Candor

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Candor
Overall rating
 
5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Erica

Candor
Pam Pachorz
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Egmont
Pages: 256

Rating: 4.5 stars

In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the towns 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, compliantperfectthrough subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscars built a business sabotaging his fathers scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before theyre turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks?
Then he meets Nia, the girl he cant stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more.


Candor is a fresh take on the sci-fi topic of mind-control while being intriguing, thought-provoking, and almost a little creepy. The thought of teens lives being controlled by messages they don't even realize are there moves it right up the scale. Candor is definately a book to keep your curiousity pumping!

Candor took a few chapters to really pick up, but once it did, there was no putting it down. The story was addicting - I had to know what would happen next. Pam Bachorz kept you guessing at every twist and turn what was going to happen. The ending was the biggest shocker of all!

I loved all the characters, both main and supporting. Oscar and Nia were such opposites in some ways and alike in other ways. Nia was my favorite character, I loved her attitude and her I'm going to do what I want sass. At first I wasn't the biggest fan of Oscar, but the change in character when Nia comes into his life changed my opinion of him. When Nia came into his life, he was still the arogant son of a genius, but he seemed more real. The supporting characters were great as well. Mandi played her role perfectly, letting you see the effect the messages have on the teens. Sherman was another character that at times you were so annoyed with him, but then because the messages controlled his life you found yourself sympathizing with him.

I was expecting something a little different from Oscar and Nia's romance. At first, it seemed there was no basis really and they just fell for each other right away. I didn't feel as much of a build between the two as I expected. Later, you truely can tell the emotions they have for each other are there completely, but to get there seemed a bit of a jump.

Candor is definately one to pick up this fall! I'd pick up a continuation of Candor's story in a heart beat should Pam Bachorz chose to tell us more!
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MORE STARS FOR CANDOR!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, The Original H.I.R. (Historical Investigative Reporter)

Five stars just aren't enough for the book that has everything. And Candor, by Pam Bachorz, definitely has everything. There's mind control. Extortion. Imprisonment. Mysterious evil... Yes, Candor has more twists than a bowl-ful of pretzels!

Candor is the story of the absolutely perfect town of Candor, Florida, where the houses, the stores, the schools--even the shrubbery, are all riddled with hidden speakers that pump subliminal messages into the gullible minds of squeaky-clean teenagers, 24 hours a day.

It is the story of high school senior Oscar Banks, whose bitter father founded the perfect town, and who is the only person--young or old, who has managed to escape Candor's mental prison.

So far.

Like all the other teenagers in town, Oscar is mannerable and obedient. He takes great pains never to bring attention to himself, because one slip could cost him his freedom. But Oscar is living a double life; when he's not feigning mind-numbing obedience, he's de-programming select teens and helping them escape Candor's evil influence.

For a price. Of course.

Everything is perfect for awhile, especially since the teens he helps come from wealthy familes, and can pay a hefty price for his assistance. But one day a rebellious girl with a dark and shameful secret comes to town, and Oscar's world is turned upside down. His intense attraction to her is so distracting, he begins to make mistakes. Suddenly, he must decide whether to ignore his feelings to save his own hide, or help her escape and risk blowing his cover.

This book deserves more than five stars! Bachorz's delightfully urgent, desperately in-your-face style of writing is a breath of fresh air for the sci fi genre. I'm no die-hard sci fi fan, yet this book kept me turning pages and biting my fingernails to the bitter end.

Don't miss this one. The industry will probably be buzzing about it for a long time.
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Perfect Candor
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Deltay

Nowadays, we want YA sci fi that pushes the envelope. Something innovative, curiosity-probing, thought-provoking. Pam Bachorz's Candor more than delivers on that front. With an intriguing characters and a chilling plot line, Candor offers a fresh perspective on the "classic sci-fi themes of conformity and mind control" (back cover).

The
first person present tense works very well here. It draws the audience
in, sharing the experience live as the events unravel. Oscar - the
cheeky little bugger's a very interesting leading man. Bachorz
characterizes him exceptionally; intricate details and little asides
add depth to his character, flaws add realism. Sherman, oh Sherman,
what great comic relief thou dost offer! Mandi too; sure, at first
glance it seems Candor has brainwashed them into the perfect teenagers,
playing their roles perfectly. But can individuality ever be fully
quenched? Quite a stroke of brilliance really - Bachorz manages to
subtly add unique quirks to differentiate each character and explore
the theme of individuality vs. conformity, nature vs. nurture.

