Candor by Pam Bachorz (September 22nd 2009—Egmont)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary: “Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.”
Review: 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, there’s a but (there’s 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? I’m 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 Nia—Nia leaves Candor with the help of Oscar. Maybe it’s just me (I’m thinking 99.99% it’s 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 it’s too late. It’s the perfect paradise whether you want it or not. It’s 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 didn’t get the intensity that many others had. I didn’t 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.