Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Goodreads Description: "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."

My Review: I think reviewing this book is fitting after reviewing Paisley Hanover Acts Out because both books are about a quirky, popular, and friendly redhead who encounter friend problems and fall down the popularity totem pole at school---but where Paisley Hanover Acts Out messed everything up, Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe actually got it mostly right and I enjoyed this book. 

The biggest draw really was Chloe herself. I loved her penchant for fabulous vintage shoes but I liked her cheer, charm, and good nature even more. Even when she was being disrespected and insulted, she usually maintained her cool and tried to stay upbeat. She never crossed the line into Mary Sue hokey territory, however---she did snap and break down a few times, which made her more realistic. But ultimately, she was cheerful and just generally a nice person and I liked how she dealt with the stresses and problems in her life. If more people dealt with struggles the way Chloe did, the world would be a happier place. 

The plot was also fun. I admit, I did find it slightly unbelievable---and weird---that her friends would turn on her so quickly for something so trivial (I mean really, had none of them ever made a mistake before? Because that's all Chloe did, make a mistake for one night and it wasn't anything super harmful either) but I guess sometimes that's all it takes for friends to turn on you, so alright. At least Chloe always tried to remain civil to them, even when they weren't civil back. I kind of like how the book ended with all three of them going their own ways, making their own new friends (well---two of them, anyway), and kind of forging their own new paths. It was kind of sad and a bit strange---a years-old friendship ended so suddenly?---but friends do drift apart in real life, so again, I guess it is realistic if a bit depressing. Chloe's new friends in the radio club, however, more than make up for it because they were such a unique bunch. Clementine especially made a huge impression because she had such a fiery personality. She was the kind of secondary character you love to read about because they have a presence. 

The romance kind of took a backseat to the plot and it was a sweeter, milder romance and I liked that because honestly, both Chloe and Duncan had larger problems in their life to deal with and I liked reading about their family troubles more. They were interesting, if---again---a bit depressing. Chloe's family struggles were really touching and I really liked how Shelley Coriell made her grams and her parents and brothers a strong presence in Chloe's life, a strong anchor, something for her to hold onto. Families don't usually get too much "screen time" in YA books, so it was nice to read about Chloe's family, because as much as they had their own issues, they were a nice family. 

Ultimately, there isn't much to say about this book because it was a touching, cute, and mild YA story to read with a quirky, outgoing, and upbeat protagonist. The book wasn't too harsh and too deep, nor was it too light and glossy. It had an even balance of light and dark and it ended on an positive note so you're kind of left with a lot of feel-good emotions for the rest of the day after reading it. Not a hugely impactful book but one that was just nice to read. And sometimes, isn't that just what you want? 

Cover: Love it! It's so bright and "shiny" and electric. The lettering of the title is so pretty and it's definitely eye-catching and cool. I've seen it multiple times at the bookstore and it's always popped amidst a dull sea of books with girls in goddess gowns on the cover, so yeah, I definitely like this cover. It's quirky and fun and kind of vintage-looking---just like Chloe herself. 

Overall Grade: B+

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