Candor by Pam Bachorz

Candor is a friendly and clean planned community. It's citizens are happy, teenagers are college-minded and always respectful. Even if parents have had trouble with their kids prior to moving to Candor, the cookie-cutter perfection of the town cannot but help rub off on them. After only a few weeks parents begin noticing that their offspring have become model teens: modest, studious, polite, and healthy. Could it be something in the water of Candor that changes everyone into white picket fence, picture-perfect, perma-smile families?

No, don't be silly. It's actually in what they hear.

Oscar's father has created the cure-all for any worried parent in the form of a pricey, perfect planned community. Pedestrian friendly shopping and schools close to home sprinkled among picturesque parks. Though he's taken this master plan a step further than most builders by including a stream of constant subliminal messages filtered daily to every inhabitant. The messages can make you lose weight, quit that lingering bad habit or even make you think you're in love. Having been around Candor since it's inception, teenage Oscar has worked hard to combat his father's constant brain-washing. He's successfully fooled an entire town into thinking he's the perfect son while secretly helping other kids break free of the system that allows no room for differences. Oscar himself is content to wait for escape until the perfect moment comes along. Then the lovely, rebellious Nia becomes Candor's newest resident and although she could mean the downfall of everything Oscar has worked so hard for, he finds himself ready to do anything to help her escape 'normalfication.'

Talk about your disturbing dystopian concept to keep you awake at night. In the first instance that someone would even go so far as to try to control everyone around them using subliminal messages and secondly, that any parent would knowingly submit their children to such a fate. I must say, however that no parent is half as sinister as Oscar's dear old dad. His controlling persona is a force to be reckoned with and Oscar is very believable as a teen who not only wants to escape the brain-washing while still seeking his father's approval. In fact, I was highly impressed with the entire set-up of Candor. That said, there was a definite lack of substance to the novel. Weighing in at just over 200 pages, it didn't seem like Pam Bachorz took the time to adequately flesh out Oscar (or anyone really) as a character. Although I understood his initial attraction to Nia (she was completely different that anyone else he had ever met), I never really saw him truly falling for her or understood why he took the steps he did to ensure her safety. I won't say any more than that for risk of spoilers, but I'll just say that their relationship never really quite made it off the ground. Which is unfortunate since Candor had the potential of becoming really quite special.

What I really love about this book is the rockin' cover. That shiny piece of marketing was one of the main reasons I decided to pick Candor up in the first place (besides being a Cybils finalist). The guy on the cover is close to what I had in mind for pretty-boy Oscar and those little paper houses are something special. And the book itself? A nice bright spray-paint orange reminiscent of the delinquent Nia.  

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
The Book Butterfly review
The Book Nest review
The Compulsive Reader review
My Friend Amy review
Not Enough Bookshelves review

book source: purchased

1 comment:

Brenda said...

I've got this one on my TBR. It sounds good!