Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sci-fi Sunday: Candor

Candor, by Pam Bachorz

Publisher: Egmont, USA
Pages: 249
Reading Level: 14 and Up
Enjoyment Level: High

This was an impulse buy at the Austin Teen Book Festival a few weeks ago. I had a little extra cash and decided to spend it on Candor after hearing Pam Bachorz in her panel.

From GoodReads:

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.

On one hand, this book is seriously creepy. Controlling people with subliminal messages isn’t necessarily a new concept, but Candor puts an interesting spin on the idea. Oscar’s father doles out subliminal messages to everyone, but he caters to wealthy parents who want to control and change their children. It pings my creepy-bone to think that there would be people out there who pay someone to subliminally alter their kids, just because something isn’t good enough.

And on the other hand, it’s not exactly a horror story. Oscar is a pretty likeable guy. Even though he aims to profit off the kids he helps, there’s still a strong thread of decency for him, which helps him as the story progresses. He makes some mistakes, but ultimately makes the right choices and he develops into a self-sacrificing guy.

The pacing of the book is good. I couldn’t put it down, but didn’t feel like I had to rush through it to find out how it all turned out. There were plenty of places where I had to put it down because of the tingly, weird feeling that someone was watching me…

This is what good science fiction should always be. It’s fiction, but it’s plausible. Strong characters drive the novel, making the science seem even more plausible. Oscar is a great male lead, and the whole thing is interesting enough to get older reluctant readers to pick it up and enjoy it.

Until next time, go read something!

~ Vilate

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