Saturday, November 21, 2009

Book Review: "Candor" by Pam Bachorz

I press down the button and there's a hissing sound.
I'm doing it- making a big orange streak on the post, defacing property.  Breaking rules.  My mouth splits into a huge grin.  I can taste the tang of the paint.  But the Messages scream in my brain.  BADBADBAD.
I stuff them back.  Swing the can wide. 
It feels good.

Everything is perfect in the town of Candor, Florida.
Teens respect their elders, do their chores, and enjoy homework... because they're controlled by subliminal messages.

Oscar Banks, the son of the town's founder, is the model of perfection: class president, top student, shining example.  But it's only a disguise.  Unlike all the other Candor teens, he knows about the Messages, and he fights them with his own counterprogramming.

Only Oscar knows how to get kids out of Candor- for a price.  Nobody suspects that he smuggles the richest new kids out of town before they change.  It's risky: if Oscar were caught, he'd be sent straight to the Listening Room, where the most resistant minds are wiped clean.

When Nia moves into town, Oscar is smitten by her tart attitude and ability to see through his perfect-boy front.  He can't stand to see her changed by the Messages.  Now he must decide to help Nia escape Candor and lose her forever, or keep her close and risk exposure.


Well, since many of you know my style by now, you'd know that I thought this book was aMaZiNg, or I would not have been mentioning it for a while now.  What's so cool, is the author, Pam is equally AmAzInG!  She was not only kind enough to give us an interview, BUT, she was Super Kind and also offered up a SIGNED ARC of "Candor" for our next contest!  So here you have it... a Triple Threat- Review, Interview, and Contest!  Keep your eyes open for our next 2 posts, the Interview and then the Contest!

Now, to the important part... what I thought of the book.  I must tell you, I was cruising through one of our followed sites, and this is what kills me, I can't remember which site (i'm sooo sorry), but I stumbled upon this post about a book, Candor and started to read.  The cover is really cool, which I must say caught my attention at first.  It just had "this look" to it that made me continue on.  Believe it or not, I was heading over to Barnes and Noble that night after I read about Candor, went to my usual first stop, the YA new releases, and there on the shelf, with it's part orange cover, was Candor... it begged to be bought, and I caved in.  As you guys know, most of my books for review come from our lovely publisher friends that keep us reading, but I always cruise the local store every week to see if there is anything I missed.  I just had to get this book.  Something was seriously telling me to read it, and boy am I glad that I did... definitely one of my favs. Definitely.  The book was started and finished before I ever went to bed that same night as the trip to B & N.  

Oscar is the town's "model" teen.  This is quite important as his dad had created this "town" where parents could move to, bring their troubled children, and rather quickly, they are turned into the "perfect" child.   It is a community isolated, thanks to Oscar's dad, and one that the residents are thrilled to live in.  A few model perfect homes to choose from, all healthy food, repetition and routine, basically... perfection.  The problem here... it's artificial, controlled by the Messages that Oscar's dad has planted into the mind's of these kids.  Everywhere, all the time, Messages.  The kids don't even know what hit them.  All except one. One who has kept a secret hidden for as long as he could remember. Oscar.  Since his little brother died and Mom was smart enough to leave his Dad, Oscar has known about the messages.  He is controlled by them to a point, but has learned how to fight them off, when he needs to.  This becomes extremely profitable 
for Oscar.  When a new rich kid comes to town, he gets to them before it is too late, and then they are gone.  Gone before it ever affected them.  (of course I'm not going to tell you his "process", as that is for you to learn on your own, as always)

Here comes the quick summary of the rest of the book (well, the rest of the book actually starts on pg. 1!)  Oscar meets the new kid, Nia.  She is different.  She is beautiful, she is rebellious, she is just his next client, his next project, his next deposit into his offshore account.  Or is she??  Oscar finds that he can not stay away from her.  He thinks about her day and night. Between dealing with his current client Sherman, who is just a royal "p.i.t.a" and his "girlfriend" Mandi, who is really just a prop, Oscar does everything he can to be around Nia.  At first she resists him.  He wants to help her, help her escape the horror and nightmare she is about to be subjected to.  He also wants to be with her.  What does he do? Help her escape her future here, keep her on as a girlfriend, or both?  What would the consequences be, the price to pay, regardless of his decision?  

Candor really was a gem.  I mean that.  It had "it".   I normally give you guys just enough to feel what I feel about a book I read, without giving you too much.  I had every intention of doing so here as well.  As I sit here and think about what more to tell you, I am having a hard time.  Usually my reviews flow smoothly for me.  My problem is that I don't want to give you more.  I just want you to read the book and experience it for yourself.  There is plenty that I left out.  The book goes through the problems Oscar faces in getting his ultimate goal, Nia.  The roadblocks... Sherman, Mandi, his Dad, the fear of the town itself and all it's residents are what  I'm leaving out.  The ending was a total surprise for me.  I would not have seen it coming if it was had been sky written above my head!

I can honestly say that "Candor" is one of the most difficult books I have tried to review.  It is not just a story.  It made me think ALOT.  What would happen if something like this, something where Messages started to control us actually happened.  Pam has made it VERY realistic to think that such an event could happen.  It goes beyond a small community.  What if this could happen on a larger scale?  Has it already happened in different form.  Whose to say whether the messages have to be "heard" through speakers and such.  Are we already living the lives that the residents in Candor are living? Do we do what we do because we want to, or because it is what is wanted of us to do? Are we really free to do as we please?  Weird thoughts.  I will wrap this up by  telling you that I really suggest each and every one of you go get this book.  Buy it, borrow it, read it in the store if you want to.... just read it.  I don't think I've let any of you down before with my suggestions or recommendations.  For sure, I will not start now.



  1. I kept seeing this everywhere, and for some reason, when I saw the cover of this, I thought it was going to be some cheesy, sappy, beachy romance (I guess it's the blond heart-throbby boy that gives me that impression), and so I wasn't interested. It wasn't until a few days ago that I actually looked at the description and realized that this is right up my alley, and your review confirmed it. So now I need it in my life. Never judge a book blah blah, right?
    Thanks for the review. :)

  2. I read this book and I LOVE it!! :D:D:D:D

  3. I like how the cover has one color theme and it happens to be orange which is MY FAVORITE color!!! And the boy on the cover is kind of cute :)

  4. OMG this was an awesome review! Thank you! Another book on my wish list!

  5. Oooo - I have been on the fence about this one but your review has sent me over! I'm adding it to my wishlist - thanks!

  6. What an amazing concept. It sounds so creepy and intriguing and wonderfully interesting.
    AmAzInG, even.
    Sounds like it really touched you - I'll definitely be checking this one out!

  7. Ah, what a neato review. It sounds like you really, REALLY loved it. Very cool, and maybe something I'll enjoy.

    It's funny, because I live in Florida, so who knows what it'll mean for me? Unconscious messages? How creepy... I'll definitely look for it.

  8. Twice I have almost purchased this but bought books requested by my students. After reading your review it is a definite must read. great review

  9. I've wanted to read Candor for quite a while now. There hasn't been a huge amount of buzz for it, but the reviews I've seen have all been excellent. I plan on picking it up after Christmas.

    :D Nikki

  10. Not heard of this book but it sounds really cool so I might just have to go check out your

  11. I've seen this book on the 'net and I haven't really thought much of it. But after reading your review, I must say I'm intrigued. It's going on my TBR wishlist.