Book Review: Candor by Pam Bachorz

When I went to spend the remainder of my book budget at my local bookseller a couple of weeks ago, the owner suggested that I pick up a copy of Candor by Pam Bachorz. I had read a couple of online reviews, but this bookseller knows what I like and what my students will like, so I agreed.

And I am so very happy that I did!

Candor is possibly one of the most believable dystopias I have ever read. It has universal appeal, I think, for girls and guys, for teens and adults. I could even see myself using this book in reading circles or as a whole-class read. It's just that real, that scary, that awesome.

It's about this closed-off town in Florida. It was created by a man who was afraid that his family would leave him. So, he decided to purchase a huge chunk of land and build lots of fancy houses and a few little businesses. These houses would be sold at huge prices, partially because they are nice, but mostly because of what they promise. Total control over your children, your wife, your husband, your addictions, your abnormalities. Total.

How? There is music everywhere in this town. It's playing non-stop, even if you can barely hear it. Every track is filled with subliminal messages. Telling you what to think, how to feel. This is the perfect town, if you like "perfect" teens, "perfect" families. If not, you're in danger. Because the the messages will change you. If not, you will be taken away and reprogrammed. Candor will win.

The only teen who's rebelled successfully against these messages for any length of time is the son of the town's creator. Oscar moved to Candor with his mother and father after his brother's tragic death. Shortly after they moved there, Oscar's mother left. For good. And Oscar's father is going to make sure that Oscar never leaves.

But, what Oscar's dad doesn't know is that there is a growing subversive element in this town. That Oscar is helping teens to escape Candor. And, that Oscar has plans to leave and never return. Oscar's dad doesn't know this, but he does know that someone is working against him. And, he's going to find out who it is.

Again, this book is a must for anyone who loves (or even just likes) the dystopian genre. It is so very entertaining, so real-feeling that I could not put it down. Unlike some of the more extravagant and imaginative dystopias, this one has the hallmark of a true story. Which makes it all the more scary. This is Pam Bachorz's first novel--I cannot wait to read another!