And
then of course there's Nia. Spunky, fun, rebellious Nia, whom Oscar
falls for. Bachorz conveys their relationship beautifully. Oscar's
thoughts of the physical are amusing asides, but also add a realm of
realism, to keep it from turning to fluffy sap. There's a real
progression shown in Candor,
of how they develop, eventually relating on a sensual side. And that is
something that takes a lot of skill - something that Bachorz completed
masterfully. (I would've liked to have seen a little more interaction
between the two before the "L" word popped, maybe a little more playful
banter, but that's just me.)

As for the setting, the "world-building" so to speak, Candor
presents a very skewed view of society - skewed, but somehow still
realistic. The Messages, the mind control, Bachorz implemented the
concept beautifully throughout. The new technology, the descriptions
thereof - just like Campbell Banks built the city of Candor from the
ground in the middle of a swamp, Bachorz took words, ideas, and built
them into "perfect" concepts and inventions. The way typical
stereotypes are dealt with is very interesting.

Candor
is very fast-paced, very edge-of-your-seat, and exceptionally hard to
put down. If you must do so for some reason, I would suggest taking
that break before hitting the mid-point, because it only accelerates,
and by that point, you'll be as hooked on
Candor
as its residents are addicted to the Messages. The ending - wow. Just
wow. It was definitely hard to absorb at first, but now, I couldn't
imagine
Candor ending any other way. How many brilliant YA novels have had their impact diminished due to a floundering ending? Not Candor though,
oh no, the ending here fits as perfectly as if it were custom-made in
Candor, a work of Campbell Banks himself. If at all possible, it even
augments the impact, the memorability of the story itself.


Spine-tingling and thought-provoking, Candor
brings up the probing concepts of mind control and how to force
conformity from that. Bachorz has pulled off quite the debut here. In
fact, I'm starting to wonder - has she pulled an Oscar Banks herself
and inserted subliminal Messages into the book? Perhaps, "
Candor is perfect. You will love it."

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Gripping Dystopian Success
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by kim (Book butterfly)

Oscar Banks knows something he should not know. His father, the founder of the painstakingly perfect town of Candor, is manipulating everyone through cleverly crafted subliminal messages. Presumably only parents know what is going on, and they will pay big money to get a plot in Candor if it means transforming a troubled child into a straight-A model student. Any problem can easily be rectified with the repetition of subliminal messaging such as - Never lie to your parents, Studying is your top priority, Candy is unhealthy or my personal favorite -Respectful space in every place!

The premise of Candor is that no matter how strong you may think you are, your subconscious is processing incoming messages, and when manipulated just the right way, it will obey. The worst part is that you have no idea you are being controlled. Forget having your own personality, hobbies, or tastes. Forget ever doing anything the least bit fun or adventurous. Makes you cringe to think about right? Well, just imagine finding out it was your control freak father who was masterminding this whole nightmare!

Youre probably thinking, Well, just stop listening to them or Get out of town and never come back, right? Lets just say, that those who have tried to stop listening have met with some very, very, unpleasant side effects. So, if youre Oscar Banks, what do you do? Well, you cant call the nearest news station or the police. Dear old Dad pays off everyone with his bribes. Besides, if he found out that it was you, you'd be given a power brainwash faster than you can say Always obey your parents! In order to survive, Oscar must maintain the perfect facade of a straight laced Candor prodigy. Unbeknownst to his father, Oscar also helps teenagers slip out of Candor without being caught or any worse for the wear, but his services aren't cheap. Its a profitable side business, and one that Oscar employs to fund his own eventual departure from Candor. That is until Nia, an artistic free spirit moves into town and turns his world upside down. Oscar can't bear the thought of Nia becoming just another brainwashed Candor automaton. But he must decide just how far he's will to risk his own safety in order to help Nia. It's only a matter of time before everyone gives in to the messages.

Candor is a brilliantly written, gripping novel. From page one, I was completely taken in by the believable teenage voice of Oscar, and Bachorz completely kept me on my toes with the plot line. I kept wondering will Oscar leave? and just when I thought I had it all figured out, some totally unexpected twist would occur, leaving me floored. The fact that Oscar was a bad boy masquerading as a secret goody-goody added a welcome dose of humor to the novel as well. As for Oscars dad, I truly despised him. Yet, Bachorz does such a great job explaining character motivations that I could understand why he was driven to create his idea of a perfect world", even though I would never condone it.

