Librarians love lists. They especially love making lists of books. More than anything though, they love lists of "if you like book A, then you will also like books B, C and D." Candor by Pam Barchorz will soon be on numerous read-alikes lists for Lois Lowry's The Giver.
While Candor will never be the classic must-read that The Giver is, it fits in a lot of the same themes. Oscar Banks is the most popular kid in Candor, Florida. Oscar's father built Candor, a town where parents bring their troubled families to live their ideal life. What the town's children don't know is that they are being manipulated and re-programmed by messages piped into the city through music. The only way to leave Candor is through Oscar, who knows how to neutralize the messages and sneak other teens out of town. Oscar has carefully crafted his life in Candor to please his father and provide a cover for undermining his father's "perfect" creation. Eventually he meets Nia, an amazing girl who he wants to save from Candor, but he is not sure he can accomplish that without exposing what he is doing.
Candor is a smart and occasionally creepy Sci-fi novel about individuality and the problems in any modern society. This is a very solid debut by Bachorz, though readers will need to suspend some belief in order to keep up with a couple of the book's unrealistic premises.
Candor is for fans of The Giver and The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle.
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