4.0 73
by Pam Bachorz

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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 and is student-body president.

But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, perfect, and compliant through subliminal messages that carefully correct and control their…  See more details below


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 and is student-body president.

But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, perfect, and compliant 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.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Bachorz delivers a dystopian novel that takes place in the present, giving the genre a fresh twist. In the town of Candor, conformity is law; negative emotions are banished; and residents are fed a steady diet of subliminal Messages—“Respectful space in every place. Avoid physical contact”—that dull any impulse toward creativity, rebellion or even sexual desire. Oscar Banks, the son of Candor's founder, leads a double life. Secretly, he's the town's biggest rebel—he illegally shuttles kids to freedom before the Messages can take hold (for a price)—while on the surface he's “the model Candor boy.... Proof that the Messages work.” But when Oscar falls for the new girl, Nia, he's forced to rethink his entire identity. Some of the premise is difficult to swallow, such as that within days, residents of Candor become so addicted to the Messages that even a few hours without them could mean death. But Bachorz needs this high-stakes bit to justify why kids can't simply run away. On the whole, it's a compelling story that quickly becomes a page-turner. Be prepared for a chilling ending. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Matthew Weaver
Oscar Banks is the son of the developer of Candor, a small, tight-knit utopian community. But rather than espousing the old cliche that children should be seen and not heard, Oscar's father adheres to the Stepford-ish adage that children should be brainwashed into acting perfectly. Oscar struggles against the secret messages—"Respectful space in every place" and "Studying is your top priority"—that his father puts out over loudspeakers to get the locals to behave, and rebels by slipping his own subliminal messages to the new arrivals. Trouble arrives in the form of an artistic, free spirit Nia, who sets Oscar's hormones raging and might just poke holes in his pretense of being the model son. This novel starts strong, and Nia and Oscar's romance hits all the right notes. A community brainwashing its young adults seems ripe for young adult literature, an instant classic. But the plot stumbles under its own complexity, as the lines become less clear over whether Oscar is rebelling against his father or if he is really his biggest victim. If ambiguity is Bachorz's intention, she is brilliant. The story gets bogged down with uncertainty, taking away the power of the biggest moments, when Oscar meets a brainwashed Nia and the truth ultimately comes out about his activities. These conflicts should leave the readers breathless, but they fail to land with any real impact. The book is clever, but with stronger plotting, it could have been brilliant. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A chilling dystopian novel set in the present. In Candor, FL, all of the teens respect their parents, study religiously, eat nutritiously, obey the rules, are always courteous, and refrain from physical contact. Sound unreal? It is. The citizens are controlled by subliminal messages in music. Those caught disobeying the messages or trying to escape are sent to the Listening Room and have their memories erased. Oscar, teenaged son of the town's founder, is the model Candor boy—except that it's all an act. He has conned everyone into thinking he is perfect while secretly making a huge profit by helping teens escape before they're permanently changed. He has made his own CDs with messages to counteract the official ones. Nothing really touches him until he falls for new girl Nia, a skateboarding graffiti artist with a bad attitude that's sure to get her in trouble. Now, he is faced with the dilemma. Should he help her escape and lose her forever or risk being caught trying to stop her from being turned into a Stepford Wife-like clone if she stays? Readers may be a bit disconcerted by Oscar at first because he is not very likable and his desire for Nia borders on creepily obsessive at times. The rationale for the creation of Candor also seems a bit far-fetched. Still, debut author Bachorz has written a timely and compulsively readable page-turner that has a powerfully affective ending.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
Kirkus Reviews
Everyone is on-message in Candor, Fla. (a planned community not unlike Disney's Celebration), and Oscar Banks's father decides that message through mind-controlling music. For teenagers who have the money and the motivation to escape from Candor, Oscar offers his own rebellious subliminal messages. After falling in love with new arrival Nia, Oscar weighs his perfect persona against Nia's survival, watching as she falls victim to Candor's illusion of perfection. Bachorz's premise causes a momentary chill: Given music's ubiquitous presence today, readers can easily wonder if there's a message lurking in every melody. A nicely paced plot keeps the narrative moving and successfully builds tension. However, Oscar's attempts to rescue Nia quickly move from romantic to disturbing and seem to reinforce an unfortunately stereotypical and dated sense of romance: Women must be forcibly wooed by men who know better. Though his obsessive love rings true and the possibility exists that he moves beyond his damaging mindset, the author's hand is all too evident. Despite the unsuccessful romantic element, overall it's a well-reasoned, creepily possible first novel. (Science fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Fiction - Young Adult
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
HL350L (what's this?)
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years


