Book Review: Candid (True Images #1) by Michelle Pennington

Life is simple for high school senior, Sienna Whitfield. With a few good friends, a camera, and a dream, she has everything she needs to be happy. But when Jordan Rubio, the most popular girl at Haskins High, makes her mad, she decides to use the power of photography to right a few social wrongs. As if that doesn’t cause enough drama in her life, she realizes she’s falling for the new guy, Lee Franklin. Strong and protective, he’s just what she needs to survive the craziness she’s stirred up at school. If only she didn’t have to keep her feelings for Lee a secret from her mom…

Release Date: April 17, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Review copy from author

What a well-written contemporary young adult novel!  I really enjoyed Candid.  I was intrigued by the summary, especially this part:
"she decides to use the power of photography to right a few social wrongs."  
I would have loved to have the gumption and means to do that during high school.  I was not one of the popular kids...I was in Advanced Placement classes and the band (guess that makes me a nerd), although I was also a twirler so that helped balance things out.  However, I was very, very far from the group of popular students.  And, freshman year, I was a target for a group of popular kids in my biology class.  I'll never forget what being bullied and taunted felt like.   

So, I totally understood Sienna's frustration with the 'mean girls.'  For no apparent reason, the most popular girl in school, Jordan, decides to start making fun of Sienna.  Instead of just sitting back and taking the abuse, Sienna decides to fight back.  She takes photos at school events, namely football games, for the school paper and yearbook committee.  Sienna constantly has her camera with her.  She starts posting some attention-worthy pictures, snapped candidly, on her blog.  These pictures place the popular kids in a new light, not a favorable light, like they expect.  Soon, word about Sienna's blog gets out, and Sienna's influence brings some students into popularity, and takes others, like Jordan, down a few notches.

In the midst of all of this, Sienna starts a friendship and then something more with the new guy at school, Lee.  Only problem is, one, she's not allowed to date, and two, Jordan wants Lee for herself.

There were a lot of things I really liked about Candid.  I liked the premise, and Sienna's strength of character.  I liked how she stood up for herself.  I loved the tension between Sienna and Lee.  Things as simple as walking to class together and holding hands were thrilling for them, and the emotions were very sweetly written.  That falling-in-love feeling really took me back to my teen years.  I thought the way Sienna's mother's past was written into the story was very well-handled and the conflict and eventual resolution between Sienna and her mother was a great addition to the story.

I had two problems with Candid.  The ending felt pretty abrupt to me, and the events at the end of the book were too predictable.  I would have liked a little more of a surprise.  Sienna was brave but sometimes just too trusting and impulsive.  I would have liked to see more foresight from her with regards to her social experiment.

Other than that, I really enjoyed Candid.  It's a fun, fast read.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the True Images series!  

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