Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review: Candor by Pam Bachorz

*Comments on this post will go toward my Library Week challenge*
Candor is the perfect place to live - teenagers respecting their elders and never talking back to their parents.  Everyone is happy and kind and good, especially the model kid Oscar Banks.  He has to be, since he's the son of the founder of Candor.  But, Oscar hides behind the persona of the perfect son and leads a double life - you see he knows about the messages that brainwash all the teens (and their parents sometimes too).  He's secretly been creating his own messages to fight the brainwashing - he's been in control for a while now.  But, when a new girl comes to town with spunk and personality, he might not be able to control everything anymore.


Things I Liked:
It was definitely an interesting and near the end an exciting read.  I love the concept of someone creating a "perfect" town where everyone conforms to certain ideas and the teenagers are all well-behaved.  Nothing like a bit of mind-control to make you cling to your independence and choices.  I liked the characters, though I think I might have liked Mandi more than I did Nia.  I wasn't always rooting for Oscar, since sometimes he seemed almost as manipulative as his dad, but I liked his choices better than his dad's.  The ending definitely was perfect for the book, if not exactly wonderful.  This is one that will keep you thinking about it for days afterward, imagining what this place would be like and shuddering at Oscar's father.  I thought this quote was really interesting too:

"Sometimes it's nice to do what the Messages say.  It's like sinking into a warm bath, eyes shut, arms floating, and letting the water cover my face.  I don't have to breathe until someone tells me to." p 51
Things I Didn't Like:
The writing and the story near the beginning did not grab me.  I felt a little put off by the style - it was sparse and plain.  Also, it was a bit boring at first.  But, it definitely picked up.  Oscar started to annoy me with how callous he was about girls - perhaps an accurate portrayal of some teenage boys, but still annoying.  


Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Giver and Messenger by Lois Lowry
Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

s-factor: !@
some, but not too much

mrg-factor: XX
mild, but ubiquitous (it felt like)

v-factor: ->
some disturbing images, but nothing graphic

Overall rating: ****

What scares you the most about dystopian books?


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  1. I think that this book sounds like an interesting read...reminds me a bit of The Stepford Wives. Have you read that one? It is a small book but quite creepy IMO :)

  2. mmmmm mind control and malipulation.. sounds interesting and very scarry.

  3. What scares me the most is that some of these books could truly be our future!

    This one sounds interesting. I'll keep my eye out for it.

  4. samantha, I haven't read Stepford, though I kind of know the basic premise. I'll have to see if I can get a hold of it!

    Penny, it is quite creepy!

    Suey, doesn't that just make them even more frightening? I'm hoping none that I've read so far are too close to the truth!

  5. I don't know that dystopian fiction scares me so much as it makes me sad. What scares me is that most of the books have pretty good explanations about how the world became so dystopian!

  6. Ms. Yingling, what an excellent point! Isn't it sad that the descriptions don't (usually) seem that hard to beleive?

  7. What scared me most about this book in particular is that you can never stop listening to the messages, even if you leave the town. That just made me really really sad.

  8. Caroline, oh that is the saddest part! Even if it is the "good" messages.


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