February 27, 2011

Review of "Candor"

Pam Bachorz


Pub Date: September 22, 2009
Pages: 256
Publisher: Egmont USA

Synopsis: The picture-perfect new town of Candor, Florida, is attracting more and more new families, drawn by its postcard-like small-town feel, with white picket fences, spanking-new but old-fashioned-looking homes, and neighborliness.

But the parents are drawn by something else as well.  They know that in Candor their obstreperous teenagers will somehow become rewired - they'll learn to respect their elders, to do their chores, and enjoy their homework.  They'll give up the tattoos, metal music, and partying that have been driving their parents crazy.  They'll become every parent's dream.

I LOVED "Candor"!  This may sound crazy, but the plot seemed completely plausible to me- parents sick of their teenagers misbehaving and bringing them to a community where they will become perfect citizens.  It just seems like there is so much stress on children to be perfect from a young age and it seems like some parents would do anything/ pay anything to make their children perfect.  A community promising to turn your troubled teen into someone who is polite, who enjoys to do homework, that seems too good for many parents to pass up.  It was really creepy to see how fast teens' attitudes changed once the messages sunk in and how no one seemed to notice how everyone was the same.  It would drive me nuts being in a community where everyone had the same scripted reaction to any question or situation.

I really enjoyed Oscar and Nia's characters; even though there were times where I wanted to shake Nia for not being more aware of the danger she was putting herself in and slap Oscar for being kind of a dick.  Oscar is the main character of the book, but he isn't exactly the white knight you expect; he takes advantage of the people he is trying to help, especially the beautiful girls, but he does put his life on the line to help Nia even though she will bring him trouble.  Nia is a very vibrant character- she may do stupid things, but I really enjoy waiting to see what crazy thing she’ll do next.

I feel like "Candor" packs a lot of punch in an average length book.  There are so many teen books now that are over 400 pages, that it is nice to see an author choose to say a lot without over writing.  I also like that the book only takes place in a matter of a few weeks, making the changes you see in the characters even more shocking.  I also really loved the ending of the book, it wasn't the typical ending I would normally expect from a dystopian fiction, but I didn't mind it one bit.  I couldn't really picture the book ending in another way.

This is a book that both boys and girl would pick up and enjoy.  The main character is male, but the two main female characters are interesting enough for girls.  I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed "The Hunger Games" and "Matched". I can't believe it took me so long to pick up this book, but I am glad I kept it on my list!

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