The picture-perfect new town of Candor, Florida, is attracting more and more new families, drawn by its postcard-like small-town feel, with white picket fences, spanking-new but old-fashioned-looking homes, and neighborliness. But the parents are drawn by something else as well. They know that in Candor their obstreperous teenagers will somehow become rewired - they'll learn to respect their elders, to do their chores, and enjoy their homework. They'll give up the tattoos, metal music, and partying that have been driving their parents crazy. They'll become every parent's dream. ---from Goodreads
Candor by Pam Bachorz is a very popular book in my library. Just about all the students rave about the book when they return it. Even two or three reluctant readers returned it with a positive comments. Now that just about never happens. So when an English teacher asked me to help her select a read-aloud book for her sophomore class, I immediately thought of Candor. Only problem---I hadn't read it yet. This week I remedied that when I set aside a day to immerse myself in Candor, Florida and it's despicable secret.
As a quick summary, think of a mash-up between *Stepford Wives (Ira Levine) and Unwind (Neal Shusterman). Except in this book the kids are brain washed to be ideal teens. They want to do their chores, study, and eat their vegetables. As you can imagine, there is a bit of tension with those who have been converted and those who can fight the subliminal messages. It has a lot of action plus it really made me stop and think about what it really means to behave. The book isn't high literature, obviously, but it is solidly written and very intriguing. I will definitely recommend it to students casting about for a good read.
*The Stepford Wives movie made in 1975 not the 2004 version which changed the ending.