Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: Candor by Pam Bachorz

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.

Part of 1 ARC Tours

First, I think it's important to point out that the synopsis makes Oscar seem extremely selfish. Well, he is selfish, but only to an extent. He's helping people to escape a place that's devoid of any creativity or conflict, and receiving some sort of payment seems like a fair trade. He's also dealing with a father who spends more time dealing with the community than he does with his own son, and missing the other half of his family. When a girl named Nia moves to town, he is immediately attracted to her. This attraction leads Oscar to try and save her from the brainwashing messages, and even to think of escaping himself.

The story was a really interesting one. The town seems perfect to the outside observers. So perfect, in fact, that people are willing to pay millions to get a small plot of land far from the center of town. But inside the borders, Candor is a sinister place . One of the main reasons why people go to Candor is because of their "troubled" teens. I guess these parents don't really mind that the personality gets sucked out of their kids...or that they suddenly are all doing well in school, and participating in all the same activities (of course, the adults don't realize they're getting brainwashed, too).

The book was fairly short, and a quick read. The only thing I would have liked to learn more about was the messages. We know the why of them after learning more about Oscar's sad family history, but I want to know how.

I had just finished reading this book when I saw an interesting commercial. It was for a program created by some behavioral psychologist (although who really knows) and it promised to get rid of "all the problems your teen has". Um, what? The commercial just screamed "Candor", and I cringed a bit at the saccharine smiles of the hired actors posing as happy families. Maybe it was because I'd just finished the book, but this commercial was disturbing.

By Pam Bachorz
Published by EgmontUSA
256 Pages
Rating: B+


Heather G. said...

Yeah, that definitely sounds disturbing! Great review and am very interested now in reading it myself.

Andrea said...

So they are like Stepford teens? Sounds like a good creepy book.

Cecelia said...

The juxtaposition of the commercial with the book DOES sound awfully creepy...Great review, by the way!

Do you think you'd call this one a dystopian novel?

The Book Owl said...

Nice review. I'm really excited to read this! It's been getting good reviews.

Alexia561 said...

Hadn't heard of this one for some reason, but it sounds like a fascinating read! Your review called to mind sort of a Stepford for teens. Will be putting this one on my wishlist! Thanks for a great review!

Unknown said...

I have this book on my shelf right now! I'll get to it one of these days. I did the cover of this book for my Thoughts on a Cover with my 7th graders. They weren't overly impressed by the cover!

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