Published: September 22nd 2009, Egmont
Pages: 287 pages, paperback
Series?: Nope, it’s a standalone
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by Egmont
Summary (from Goodreads): The picture-perfect new town of Candor, Florida, is attracting more and more new families, drawn by its postcard-like small-town feel, with white picket fences, spanking-new but old-fashioned-looking homes, and neighborliness.
But the parents are drawn by something else as well. They know that in Candor their obstreperous teenagers will somehow become rewired - they'll learn to respect their elders, to do their chores, and enjoy their homework. They'll give up the tattoos, metal music, and partying that have been driving their parents crazy. They'll become every parent's dream.
My review: I’m in two minds about how I felt about Candor so I’m not really sure if this is a positive or negative review. Honestly, I do feel a little let down as I think it had so much potential but then I can’t help but rate it quite highly as there were some great element to the story.
The premise itself is great; a little reminiscent of Uglies and Unwind but different enough that it didn’t just feel like another dystopian YA novel (though I am a fan of the genre). I thought it was interesting how parents were drawn to the town, knowing that their teenagers would stop rebelling and become easy to manage but at the cost of their individuality.
The cover of Candor is great (mine is the Australian cover), really intriguing and it’s sure to draw readers towards the book. So far, so good. However, for me the problems came with the actual execution of the book. I found the writing a little lacklustre and while nothing was really wrong with the dialogue or sentence structure I wasn’t blown away. The market is so competitive at the moment that I really think the writing has to be top notch for a book to stand out against the pack. Sadly, I don’t think Candor does.
I thought Oscar was a really strong character and I felt for him as his world unravelled around him, especially the issues with his family and he was really well written and human. However, I didn’t feel a particularly strong connection to any of the other characters, even Nia, who I tried really hard to like.
It’s a shame because I think Candor could have been a really great book as it has such a strong premise. I just think it felt as though it needed a bit more work editorially, then it could have been great. So, I did enjoy Candor but it’s not one I’ll be rereading. If you’re a fan of dystopian YA then it’s worth checking out but if you’re not already a fan of the genre I doubt it would win you over.
First line: ‘Ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk.’
Read if you liked…: Uglies – Scott Westerfeld, Unwind – Neal Shusterman
Total: 14/20 (B)