A summary of Candor by Pam Bachorz, via Amazon.com:
In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town's founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause.But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar's built a business sabotaging his father's scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they're turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks?Then he meets Nia, the girl he can't stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more.
Even besides the super cool (and creepy) premise, this story has a lot going for it.
The male main character was believably written, and was interesting to read about. All the characters were distinct and well written, an extra hard feat given how most of them have been brainwashed into similar mindsets. The setting was so perfect, because you could really picture any of those neighborhoods with the houses that all look alike being this way. Seriously, I drove by one of these neighborhoods the other day, and I just wondered.
I also couldn’t quite guess how this book would end, and I love when that happens. It surprised me more than once, and kept me reading, because I had to know! My heart was pounding through the entirety of the last fifty pages or so. A creepy undercurrent made the whole book so tense. Oscar’s dad is such a crazy man. And the idea of the subliminal messages is just believable enough that I kind of wanted to plug my ears.
The romance was really nice, although my one main dislike was how quickly it went from zero to ‘I love you’. I felt like I’d missed something, but that’s a little of my own personal cynicism leaking through. Once I got past that, though, I thought it was wonderful.
The number one best thing about this book: my boyfriend, a not-very-avid reader, read it—and liked it.