Monday, April 30, 2012

ARC Review: WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE

The Book: WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE
The Author: Shelley Coriell
The Publisher: Amulet Books (an Imprint of Abrams)
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Marketing Copy 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.

My Thoughts:

While the plot wasn't all that original (popular girl gets railroaded by now-ex-best-friend, a bunch of nerd types take her in, help her rally, and when she finally gets back into the spotlight she forgets them like yesterday's trash, only to finally realize they were the only true friends she ever really had), this book felt new and fresh in the way it was told.  Chloe's character just jumped off the page, sparkly and bubbly.  Not to mention, the supporting characters were all fully-formed, with their issues, besides their feelings about Chloe. 

That said, I wanted to dislike Chloe.  I really, really, really did.  She's kind of self-centered.  She thinks mostly of herself first, even when trying to "help" others.  She's all about the visual, bright and shiny on the outside...with not much swimming below the surface.  All good reasons not to care about what becomes of her.

BUT...

There's just something about her that makes you want to see what she says, what she does, what happens to her next, and her responses to said situations.  It's not just her humor(although she has that in spades), that quirkiness that helps her rally when the going gets a little rough. It's not her family (one that gives the term 'dysfunctional' a whole new meaning) or even her friends (she admittedly has less than zero at the moment) that make you cheer her on.

Chloe has a certain quality about her, one that I can't seem to put my finger on, but she definitely entertains, even as you're wanting to slap some sense into her.

I guess you can tell the mark of a pretty good story by the level of frustration you feel when a character f***s up.  And, I was very, very, very frustrated with Chloe a good number of times.