Monday, March 30, 2015

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Source: Library
Pages: 299
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: May 1st 2012
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Borrow

SummaryBig-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.

Review: Let me just start off by acknowledging the cover. How cool is it? I mean, it's so pretty and just so cool. The font and glow just screams, "Read me!" And then there's the super unique placement of the author name. I almost didn't see it because I was staring at the glowing title. But still, pretty awesome. However, before I read the summary, or even looked at the title, all I could see was the microphone, so I assumed that this story was about a girl who wanted to make it big in the music industry. But then I read the title, read the summary and then read the book. Oops, not quite what it's about... Honestly though, if it had been about a girl on a quest to fulfill her singing dreams, I don't think it would have been as entertaining.

On the very first page, I was met with a burrito. Well, technically, I was met with the lines, "I LOVED BEING A BURRITO." Seriously, those were the first lines of the book. And all caps, mind you. How does one read that beautiful line and not continue? The answer is that one simply cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the main character of the book loves being a burrito. The main character, Chloe, is a super-happy-go-lucky-enthusiastic-word-vomiting-burrito-dressing-vintage-shoe-collecting-maniac. Did I mention that she collects vintage shoes? And she wears them, while she is a burrito. Holy smokes, let me tell you, what a whirlwind of a page to process.

Burritos and shoes aside, as I read on, I honestly couldn't help but love Chloe's character. She's super caring and optimistic, even though she can sometimes be ditzy and oblivious. Meanwhile, I slowly developed a severe disliking for her so-called best friend, Brie. Like come on, what's the problem? Along with her, I also developed some more dislike for the rest of the school who believed Brie's rumors. Because, yup, there are big fat rumors... about Chloe. At first Chloe is as oblivious as ever, and has no idea what is happening. But then she catches on, and cannot begin to even understand why something like this is happening. It's your basic high school drama, not that I'd actually know what high school drama entails specifically, since I never went to a conventional high school, but I get the gist of how it works, and rumors are high up on the list of things that cause drama.

While I didn't like all those rumor believers, I did like the radio station gang. Most were a bit tough to crack, but they were seriously cool people. And then there was Duncan, who was just so nice and sweet and shy and also confusing. His home life is what you'd call troubled. 

This book covers over some pretty heavy topics, some of which include bullying, rumors, secrets, and drug abuse. Yet the radio station characters typically always have such a positive outlook, no matter how tough things get. I really liked this aspect of the book, because it just goes to show that everybody's got something going on in their lives, but it's how you take it on that determines the outcome of how you live and act. There are certain people (ahem, Brie) in the book that don't do that, and they grow bitter. Seeing the characters, especially Chloe, take everything on in such a bubbly, lighthearted, and positive manner just shined through the pages, and I loved it.

The actual plot was interesting because it revolved around something called the "JISP Project" and a radio station talk show. I really enjoyed reading the parts of the book that featured the talk show segments because they were fast paced, filled with humor, and I could totally imagine what everything looked and sounded like. However, sometimes, the story line was a bit jumbled. I found that there were some loose ends at the end of the book. While the ending answered mostly everything, it wasn't exactly the ending I had expected nor one that I felt did the book justice. 

Although it had some areas that I felt could have been better, overall, Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, was a book that was filled with personality and character. It's a fun read, even with all the heavier topics. For me, this is a one-time-read-only kind of book, but who knows? Maybe I'll come back to it, if only to hear the cheerful banter and interesting talk show segments. I'm definitely glad I picked this book up because it's unique. I never knew that vintage shoes and burritos could ever make a good combo, but now, I do. And I think it's pretty fantastic.

Really enjoyed

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