April 18, 2013

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


Title: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe
Author: Shelley Coriell
Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Abrams
Page Count: 299
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
THE REVIEW

Chloe skates through life on kickass vintage heels. Yeah, she has problems, but she pretty much goes through life without much strife. Until her best friends stop talking to her, her Junior Year Project gets all messed up and her mother and Grams start really going at it. Now, Chloe, the outgoing friend to all, finds herself alone - something she's never been before. But Chloe's not the kind of girl to just sit down and take it. Nah. Homegirl finds fun and family in the strangest of places and she does in style.

Let's break this down: 

I love, love, love this book. I've read it twice now and both times I couldn't put it down.

First of all, I love the characters. Chloe is so much fun. She's headstrong and sweet and charismatic - all things I love about a main character. My one glaring issue with her is the way she characterizes herself as super loyal - and even comes off as super loyal throughout the course of the book - and yet it seems that the big blow out with her bestie took place because she was a flake. So... I don't know. I mean, she's charismatic, so she loves the limelight, but enough to fail her bestie big time? I don't know.

In general, I also kind of wish the bestie conflict was discussed more. It's kind of glossed over. And I get that it's the push off for the book and therefore it had to happen, but it's never TRULY dealt with. So it's awkward.

But the rest of the book is so fabulous and fun and thoughtful that I can't even be TOO annoyed about that aspect of the book. Like, I totally forget about the best friend blow out plot hole until it's highlighted a few times throughout the course of the book and I'm forced to focus on it. I mean, Chloe really is a force to be reckoned with. And the way she views life is so refreshing. She't not even a little "woe is me." Her negative feels take a major backseat because she knows she has to work to fix what's causing said negative feels (AKA help make things better for the people she loves). It's that kind of eternal optimism that admire because I know it exists, I just don't have it.

Also, I totally love Duncan and Chloe's Grams. I like everyone else, too, but Duncan and Chloe's grandma really are my favorite. And I love how they interact with each other. AND I really, really love what Chloe does for both of them. I mean, it's not totally selfless or anything, since she benefits from improving their lots in life, but I've never met a selfless teen, so that feels right.

I definitely also need to mention Chloe's radio station family. And what really needs to be stressed here is the word FAMILY. Everyone in that module is so incredibly different. They're the outcasts, I guess you could say. And they've FOUND EACH OTHER in high school, which is even more astounding. Reading about them is like reading about everything I always wished I had in high school and it kind of gives me hope. Not to mention, the interaction between Chloe and this group of radio outcasts is really interesting. As in, Chloe doesn't REALLY belong, but she does all at the same time and seeing how she fits in, helps them and whatever else is really complex and exciting (and totally makes me forget about Chloe's other friendship plotholes).

And finally, the prose of this book is just as fun and delightful as Chloe is. I really like when the tone of the book matches the personality of the main character. Even if the book's not first person, it just seems RIGHT to me. 

The long and short of it?

Plot:
Absolutely adorable, totally delightful and really fills the reader with hope. Oh, and there's a really cute boy who has some communication issues but knows how to fix stuff, so... yeah. One of him for me, please.
World Building: Chloe's BFF drama is a little rough around the edges, isn't fully dealt with and doesn't really fit with the story beyond being the starting point for the book (which seems major but somehow doesn't bother me so much), but other than that the structure here is good.
Character Development: Chloe really gets her shit together. She splits away from her popular clique and realizes that there's so much more to life than just what's happening around her. Not to mention there's a lot of growth for Duncan and Chloe's Grams as well - have I mentioned how much I love those two yet?
Prose: Cute, quirky and bold, just like Chloe.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you can stomach the inconsistencies in the backstory, ABSOLUTELY. I love this book so much I even did a guest post on Molli's blog (Once Upon a Prologue). Seriously. The only reason this isn't a 5-star read is because of the plot holes. Even though the feels totally got me in this book, I can't ignore the plot-holes.

I feel like I always have to ask what you guys thought of the boy, SO, who's got the hots for Duncan? And how about Chloe? Did her eternal optimism grate on your last nerve or did you love it as much as I did? Sound off in the comment below! 

10 comments:

  1. *raises hand* DUNCAN. I've got the swoons for him. You already know I loved this book SO MUCH, but your review is great, Gaby! It was a 4 star read for me for probably the same reasons, but I loved that it made me FEEL. :D

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    1. YES. It was so all about the feels. And the swoooooooning over Duncan. mmmm *swoon*

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  2. Ooooh, this sounds so good! Great review, by the way! I think if you loved it enough to read it twice, it must be good!

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    1. THAT IS A FAIR POINT. And I totally did love it enough to read it twice! ^_^

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  3. Alright, you've convinced me. I'll check this one out.

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  4. Yes, this book is totally adorable! I thought it was a lot of fun when I first read it. Plus, I really enjoyed the radio station and Chloe's family there :)

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    1. I LOVR the radio station family. Such a cute book. ^_^

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  5. I read this awhile back and I loved it. I think the thing that I love the most in a book is when a character finds that place to belong like Chloe does with the radio kids. I love reading about it because I want that so badly!

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    1. UGH YES. I totally love when a character finds their place. I totally want that also! >.<

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