Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Published: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
299 pages (ebook)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Aquired this book: From NetGalley
Warning: may contain spoilers
Synopsis: 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.
This book was a complete surprise to me. In the beginning, I honestly didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, because Chloe seemed so immature and shallow, but I ended up loving this book for so many reasons.
At first, this did seem like kind of a weird, silly book. It felt like all Chloe cared about were shoes and her job at a Mexican cantina, and she was goofy and appeared immature and shallow. Her voice felt very young - much younger than a 15/16-year-old girl - and she was really wrapped up in her own life and her own problems, which left her oblivious to the problems of her friends. But when those same friends abandoned her and started treating her horribly, Chloe was thrown into the middle of a group of misfits - the kids at the school’s radio station - and she began to open her eyes and see a whole new world, and we got to see a whole new Chloe.
I really loved the evolution Chloe made as a character. Despite the fact that I thought she was silly at first, I ended up feeling a very deep connection to her. She was impulsive, which made her choices a bit misguided at times, and she got wrapped up in her own stuff, but those flaws made her human - and made her the young teen she was. She was passionate, had a huge heart, and she wasn’t afraid to just be herself, which is a difficult thing for a lot of teenagers. She learned how hurtful it can be to assume things about people and to stereotype, and she learned to pay attention and truly listen to what people were saying.
Besides Chloe, there was an amazing cast of characters - Chloe’s kooky grandmother, her traitorous former best friends, the radio misfits - Duncan, Clementine, Haley, Taysum, Frick, and Frack. Even the guidance counselor, Ms. Lungren. They all taught Chloe something and added to her journey, and they added colour and life to this already colourful story.
I especially loved Duncan, and wish we got to see more of him. Ahh, Duncan, with his handmade scarves, and his screwed up family life, and his penchant for fixing things. Wise beyond his years, forced to grow up much too soon, and far too responsible for a kid his age, he was exactly what Chloe needed. These two flawed people with their own personal baggage made a perfect pair.
Favorite Duncan quote: “Has anyone ever told you you’re wonderful?” I totally swooned.
For such a funny book, it had very profound moments. Chloe came off as this happy-go-lucky girl, but she had this almost desperate need to please, and to keep the peace. She was a multidimensional character that I won't soon be forgetting.
Overall, this book is one of my favorite reads of 2012 so far. It had me laughing one minute, on the verge of tears the next, and pausing to ponder over Chloe’s often insightful observations. Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, is a terrific debut that shouldn’t be missed!
In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No money or compensation of any sort exchanged hands.
*Thank you to Amulet Books and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book for review.*
Have you read Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe? What did you think? What were you like in high school? Were you ever ostracized by people you thought were your friends? Did you belong to any interesting clubs or classes?