly become changed--like everyone else. So he desperately tries to plan their escape...before it’s too late and he loses her forever.

This one might just make you think twice the next time you turn on your radio or head to the mall!
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