Saturday, April 21, 2012

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

Title: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe 
Author: Shelley Coriell 
Genre: Teen / Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 299
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from April 17 - 18, 2012 
My rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: 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. 

From now on, I'll make it a point to review a book right after I finish it, or maybe a day afterwards. But not three day like this. By the time I felt like reviewing Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, I had already forgot a lot of things. That makes reviewing a little more difficult. This is a bad habit I have to kill very soon. Well, enough chit chat haha. 

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe is one of the very light and fun reads for teens rather than young adults. It is obviously about teenager Chloe Camden, who likes to think she's Queen of the Universe. And yes, she is. he looks like she's the girl who has it all. She's perpetually optimistic, happy, friendly, and talkative. Queen Chloe is the center of attention. Wherever she is, there's fun and laughter. She makes people smile when they're sad and makes them laugh. Chloe has two best friends whose names I had to pause 5 seconds to recall. Right, their names are Brie and Merce. Chloe says they're a perfect trio because Brie is the beauty, Merce is the brains, and she is all personality. According to Chloe, together they're whole. Chloe works part-time at a Mexican restaurant called Dos Hermanas, wearing a burrito costume and handing out flyers--a job she enjoys very much. It looks like everything's going well for Chloe, the girl who's always happy and doesn't have to worry about anything. But then one day thing start going downhill for our little Queen. 

That day, while enjoying herself as a burrito outside the restaurant, doing what she does best--getting noticed by people, Brie drives by. Chloe cheerfully walks over to talk to her best friend only to be told she's so self-centered Brie can't stand it, and that she's the last person tearful Brie wants to talk to. Then Chloe comes home to find WWIII in her house. On top of all that, A. Lungren, the school counselor, wants Chloe to choose a new topic for her JISP (Junior Independent Study Project) because she deems Chloe's shoe project lacking. 

For Chole's new JISP, she's to join the school's low-wattage, student-run radio station, KDRS 88.8 The Edge, which needs promotions help. Ditched by her two best friends, Chloe now hangs out with the crowd working in this radio station. There Chloe befriends Clementine, the ever-upset manager with a nose ring; Duncan, the guy who loves fixing things; Frick and Frack; and Haley, the film reviewer. They work together to save The Edge from getting shut down by the school and lack of fund. It's true that it starts out as a necessity, but then it turns into friendship as they learn to trust each other and the time they spend in the station bonds them together. 

Chloe is a fantastic protagonist. I think I'd love to have her as a friend. Her personality and attitude are what's really outstanding in this little novel. I love how Chloe can still remain herself while learning to cope with problems crashing down on her. She can make the best of a bad situation. An optimist that she is, she values fun and laughter. She learns to be a better friend, to be there for her friends when they need her. She reaches out to people through her radio shows and wins their hearts all over again after the lies Brie tells to turn people against her. I really love this about Chloe.

Duncan Moore is also a great character. At first he seems mysterious, always quiet, and doesn't say much if not necessary, but after a while he opens up to Chloe, letting down his guard. Chloe learns that Duncan lives a totally different life from hers, the kind of life a great guy like Duncan shouldn't have to live. I totally feel for him. Together they fulfill each other: Duncan needs a sunshine in his gloomy life, and the little miss sunshine herself could really use a guy with a romantic heart like him.

Another character I really like is Chloe's grandmother, whom she calls Grams. Grams loves Brad Pitt and is a big fan of Brad's sexy "heinie". Hahaha. Grams is funny. Though you can't tell by looking at her, she's suffering from Parkinson's disease. She loses her temper quite often and does unreasonable things, and that causes the conflicts between her and Chloe's mom. Chloe takes care of Grams and Grams looks after Chloe. Sometimes I couldn't help but feel for Grams, too. It's sad that a free spirit like her has to be affected by the disease that's slowly changing her.

I  have to say the author did a great job creating the characters and this cute story. Although it isn't that focused on the radio station as I first expected and would like it to, the outcome is great. This is a story about a girl who shines brightly, and in the meantime lights up other people's worlds as well. All in all, while there are quite a number of conflicts like friendship, family and love present, this book isn't heavy at all. This is probably not one of the deep, profound books that will stay in your heart for a long time, but it's one that you might want to read if you need to take your mind off things for a while and need a laugh. Told in Chloe's bubbly, cheerful voice, this novel is ever so light and easy and very fun to read. :-) 


This review is also posted on Goodreads.

I received the ARC of this title from NetGalley and the publisher for review. 

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