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Candor 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm on the fence about Candor. I thought the premise of the book had such potential but it just ended up being a boy meets girl kind of story. Oscar was the only character that I liked. I couldn't even grow to like Nia that much...even though I was rooting for her. I wanted more to happen with the plot. The ending was a suprise. Candor is a descent read while waiting for your next favorite sequel to come out.
Galleysmith More than 1 year ago
The most compelling aspect of Candor is less about the rigid life inhabitants are forced to live at the hands of Mr. Banks and more about the father son dynamic that his control creates. Instead of allowing his son to grieve the loss of several family members, instead of creating a relationship built on that common ground Mr. Banks forces Oscar to rebel against unusual circumstances in a less than ordinary way. Compelled to fight for free will not just for himself but for his classmates as well Oscar's main foe is the one person he should be relying on most. In this way Oscar is actually a true teenager as he sneaks around and tries to keep his father at bay. The difference being the consequences of success or failure are much more extreme than the typical teenage rebellion about music or grades or selection of friends. What is most interesting is that it is in Oscar's final selfless gesture to the only person who he felt understood him, the only person he wanted to share his time and his life with, that the father-son relationship that Mr. Banks so longed for is solidified. It is in this act that Oscar becomes everything he never wanted. It is this element of the story that had the greatest and most profound impact. Written with an understated eloquence and subtlty Bachorz created an eerily robotic and somewhat disconcerting burg in Candor. The characters were over the top perky and conscientious yet rarely annoying to the reader. They exhibited traits of perfection, they were the ultimate in submission and all the while small traces of individuality leaked through in desperate attempts to show that there were still people in the mindless bodies created by Mr. Banks. The irony of it all was that Mr. Banks ended up being the most robotic and least feeling character of them all. In his desperation to forget his wife and oldest son he lost all ability to effectively communicate, he lost the ability to discern right from wrong, and ultimately he became so mired in denial and avoidance that he was no longer able to do more than provide a service to community members. He got from point A to point B by controlling every aspect of everyone's life. Another interesting, and quite ironic, element of the story I truly enjoyed was the fact that Oscar used the same means his father undertook to try and preserve individuality. His own mind control tapes were designed to keep people themselves but in doing so he irradiated the true meaning of individuality and free will. There was still someone controlling their lives. One of the things I adored most about this book was that Bachorz wasn't afraid to take risks. Most particularly in how she handled the end. Without spoiling what exactly that ending is the result of Oscar's hard work against his father was shocking in a way that has the ability to make a person weep. Done with great emotion and tremendous realism Bachorz creates a satisfying resolution that makes me yearn for more. Despite having heard of no plans for a sequel I can see there is definitely room to revisit Oscar and Nia. I'd love to get a peak of what happened to each and where they are now. If you like dystopian fare that is less about fantasy and the end of the world then definitely pick up a copy of Candor it's a fabulously interesting and thought provoking read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Add me please.
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Read on August 15, 2014 Book Info  Kindle Edition, 257 pages Published September 29th 2009 by EgmontUSA (first published September 22nd 2009) original title Candor ASIN B002QX439S edition language English literary awards Florida Teens Read Nominee (2010), Cybils Awards Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2009) other editions (17) Source:Kindle version borrowed from Public Library Book Buy Links  Amazon  B&N  BOOK SYNOPSIS 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. My Thoughts Although many have compared this to The Stepford Wives it reminded me immediately of 1998’s Sci-Fi Horror movie Disturbing Behavior which in a nutshell was about the fictional small town of Cradle Bay transforming its unruly teens into upstanding citizens. Featuring a stellar cast of both unknowns and semi-stars this hour and 24 minute film captured the essence of the book synopsis for Candor perfectly for me. After reading Candor my initial impressions were reinforced but even with some similarities to the two movies this unique story spun out in a way that underlined that Oscar Banks got a raw deal from the beginning to the end. Subliminal messages that create compliance notwithstanding there is no way that I personally would have made it one day in a make believe Utopia like Candor, am very glad that this was just a tale of fantasy because to have to live in a perfect controlled environment would be the worst kind of prison as life is meant to be emotional and messy. That said the plot itself was entertaining and enjoyable, if at times a bit too over the top but if you like this kind of fantasy it will make perfect sense from the get go to the end which is all one can ask for. [Kindle version borrowed from Public Library]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oscar is the cutest boy ever!!!! Well along with Four.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sighs and disappears to camp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"It's simple. There's five faction for personalitys" Abnegation-Caring Amity-forgot Candor-trustworthy Erudite-Intellegent Which one best describes you?
