Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Of Creepy Towns and Other Things

What I'm listening to right now: Solitude Standing, Suzanne Vega
What mood I'm in today: Writing

Have you ever seen the X-Files episode Arcadia? If you haven't, I'll give a brief recap. Mulder and Scully move into a spotless neighborhood, undercover as a married couple. The houses all look pretty much the same, there are countless rules and regulations to follow, and if anyone ever breaks a rule they end up dead. This is why I've never moved to a structured development.

Candor by Pam Bachorz is somewhere along these lines. The title is actually the name of the town, although I still think it's meaning (The quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.) has a sort of underlying, twisted implement as well.
We start out by meeting Oscar, the main character and voice. His dad runs Candor; charges insane amounts of money for people to live there. Everything is structure. No one breaks the rules. And the reason why is because he feeds them subliminal messages through music. Oscar, however, knows all about the Messages (I love that this is capitalized throughout the book). He creates his own messages to counter his father's. He helps kids escape Candor, as long as they pay him, right up until Nia moves in.
Nia's a little bit of a bad girl, and Oscar is afraid the town will turn her into something she's not. He likes her the way she is, and decides to feed her his own Messages and not tell her about leaving town or that it's even an option. He wants to keep her there.
After one of his client's escapes fails, things start to change. Someone knows about the Message, and his father will do anything to put a stop to it. When Nia finds out what's been going on, she accuses Oscar of making her like him and literally goes out on the town, vandilizing along the way. When she does get caught, Oscar's father takes her (and the fat kid who seems to ruin everything) into The Listening Room, a place where memories are wiped clean. Nia is changed into someone completely different, and Oscar finally realizes he has to help her escape in order to save her.
An interesting love story of sorts. My favorite part is what Oscar sacrifices for the girl he loves. Things don't go his way, but it's not necessarily the end for him either. I won't give a spoiler alert here; you'll have to read it for yourself!
Overall, I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. (By the way, I rarely give 5 out of 5). A new idea, this book, written in Collin's style (..I say, I sit down - present tense), is a great read for young adults and old alike.
As always, Happy Reading!