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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.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2010
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.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2014
Posted August 16, 2014
Read on August 15, 2014
Kindle Edition, 257 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by EgmontUSA (first published September 22nd 2009)
original title Candor
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
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.
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]
Posted July 13, 2014
Posted June 18, 2014
The 15-year-old waited in the hall for people, looking bored. She wore a plain white button-up with black skinny jeans and white oxfords. Her dark hair was pulled into a messy bun.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2014
Posted April 2, 2014
Posted April 3, 2014
Posted March 9, 2014
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.
Posted May 19, 2013
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 3, 2013
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2013
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 22, 2012
Posted August 11, 2012
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.
Posted May 26, 2012
Posted May 5, 2012
Posted April 7, 2012
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.
Posted March 26, 2012
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)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2012