Friday, January 8, 2010
Candor by Pam Bachorz, reviewed by Fegan
How delightfully creepy! The town of Candor, Florida makes Stepford look like a hippie free-for-all. Everyone is controlled by subliminal messages hidden in the music that is piped in everywhere. The adults are all aware of the Messages, and choose to move there - paying a million dollars or more for a home - in order to 'fix' their wayward children.
The kids have no idea what is going on, with the exception of Oscar - son of the town's founder, above reproach in every way, the model child. If you don't count the offshore bank accounts he has built up helping a select few teens escape before it is too late. And his little hideaway filled with forbidden items, from alcohol and girlie magazines, to art books and M&Ms. And the fact that he makes up CDs with his own subliminal messages to counteract his father's.
Things are fairly under control for Oscar, until Nia moves in. Rebellious, spontaneous, and artistic, she is everything a Candor girl shouldn't be - and Oscar falls hard. How can he keep her in Candor without losing her to the Messages? He has an impossible coice to make, and very little time to decide.
I LOVED the premise of the book and couldn't wait until it came in. I am very happy to say I wasn't disappointed with the delivery! I read 2/3 of it before bed, and every time I woke up in the night I found myself obsessing over what Oscar could or should do. Definitely not one to try to read in spurts! There were a few technical details that niggled at the back of my brain, (SPOILER ALERTS) like why Oscar's father wasn't affected by the Messages (i.e. the ones about telling the truth). Why didn't Oscar try to put his own messages in with the ones his father was transmitting to the whole town? Why hasn't anyone who escaped tried to help their families, or told anyone what is going on? Where the bleep is his mother??? (Really expected her to show up at some point).
Overall, though, a fantastic read, highly recommended for middle and high schoolers - and adults!