posted at Saturday, April 28th, 2012 at 12:16 AM | Reviews, Young Adult
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Published by Amulet Books on May 1, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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.
First Sentence: “I loved being a burrito.”
Chloe’s friends’ complaints definitely have merit. Chloe is kind of annoying and self-obsessed. They definitely were right about that. Under most circumstances, she would be difficult to stomach as a narrator. She’s such a brat, but one who thinks she’s such a sweetie and so caring. No, honey. Just no. I prefer for selfish brats to OWN it. Like I do. Just sayin’. I mean, there’s this scene where she calls one of her former BFs to try to figure out what’s going on and she spends forever on the phone just yakking away WHILE HER GRANDMA IS BLEEDING FROM A WOUND AND WAITING TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. Your social life is a big deal and all but go to the hospital first! This girl is just so clueless.
At first, I was not sympathetic to Chloe’s plight like at all. I mean, I know how much it sucks to be friendless in high school, but she brought it on herself. When I thought her friends had just tired of dealing with her, that’s what I thought. Then I learned exactly why her reputation was in tatters, and, suddenly, I totally had to hope that she recovered her status somewhat, although I still wanted her to grow up and chill out.
Despite knowing that I would totally be annoyed by Chloe if I knew her in real life, her character was very vibrant and interesting. Most of all, I loved her obsession with vintage shoes. Although I’m not a shoe person myself (I wear flip flops most of the year), that’s a really neat hobby to have, and I loved how much joy she got from a pair of shoes. Plus, vintage is cool. I also like the first sentence of the book (in fact, that’s one of the best first sentences I’ve read). When I read the opening, I thought that there was no way Coriell could convince me any self-respecting teen would enjoy a job where they had to dress up in a burrito costume. Well, she proved me wrong. Chloe totally would.
She’s one of those people that you can hardly believe exists that can make anything cool, so she just does what she wants. When it comes right down to it, she’s a seriously odd duck, but she does everything so passionately that she’s really hard to ignore. I also liked that, once she sets her mind to something (a key element), she completely invests herself in it, whatever it is. She certainly is selfish at the outset, and still kind of at the end. However, I can see her being a good girlfriend, because she’ll really want to help him, even if that means helping him with his trash job.
The whole crew at the radio station I loved. Bitchy, but good-hearted, Clementine with a fondness for beets, Frick and Frack (I want to know how they got those nicknames, and Duncan especially. I wish there had been a place like that in my high school, although there probably was and I just didn’t know it. They were all outcasts, but formed their own little supportive social group. Oh, I also need to give a shout out to the awesomeness of Grams. She is completely batty, but the best kind of fictional grandma, right up there with the grandma from Stephanie Plum and from Inara Scott’s Talents series.
There were a few things with which I had a bit of a problem. First off, Chloe has a really weird way of speaking that doesn’t strike me as quite natural. She has invented some slang, like gossip being ‘jellyfish whispers.’ I’m sorry, but that’s not a thing. It derived from the fact that jellyfish sting, I think, but I’m just not feeling it. Chloe also always refers to her best friends as BFs. Can you not? I feel like I would have been less irritated by BFF; I’ve just never heard anyone say BF, except about a boyfriend.
Though the relationship of the book was a slow-burner, it still committed one of my YA romance no-nos. Every time Chloe and Duncan (note: I hate the nickname Dunc) touch, she feels this crazy literal spark. I mean, at one point, he puts his hand on her ankle and she like freaks out mentally about how good it feels. Get over it already. I read about stuff like this all the time in YA, and I really think it’s going to give people unrealistic expectation. Sure, touching someone you like or being touched by them will feel good, but I really doubt there’s going to be an actual spark, unless there’s static electricity in play. Also, why are his eyes silver? I keep reading YA books where people have silver or purple or something. There are plenty of colors in human eyes naturally; please use those, unless you have a way to explain it. At least say that his eyes were grey and so shiny they looked silver.
All things considered, Welcome Caller, This Is Chloe is a really great read. I know I powered through it in no time. In future, I hope to see Coriell do something even better, because I think she shows a lot of potential.
“As Grams treaded water, she tapped my forehead. ‘What’s in here, Poppy, is scarier than anything you’ll encounter in the depths of the ocean. An imagination is a powerful thing.’ “