Goodreads Summary: Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.
But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.
And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.
My Thoughts: The Candidates and I united recently. I'm kind of a cover whore, so I had a crush on this book prior to even knowing what it was about. I hadn't ever heard of Inara Scott prior to seeing The Story Siren's IMM where she got Delcroix Academy's first book and a t-shirt. "Hmmmm," I internally murmured. "I need to find out what this book is about, because if that cover is any indication of the book's quality, count me in!" Not to mention I had chatted with Ms. Scott on Twitter a couple times, and she's incredibly nice. So, I'd heard wonderful things about The Candidates, loved the cover, and thought the author was supa dupa fly. Henceforth, The Candidates took the throne of my ever monumental TBR pile.
Upon meeting 14-year-old Dancia Lewis, I was slightly concerned. She referred to herself in third person on more than one occasion, which reminded me of Smash from Friday Night Lights. Only I was confused, because Dancia is nothing like Smash. She's purposely ostracized herself because she has a secret ability that could potetially kill a fool. Most people would take that and run with it, but Dancia feels completely alone. I had lots of empathy for Dancia. She lost her parents and her grandma is slowly slipping into sporadic senility. (That doesn't keep Grams from being AWESOME, though!) She's quite selfless and loves others, but she is so deathly afraid that she's gonna end lives that she just withdraws completely from society. Then she gets recruited to Delcroix by electrifying manly man, Cam, and meets Jack, the wounded outcast boy who happens to be smokin' fiiiiine and seems to "get" Dancia. Cue the unleashing of hell and hormones.
I was suspicious of "the good guys" the whole time and tended to side with the conspiracy theorist, Jack. I'd also probably have a crush on him if he wasn't 10 years my junior, which is sick and twisted. I seriously wanted to reach into the pages and push Jack and Dancia together like an evil puppetmaster. Except that wouldn't be doing them a disservice, because THEY'RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. And I wanted to verbally spar with Dancia to make her see that. Then again, she is only 14, so I can't expect too much from her. And there's also the fact that she could probably send me to the moon without second thought, literally.
The last 100 pages totally made this book for me. I had an inkling of an idea what Dancia's talent was but I predicted the end would take an entirely different route. I'm impressed with this book, even though it was a little slow for me in the beginning. But finding out exactly what the candidates were and what they're REALLY doing at Delcroix made my eyes sing with joy and fervor. The story totally pulled together and rocked my face off in the end. I have so many questions, still. I really need the Watchers to come out so I can jump back into this world. And to find out about Jack.... sigh.
Series: The Watchers, book two, will be released August 2, 2011.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Hyperion, 293 pages (August 24, 2010)
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