August 9, 2012

Review: Candid, by Michelle Pennington

Author: Michelle Pennington
Title:  Candid
Series: True Images # 1
Publisher: M. Pennington
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle| Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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…” GoodReads’ blurb

Ms. Pennington, you’ve made me fall for a genre I’d not have given the time of day... Well done!

When I was approached to review this title, I had a huge backlog and, as you must know by now, I wasn’t crazy about the whole contemporary concept... But I do have an artsy side and the way this novel centered on photography meant I had to give it a chance.

I think we might be seeing more contemporary around here from this moment on—or at least, more from Michelle Pennington!

The title, Candid, comes from the kind of photography Sienna loves to do best. For those of you like me, who like art but aren’t all that knowledgeable about terms, this means non-posing shots; the kind of caption that manages to portray the essence of who the subject is. This is the weapon Sienna uses to level the field of Haskins High, and I loved the way the author described the images, the feelings... I could see the shots in my mind! Admittedly, I’m not too sure about whether Sienna’s actions were right or wrong: bringing down the mean queen bee is a worthy goal, but she shines the light in people who had remained on the background and this has consequences. For the most part, Sienna is actually helping them—but she’s also placing them in the middle of high school social warzone, and we all know that’s nowhere we’d want to be.

The other main plotline is the relationship between Sienna and Lee, and between Sienna and her mother. I loved the plotting and the amounts of trouble she’d get while wagging her crusade, but this other part was by far my favorite. Sienna’s mom got pregnant too soon and found herself with no support, so she’s adamant that her daughter doesn’t follow in her footsteps. How does she achieve this? By forbidding her dating... until graduation. This goes from okay to overbearing when Lee enters the picture, and then I found myself struggling to keep a level head while circumstances and paranoia kept our main couple from happiness. I must admit, I shouted more than once “Just forget about those stupid rules!”.

I could see a couple of typos, but if I have one complain, it’d be the ending. Something big happens, and the pieces are flailing around in the air. Yes, there’s some sort of closure to both plot lines, but we don’t get to see the consequences to that closure. Specially on the high school war part. I really, really need to know what happens next, why Jordan reacts the way she did, what’s coming next...

Which means that the author did her job, I guess. Consider me a sure reader for True Images #2!


  1. Like you, I'm not much for contemporary, but since I'm not a very visual persson (I rely on my ears and nose much more), I admire people who can not only see beauty, but transfer what they see to other people as well. That alone makes me want to read this. I'm glad you gave it a chance.

    1. After seeing the same kind of plot and relationship all over again in the few and far between contemps I've read, this one was a refreshing change and something I'd really recommend for someone who's getting started in the genre, on top of for old fans. It was beautiful!

      Funny thing, my nose almost never works. And my ears tend to be saturated with metal music, so not much help either... I guess I'm really visual! :)

  2. I have been getting more into contemporary. This sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Perfect book for starting in the genre, I think. I'm pretty sure you'll love it! Might have the same issue I did, with the "wait, what? That's supposed to be the ending?" thingy, but it's worth it.