Friday, January 20, 2012

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

 "It's not about the space but how you fill it."

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 just want to give the cover artist for this book a vivacious round of applause. The colors, the clarity, the set-up, all make this cover pop. I can already tell this will be one of my favorite covers of the year.

Chloe has personality, that much is for sure. I respected her because even when it seemed like her life was seriously messed up sometimes, she kept on going. She didn't throw a pity party when her friends went AWOL on her or when troubled brewed at home or when her junior study project is axed; instead, she tried to act on what was happening to help fix a situation.

When you get down to it, what I liked most about Chloe was her heart. You can tell she truly cares about everyone: Even her grandma and her mother when they won't stop arguing. Even the radio's general manager who wants to keep her off-air. Even ex-friends that try to ruin her at every turn.

The radio aspect of the book was, personally, my favorite. Chloe hosts a talk-show, where she highlights different topics of her own choosing, from pet peeves to comfort foods. I loved getting to listen in to her broadcasts and only wish there had been more radio time in the book.

Oh, and if you have a flair for vintage shoes, look no farther than Chloe, girl fashionista, strutting her shoes throughout the pages.

Chloe narrates the book with a very 21st century feel: the abbriviated BF instead of best friends, the drawn-out "gawwd" and "stoo-pid" to clarify how the characters talk, and a couple texts in their steriotypical lingo. I think it was meant to accentuate Chloe's style, but I got the feeling I'd been dropped into the hipster clique in middle school, or that I was hanging around that one mom that thinks using the lingo will make her kid's friends think she's cool.

Some points in the book attemped to stray from the radio hi-jinks and high school woes to more serious topics. While I appreciated the author's to merge a deeper tone into Chloe's story, I felt that sometimes they didn't mesh right. Chloe was too caught up in her school life to be really immersed in deeper plot lines, so they were just kind of woven together.

If I could describe this book in a word, it would be playful. Chloe and her style were a mix-up from what I usually read, and they were a nice, fun, refresher. Chloe knows a thing or two about fun. If you're looking for something lighthearted and upbeat, try some Chloe.

Read more review for Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe at:
BookHounds and Mrs. Readerpants

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