Candor is a place in Florida that was built by Oscar's dad. Not only is it a luxurious and beautiful place to live, but everyone is perfect. Or at least according to Oscar's father who writes messages that subliminally fill everyone's minds at all times. Not only do the messages alter and affect behavior, they are an addictive drug that can't be lived without.
Oscar fights the messages and even runs a side business helping kids get out of Candor before they fall victim to the messages. But one day a girl comes and Oscar really likes her. Will he help her escape or keep her there forever so that he never has to say good-bye?
I easily read Candor
in a day, New Year's Day in fact, and thought it was very engaging. I even felt like I was fighting off the messages at times myself and felt exhausted from it. When I turned the last page, I thought I was going to move on.
But in some ways I haven't. My mind keeps revisiting this story and all the fascinating moral questions it raises. From the necessary but jarring ending I've worked backwards through the story to contemplate every step that led to it. And I find myself wishing I had a book group to discuss the book with.
The writing isn't amazing, but it certainly delivers. What stands out to me about Candor is the murkiness the reader feels, just as Oscar feels it. Oscar is never quite sure whether or not his actions and choices are his own or a result of the messages he is constantly devouring. He can never be sure that what's happening is genuine and he feels powerless over his circumstances even as the reader does as well.
How much is someone really responsible for their actions when they're constantly being force fed propaganda? And is that propaganda worth it if it means people are respectful of each other? These are just some of the questions I've been pondering since finishing Candor
I'm glad to note that Candor
has been shorlisted for a CYBILS award in the category of Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Source of Book: Michelle sent it to me.
Publisher: Egmont USA
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