Pub. Date: September 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town’s founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause. But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar’s built a business sabotaging his father’s scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they’re turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks? Then he meets Nia, the girl he can’t stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more.
One of the most awaited debuts in 2009, Candor was also, to me, one of the most creative YA novels of the year.
The story had a light touch of science - brainwashing, something usually drives me zillions of miles away from a book. Surprisingly, it sounded very interesting and not quite heavy. The author chose music - a pleasant outlet- to be the most frightening thing in Candor ever. It appeared as a kind of wise irony, besides, it also helped make the whole thing less dry. This premise was the best Candor could offer and it would unfailingly suck the readers into the story.
If you asked me what was most outstanding feature of the book I would definitely say the atmosphere. Pam Bachorz's writing was beautiful - she successfully created an extreme town - it felt so cold and haunted throughout the chapters. Everything seemed fine but deep down there were so many secrets. Even when a lot characters made their appearance, I still felt like they weren't real at all and all the time it was Oscar alone. The mood was hopeless, futureless.
I have to say I wasn't thrilled about the leads - Oscar lacked something that was realistic and relatable; his love for Nia was too sudden, when he talked about her he seemed mature and naughty yet when she was around he acted like a boy needing comfort from an adult. As for Nia, she was claimed to be strong, different and rebellious but I felt that her personalities weren't strong enough. In fact, I don't think I knew enough of her. Having said that, both of them had brought me through lots of emotions when the story reached its climax. I especially liked the part when Oscar fought alone to bring Nia back to her own self, how he managed to keep on going in an unequal battle. It was herotic and plain awesome.
Have you ever come across a book one chapter of which excelled the rest? If not, there I introduce Candor to you. Its ending was fabulous. It was beyond prediction. The whole story was more meaningful and unforgettable because of it. That chapter made the ratings for Candor go higher in fact.
A movie-like story with a twist. Doesn't matter if you like science or not, pick it up.