KKetch More than 1 year ago
Candor was a thrilling novel that kept me at the edge of my seat. The suspense was amazing, and the concept was horrifying. This novel brings up several social norms and values, each one being similar to something I heard during my life: “The great are never late;” “Respectful space in every place;” “Academics are the key to success.” Innocent enough, right? That’s what I loved. In this town, things are really not what they seem. And it actually makes you wonder, “What if?” What if you had no choice? What if you were forced to conform? These thoughts sent shivers through me while I read Candor. A perfect town? Brainwashed teens? Losing one’s identity? It’s my perfect nightmare, which is why it hooked me into the plot in the first place. And that’s also why I love Oscar and Nia. They were the sore thumb that stuck out in this town. Oscar is a great main character. You can slip right into his head: see what he sees, feel what he feels. I felt for him throughout the entire novel as he tries to protect not only himself, but Nia as well. As for Nia, I loved her rebellious behavior. Her attitude was spicy, always looking for trouble. She and Oscar were a perfect fit, and the romance between them was just heartwarming. There was really only thing that disappointed me. For a book with such thrills and chills, there was absolutely no mystery to how the book was going to end. No surprising twists. No unexpected turn of events. It ended just as I figured it would. However, it did not take away from the fact that it was a good read.
K_Gaul More than 1 year ago
Candor was a really good book. There are a lot of really good characters and some interesting plot twists. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to a teenager.
MonicaEmme More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was going to be awesome based on the hype, but I didn't really connect with the characters. I was excited about the premise, but I think I expected something a little more.
RCMSHumanidorks More than 1 year ago
My 7th grade daughter and I just read it after hearing Pam Bachorz speak at a local book festival.  She told the audience that the town Candor was inspired by Celebration, Florida where she lived for a while.  Celebration is a planned community built by Disney.  Look it up.  Look at the photo gallery on their website...the fountain, the lake, the flagpole and bricks are all there.  Everything in the pictures looks perfect.  Makes reading the story even more eerie.  The ending...not what I was hoping for at all.  Don't know that a sequel could be written...unless Nia comes back...  I don't see how this would fit an AP Eng class but it certainly fits in a Utopia/Dystopia unit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this at sll related to "Divergent" by Veronica Roth?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was interesting and liked both characters but i thought the ending was horrible. ***spoiler alert*** throughout the book we hope nia and oscar get out and stay tiger as one but he gets caught erased and shes gone... really no comeback? She couldnt save him or he couldnt get free? I was hopping the author left the ending open for a sequel but nope.... no plans on making another book. So yea read the book but prepare for a let down. Everyone wants that 'ahhhhh' moment and this book doesnt deliver that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was alright. It didn't have the most interesting plotline though...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good i stayed in my room to read it there realy needs to ne a sequel so if ur dibatin wether or not to get it u should
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was worried that the plot was too unoriginal, but i was happily wrong. The characters were believable and the ending was a great twist to what could have been another cliched romance novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book she should make a sequel and this book should be made into a movie (I'm thinking Alex Pettyfer as Oscar lol)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a decent book. It is more of a girly book than abook for guys. Other than that the book was okay.
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Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
The book Canodor by Pam Bachorz is a great book. It has some detail about the main conflict, but other than that it was an amazing book. I love that he has a " Partner in crime" but the ending does not make any sense.(At least in my eyes) Did she make it? Where did she go? Too many questions that were left unanswered. But other than the unanswered questions it was a great book!It had a little of everything in it, romance, thrilling moments, & has some pretty descpriptive material in it. I would recomend it for anyone that likes a good mystery at the end. I say thumbs up for Candor!
SnowWoman More than 1 year ago
The town of Candor is home to the perfect teenagers. Homework is always done on time, and grades are nothing but the best. But there's something different about candor, and Oscar has figured out what makes this place so "special". People come to Candor to change, to become who their parents have always wanted. But what makes these kids so perfect? Read to find out what happens when Oscar falls in love with NIa and is not willing to let Candor change her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago