Review Detail

4.8 7
Young Adult Fiction 6043
Perfect Candor
Overall rating
Writing Style
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).

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.

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.

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
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
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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