Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
I had this book rated as 4 stars. I have since changed it to 3. Why? Well, I read it about a week ago, and it just hasn't stuck with me like most books I like do. It's not memorable. It was fun and humorous, sure, but it didn't impact me like I originally thought it did. And that's the reason why I deducted a star. Now, back to your regularly scheduled review.
This was a somewhat lighthearted contemporary read. It touched on some pretty serious topics, and I actually thought it did a really good job. Chloe was extremely close with her grandmother. Her grandmother had Parkinson's disease and she was degenerating rather quickly. Her grandmother was also a pretty awesome character. She was wild, crazy, and just wanted to live life. Having Parkinson's made life difficult for her because she was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that she couldn't do everything for herself anymore. She was feuding with her daughter, who only wanted to help, but was going about it in all the wrong ways. I think this was the part of the book that impacted me the most. Because, while I don't have any experience with Parkinson's disease, I do have plenty of experience with Dementia and Cancer. And two loving grandparents who went through a lot of the same situations Chloe's grandma did. This part of the story contained my favorite quote in the book.
"What are you talking about? What are they taking?" Sometimes Grams didn't make sense.
"First they took my car. Now they want my home." Grams paced faster, her steps growing more unsteady. Was it anger, fear, the Parkinson's? "Then, they'll take my phone, saying I can't push the buttons. They'll take my magazines and movies, saying I can no longer see them. They'll take my computer, saying I no longer know how to use it. And you know what, Poppy? They'll be right. Because by then they'll have taken my hands, my eyes, and my mind. Pretty soon there will be nothing left of me."
That quote was hard to read. It hit home. If I could go back in time and change the way I had treated my grandparents... I know it's hard to be patient when someone is being difficult in their old age. But we must always remember that it isn't their fault and try to put ourselves in their shoes. Show a little compassion. It makes a world of difference.
I felt the book kind of sat in the middle between lighthearted fluff contemporary and make-you-sob serious contemporary. I didn't love Chloe as a main character. She was fairly self-serving, but her big personality made her somewhat likable. It was hard with her though. I saw myself in a lot of her actions. I was a lot like her in my teen years. I tried not to be so self-indulgent, and I was always trying to be a better person. I think it was the same with Chloe. She just had a really hard time with it.
Duncan, on the other hand, was perfect and stole every scene he was in. He and Chloe were perfect for each other, and they balanced each other out extremely well. Duncan was your typical mysterious guy character, but he actually does have secrets worth keeping and it is interesting to find out why he is keeping them. But once all this starts being revealed? I fell in love with him. He was utterly perfect.
As for the actual writing mechanics? For a debut novel, I was pretty impressed. I thought the story was great (it could have gone a little deeper), but it certainly kept me entertained and not wanting to put the book down. The characters were, for the most part, well-developed and entertaining. There is a character here for almost everyone to relate to. I really enjoyed this story. I'd recommend this one for anyone who likes good high school stories, contemporary novels, and learning about how a radio station works. I know I didn't mention much of that, but that part of the story is fun and really interesting as well. So were Chloe's actual radio shows. This is just an entertaining read. I look forward to reading more of this author's work in the future.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions.
To pre-order a copy of Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe from Amazon.com, click here: Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe.
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