The Low Down: Imagine you are an average girl, not popular, not monied, not memorable. That’s just the way Dancia Lewis wants it, considering the horrible thing she is able to do. She lives with her grandmother in very modest surroundings and attends the local high school. She doesn’t allow herself to stand out in any way or have friends, because she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself or have any potential friends put in harm’s way. Though she doesn’t know what causes it or how to control it, when Dancia Lewis gets very upset, she can do things to stop other people.
Now imagine your surprise if representatives from the local private academy come to your modest home and tell you that you have a full scholarship to attend their prestigious school, even though you know that your grades aren’t the best and you have no special talents that a school such as theirs would be looking for. And what if one of those reps is a super nice, handsome, just a year or two older than you, and seems to really want you to sign on? Could a boy like Cam ever like a girl like her?
Then she has a strange encounter with a boy. Jogging one morning, she is nearly run over by a frantic and frightened looking boy who begs her not to tell anyone that she’s seen him. Shortly after, a man in sunglasses drives up and she says there was no boy that she saw. Then she unleashes her power so the man can’t go after him. So, imagine her surprise when she sees this same boy waiting for the Delcroix Academy bus, just like her. Despite Jack’s attitude, she feels a connection to him. Then, when he starts telling her what he believes to be the real purpose at Delcroix, she not only has to decide between Cam and Jack, but she has to decide there is something else going on at Delcroix.
Best Thang ‘Bout It: Though many elements were familiar, such as the not understanding/controlling your power thing, the private academy thing, the mysterious boy thing, the loner thing, the story was engaging enough to pull me through. And yes, there is a triangle, but not one of the love variety. It’s super common in real life for someone to have to decide between their friends and their significant other; much more than having to decide between two potential boyfriends. However, I have the feeling that this may change in future books.
I’m Cranky Because: This story suffers because of a difficult dilemma found in many Young Adult tales: how to explain the lack of parental supervision. It’s done in an OK way here, but it is in no way new or innovative. I find this to be one of my top peeves: convenience writing. Convenience writing is the easy way out; it makes the action go the way you want to without having to invest time in creating the background and plot to make it three dimensional and real. Once something has been written for the first time, everyone else who writes the same type of action from then on has to put a lot more effort and creativity into what they produce.
Should You?: Sure. It is a good book.
The Candidates by Inara Scott was published on August 24, 2010 by Hyperion Book CH.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Ages: 14 and up