Myra Sullivan's Reviews > Candor

Candor by Pam Bachorz
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Dec 08, 2010

really liked it
Read from August 27 to 31, 2011 — I own a copy

I always internally debate on whether writing a book review immediately after having read a book is a good thing or a bad thing. I can see why it would be a good thing- everything is still fresh in your mind, you can comment accurately and provide supporting evidence efficiently, and (if you're like me and have to review everything you read) you get it out of the way and are done with it and it doesn't end up on your list-of-things-to-do for the next 3 weeks. However, there are certain books, like Candor, that really make me wonder if I should wait to write a book review. Why? Because I am so emotionally caught up in the book that I don't even think I can write properly. :/

But this time, I think I'll go with it anyway.

In the town of Candor, Florida everybody is perfect. All teens do exactly as their parents want and actually LIKE doing their homework. It could be because they're just awesome...or because they're being controlled by subconscious messages. In this case, it is the latter. Oscar is the son of the town's founder and the most perfect one of all- on the surface. It turns out Oscar is the only one apart from his father who actually knows what's going on. He even has a way to beat it and runs his own business of getting teens out of the town for a price. But all of this changes the day Nia moves to Candor.

I have heard this story being called "Stepford Wives for Teens" and have to say that that's a pretty good description of it. In my case however, I was reminded of another book. For the most part, you can refer to my review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Both of these books are dystopian YA novels and there's actually a very similar main concept that runs through both. Interestingly, the two books are sort of "flipped". The main character in Candor is a boy (yes, that makes me biased from the start, I know) whereas in Delirium it was a girl. In Candor, we get to see the bizarre "perfect world" from a normal person's point of view, and see how he fights it. In Delirium, we saw it from a brainwashed person's point of view, and watched their reaction and retaliation unfold. Both of these perspectives are important, and extremely thought-provoking. Candor is written just as well as Delirium, although Bachorz's writing style is vastly different from Oliver's. There was a LOT more dialogue (which I LOVED) rather than lengthy descriptive prose. Similar to how the reader is frustrated with Lena initially in Delirium, you also feel a sort of irritated frustration with Oscar and his stereotypical teenage-boy-ways. (Or maybe that's just because I'm a girl?) However, you come to respect both at the end when you realize how much the character has grown and changed.

The only reason this book gets 4 stars rather than 5 is because of the ending. (Again, VERY similar to Delirium.) The only thing that saved my sanity with the latter book was that I found out after reading it that it was the first in a trilogy. With Candor this does not seem to be the case. As far as I know, Bachorz is not currently writing a sequel. I can only hope that she does get around to writing one sometime in the near future though- part of my review assumes that she will and that she won't leave things the way they are right now. If no sequel is ever written, I may have to lower my rating. :( I know it must be considered wrong in the Book of How to Write a Book Review to rate a book based on the-sequel-that-you-think-may-appear-later-on but I can't help myself. This story is too good to NOT have a sequel.

I hope Pam Bachorz realizes that. :)
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