Bottom Line- Candor is an exciting debut novel and dystopian sci-fi success! The development of the relationship between Oscar, with his quiet rebellious nature and the dark, fiery Nia was beautifully crafted and fast paced. I loved how Oscar struggled with the messages, despite all his measures to counteract their influence. I could really imagine how difficult it would be to constantly try and stay strong against their influence and what it would be like to just give in now and again

Sometimes its nice to do what the messages say. Its like sinking into a warm bath, eyes shut, arms floating, and letting the water cover my face. I dont have to breathe until someone tells me to. (ARC, Page 51)

I have to add that the ending of Candor left me thirsting for a sequel, and I hope fans of Bachorz can look forward to another installment in the future!
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Interesting
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
What a scary book! Its like the step ford wives only a whole town.
Oliver’s father created a town and anyone who moves in, gets brain washed with his values. When Nia moves in, Oliver sees her as a potential client. Oliver’s been fighting his father’s messages with his own and getting kids out, for a tidy profit, but Nia is different. Oliver finds it harder and harder to play the perfect son around Nia. But when his dad locks her away and Nia comes back brainwashed, Oliver will do anything to get her out of the town.
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Messages Through the Air
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Dave

I have a soft spot for books on utopian societies.  Commentary on worlds, cultures, or, in this case, towns that try to solve and maintain a permanent sense of peace and harmony highlight both the best and worst of our world.

Oscar Banks lives in Candor, a developmental community established by his father where everything and everyone is perfect.  They are kept this way via subliminal audio messages that are worked into the everyday ambience of Candor life.  "Respectful space in every space" keeps young adults from getting to close.  Fortunately for Oscar, he's been able to make some decent money distributing his own sabotage messages for clients that wish to escape the mind-controlled world that is Candor.  

One day, however, his world is shaken forever.  A new girl, Nia Silva, shows up and Oscar decides that instead of helping her escape, he will help save her and have her live, as happily as possible, with him.  As their relationship grows, she becomes very upset when she discovers that he has also been feeding her messages - even if they were to protect her. 

Oscar, left without his love, does everything in his powers to save her and puts himself at great risk in the process.

Overall, this was a very good book.  Stays clean enough to keep it on middle school shelves but has just enough intrigue, romance, and twisted moments to keep even reluctant readers engaged.
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Disappointed
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Yan

I wanted to lavish the book with compliments, with praise, with excitement on my face about how freaking much I love this book. Of course though, theres a but (theres always a but). I had some annoying frustration on my end when I first read Candor.

I guess my biggest reluctance would be Oscar. Oscar at some point seemed childish to me. His attraction to Nia may have resulted to the fact that she represents everything Oscar abhors. Does he only love her because he hates this town, hates his father? Is it because she is different than what he knows? Im going to do a loose (very loose) interpretation to the Oedipus/Oedipal complex. The Oedipus complex is mother-fixated which I connect Oscar with. His mother was different from Candor, his mother loved art, his mother left. That can also describe NiaNia leaves Candor with the help of Oscar. Maybe its just me (Im thinking 99.99% its just me). Some think just seemed off about Oscar, but I guess it takes two to tango. Perhaps it was a combination of Nia and Oscar that dulled the book?

Onto to happy thoughts now. Candor provokes the inner battle of how much can you control someone until the person is no longer one actually. Get rid of the need to breathe, eat, and sleep and you have yourself a town full of robots. There are those who understand this and run, but sometimes its too late. Its the perfect paradise whether you want it or not. Its quite a gripping idea to never have the ability to think for yourself, leave this imprisonment, and gain any sort of freedom. And those that do leave suffer the side effects from the messages. Forever they have to live off these messages or face with the withdrawl from hell.

I didnt get the intensity that many others had. I didnt get the sense of awe that others had. I just had the sense of oh, okay feeling. However this did change toward the last few chapters of Candor. The desperation was palpable, the conflict was strong, and the disdain was tangible. Oh how I wanted to kill some of the characters.

The ending was the most marvelous attribute to the story! I dare not say a peep but just that Candor's ending may have sold me to Pam's next book (should she write one).

Overall: A plotline that was faltered by some of the characterization from its great potential.



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