Friday, April 23, 2010

YA Hot Pick


by Pam Bachorz

Egmont, 2009.

249 pages

The messages are everywhere. Broadcast day and night, even when you are sleeping. The messages control your mind, all your thoughts are not your own. Oscar Bank's father created Candor, a "perfect" town in Florida. He sells homes to people who wish to create their perfect lives with their perfect children. Even the parents are fed subliminal messages to control behaviors. You want to lose weight? Quit smoking? Get rid of all your bad habits? Just put your name on the waiting list for a house in Candor.

Oscar's father has actually invented a new addiction: aural addiction, the addiction to listening. If you decide not to listen to the tapes, or cd's or music, you start to go through a form of withdrawal: migraine headaches and even suicide attempts can follow.

Oscar is strong. He fights the messages. He learns to listen to his own Oscar-made messages that override Candor's messages. He never lets on that he helps kids escape town. When there is a run-away, he is never found. Oscar is building quite a bank account--the kids pay him to help them escape Candor.

His one faltering step, a girl named Nia, is threatening to topple Oscar's enterprise. This book is highly original. This novel sparkles! Kids who like dystopian fiction or a strong male protagonist are sure to like this one.

Highly recommended for YA collections. Grade 7-up.

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