Thursday, December 10, 2009

Speculative Fiction

Kate has a ton of work to finish during her senior year. She is on every committee, is involved in all sorts of activities, has a steady boyfriend, and wants to go to Yale. It all adds up to a lot of stress, which isn't helped when she starts a SimulLife file on her computer and wakes up the next morning to a virtual clone of herself! Rina is tired of being stuck in the computer game, and wants to go shopping and get out of the house. Since Kate really needs to be in two places at once a lot of the time, she slowly warms to the idea of Rina taking over certain chores for her. This complicates matters when Rina starts making out with a boy from Kate's past and trying to impersonate Kate at college interviews. In the end, Kate learns a lot about herself from the reflection she sees in Rina, and decides to cut the stress and lead her life in a less stressful way. Cherry Cheva's DupliKate was great fun, but I don't know if middle school students will identify with the problems of a high school senior.

Oscar also has stress, although he shouldn't. He lives in the planned community of Candor, Florida, which he father set up after Oscar's brother was killed in a pool accident. Through constant music and subliminal messages, children's behavior is controlled. They respect their parents, do their homework, and don't misbehave at all. Oscar has managed to keep his own thoughts, and when new families move in to the exclusive, expensive development, he helps the teens escape for a hefty price. When the vivacious and defiant Nia moves to town, Oscar sees her as another client, until he starts to fall for her. He also decides that it's time for him to leave, so sets the wheels in motion to finally defy his father. While I'm not big on futuristic dystopian fiction, Pam Bachorz's Candor was very well done. It had interesting characters, good subplots, and was a quick-paced read. Will definitely be buying this one for the fans of Shusterman's Unwind.

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