Oscar Banks is a perfect teenager in a town of perfect people. In Candor, everybody is happy, healthy, polite, and perfect. Teenagers love their vegetables and their homework, they're friends with everybody, and they never fight or have sex. They don't even get piercings or wear makeup or dark colored clothes.
Only Oscar knows the town's secret. The soft music playing everywhere is layered with subliminal messages. The residents of Candor aren't perfect because they want to be, they're perfect because they have no choice. Do you have a problem kid? Just move to Candor. In days, your child will be cooking you breakfast and dreaming of Yale.
Oscar has figured out how to subvert the system. He's made his own messages, messages that help him stay sane. And for a price, he'll help new kids escape Candor. But when a new girl arrives in Candor one day, Oscar falls for her - and falls hard...
I devoured this book and frankly I thought it was brilliant.
Honestly, the only reason it didn't get five stars was a few implausible bits that I couldn't quite suspend disbelief for. Otherwise it was original, unique, interesting, well-paced, enjoyable, exciting, and oh, I loved/hated the ending. But it's been a while since I've had such a strong emotional reaction to any plot, so I thought it was worth reading just for that.
Oscar is awful. He only works in exchange for money or sex, he's selfish and hypocritical and egotistical, and just downright arrogant. I loved him to death.
I also, surprisingly, came to like some of the side characters which I disliked at first - Mandi and Nia, specifically. I even developed an intense disgust with Sherman. I ended up connecting with all of the characters emotionally and it was all too easy to think of them as real people. Even Oscar's dad, who I will only describe as a nasty little worm.
Oscar made a fabulous narrator. The writing was interesting, exciting, enjoyable, and well done. Bachorz is quite talented.
End Result: five stars. An excellent book. Read it.