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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winner: Behemoth

I am, of course, really late getting this winner announced. It's been an interesting month...

But I'm happy to say that mathsie is has won herself a copy of Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld. Please email me to claim your prize! :)

Thanks everyone who entered, and keep an eye out for our next contest.

~ Vilate

Monday, November 15, 2010

Teen Fiction Tuesday: When it Happens

When It Happens, by Susane Colasanti

Publisher: Speak
Pages: 310
Reading Level: 15 and up
Enjoyment Level: medium/high

I found this book simply by browsing. I get half of my books just randomly. I liked what I read on the back cover so I got it.

Reminiscent of the movie, Say Anything, a debut novel for all those searching for The One!

Sara and Tobey couldn't be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she's thrilled. But then there's Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey's goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey's real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

I like a good love story. It doesn’t have to be complicated - just a love story. This is one of those. High school problems, boy meets girl, boy pisses girl off, girl forgives boy, and they run off to college together. The characters were fun and frustrating at times to me and to each other.

It all worked - there wasn’t any point in the book that I said “huh? “ I believed these people, I liked these people. They had me rooting for them and their relationship even in the moments that they weren’t. There is something so fabulous about such an uncomplicated love story.

I would recommend this book to an older audience; there are some mature situations and language in this book.

: Thyra :