Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriel

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

I wasn't too optimistic while I was reading the first few chapters of Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe. I found Chloe to be a bit needy and insecure, and I thought that her (former) friends were kind of shallow and extremely mean. By the 5th chapter, though, I was hooked.

From being one of the more popular girls at school, Chloe suddenly finds herself a loser. Her former friend Brie has smeared her reputation with baseless lies. Adding to her woes is her new guidance counselor who vetoes her independent study program and urges her to do her independent study program on the school's radio station.

Chloe's voice was very authentic, and I had no trouble imagining this high school junior and her life. The neediness and insecurity that Chloe showed is typical of most teenage girls, and thankfully, by the end of the book, she had already learned to control it. Her growth made it easier to like her and sympathize with the events that happen in her life.

Another thing that the novel had going for it was the way that Ms. Coriell portrayed the characters' relationships. The dynamics between the characters felt unforced and genuine. Trust me, I know what it's like to have an ill grandmother and a worried mother who would simultaneously want to help my grandmother and want to freak out, and what it's like to have best friends turn on you. Ms. Coriell definitely got it right. I'm also very glad that Chloe didn't go Bella (read: co-dependent) on Duncan, although there were a couple of moments when it felt like she was on the verge of it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing me with an e-copy. Publication date of Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe is on May 1, 2012.

  1. Believable characters. The characters were so well-fleshed-out that it felt like there were no minor characters.
  2. Cute love story.
  3. Chloe. Chloe was a character that might annoy you at first, but she's actually quite loveable. Think Polyanna, but less saccharine-sweet.
  1. Chloe's shoe obsession. I'm not a fan of shoes, so I didn't really get the whole shoe love that Chloe had going on. If you're a shoe fan, though, I think you might find Chloe's observations accurate and her shoes envy-worthy.
  2. There was a twist near the end of the story that felt unnecessary.
I raised Duncan's hands to my lips. First I kissed one palm, then the other. "When you feel lonely, I'll be there."
Duncan stared at his palms and wrapped his fingers around my kisses.
  1. You like YA novels with a believable cast of characters.
  2. You like YA novels were it's not just about the lead female character getting a boyfriend.
  3. You like fashionable heroines.



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