Storyhelix Review 003: Candid (True Images Series)

One of my most ardent tenet of myself is authenticity. Too many people need it, too many people fake it.

So coming across this book, Candid (True Images Series Book 1), and seeing the “candid” title, made me make an inside joke with myself. Myself thinks I am funny, with my oh-so-droll humor.

Finding out it was set in a high school just added extra humor to my hilariousness cake.

Reading through the story of Sienna, a blossoming photographer with her own blog, rightfully titled “True Images,” she sets out to help make people in her high school see others for who they truly are – good and bad characters alike. It’s during this time when she meets Lee, a gorgeous new student, who seems way out of her league. Throughout the course of the next chapters, he sets out to prove she’s wrong about that assumption.

Immediately, I love the irony. Sienna is someone who can’t see herself for who she truly is, but someone who can see others clearly.

Reading through Lee and Sienna’s developing non-relationship (she is not allowed to date as long as she lives with her mother), it made me smile, made me sigh, made me angry, made me groan, almost made me cry. Made me laugh, made me cringe. Candid had all the good “feels” my high school students love in a book. And I would say it had everything wonderful and terrible about high school I loved and hated and still love and still hate today. (I might have mentioned that a time or two in my other posts.)

Seeing Sienna and Lee’s friendship contrasted against the romance between Sienna’s mother and her teacher brought in some development, as well as various other relationships throughout the book, helped bring in secondary character development.

Things I Especially Loved: 

1. As a high school English teacher, I liked this because it is exactly what teenagers are like. I say this as a teacher, and I say this as someone who hasn’t gone to her high school reunion yet. I remember everything of high school and dating, and this is pretty close without any of the boring parts of reality added in.

2. The recognition of growth and stagnation, as seen in Sienna’s perception of herself, as she realizes her own blind spots in her self-image through Lee’s eyes; this is also seen in Sophia, Sienna’s mother, whose past has badly scarred her, resulting in a stubborn over-protectiveness and unwillingness to trust her daughter. As a mother of a daughter, I can only wonder what my reaction will be when it comes time to worry about dating (or “courting” if you’ve read I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris.)

3. Sienna’s entrepreneurial spirit throughout the book. She works to pay for her equipment, she has her own blog and following, she does her homework and extracurriculars, and she’s asked to sign a contract with the newspaper for her work. She also does photo shoots with her peers and takes photos for stock photo revenue during the story. More teenagers – and perhaps the quarter-life crisis crowd – would greatly benefit from developing (no pun intended) their talents and testing out business models for their passions.

Cheesy/Sweet Teen Movies I would Compare it To: 

  1. A Cinderella Story
  2. High School Musical
  3. Another Cinderella Story (only with photography instead of dancing)

I’ll probably actually watch one of these now. Or maybe I’ll take a look at Focused (True Images Series Book 2). Goodness knows I like stories set in high school!


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