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Review: Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe (Shelley Coriell)

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AUTHOR: Shelley Coriell
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Amulet
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2012
ISBN: 9781419701917
PAGES: 320
SOURCE: Net Galley
GENRE: contemporary; chick lit
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS girls

SUMMARY: Ever-peppy Chloe Camden, a.k.a. “Poppy”, really tries to look on the bright-side, even as her life slowly unravels. Her beloved grandmother’s Parkinson’s Disease is progressing, and her best friends are inexplicably giving her the cold shoulder. On top of all that, her new over-eager guidance counselor just informed her that her junior-year community service project won’t work, forcing Chloe to begin a marketing campaign for a struggling campus radio station that Chloe didn’t even know existed.

READALIKES: How Not to Be Popular (Jennifer Ziegler); Fat Cat (Robin Brande)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Engrossing: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: mild; a few chaste kisses; minor teen character is pregnant
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; one minor character is addicted to methamphetamine

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: When it comes out in May, I plan to purchase it for my library. I have lots of middle school girls who would love it.

WARNING: The reviews on this site are intended for librarians who need thorough book reviews in order to make informed purchasing decisions. As such, anything below this warning may contain mild spoilers. I try not to give away too much, but I do review the entire book.

WHAT I LIKED: A cute, fun little read. I’m not gushing with tears glittering in my eyes as I do with some books, but I will definitely recommend it to my middle school girls. While Chloe can be annoyingly pert at times, her voice is genuine and many readers will relate to her. Even better, Chloe knows she talks too much and that it irritates people sometimes. I like that even though she is a talk radio host, Chloe learns that great friends are also great listeners.

I really love Duncan’s character. Incredibly hard-working and aloof, Duncan’s life is spiraling nearly out of control. He sleeps through first period and has difficulty opening up to other people, but when readers find out what he is dealing with at home, his behavior makes complete sense.

Love the relationships between Chloe and the adults in her life, particularly her grandmother and the two sisters who own Dos Hermanas Mexican Restaurant. The grandmother’s Brad Pitt obsession is especially cute.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: It’s kind of hard to picture a hot boy wearing scarves. Maybe that’s just not the fashion here in Texas, but every time I read about his wearing frayed scarves, my mental picture of Duncan got a little sillier. I kept picturing a nerdy, high school version of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Not exactly the sexy character Chloe makes him out to be.

I would have liked to have seen the radio station characters fleshed out a bit more. Pregnant Haley’s story seems especially interesting and sad. What’s her story? Why doesn’t Chloe reach out to her more? She clearly needs someone to talk to. Also, Clementine is supposed to be a high school junior, but for awhile there, I thought she was an adult helping out with the station. Her voice and behavior make her seem so OLD, but readers really never discover why she behaves that way. Does she also have some junk going on at home? Is her story lying in a heap somewhere on the editor’s floor?

THE BOTTOM LINE: While not the most profound or important book I’ve ever read, Welcome, Caller is a cute read with a sweet little romance and a positive message about becoming a better friend. Well-paced with an interesting character mix, this one will be easy to sell to middle school girls who love fun, funny chick lit.

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