Monday, 21 January 2013

"Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe" by Shelley Coriell

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.

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe tells the story of Chloe Camden, the self-styled "Queen of the Universe" who gets ditched by her friends through a mistake she made, and has to learn how to listen. Her JISP (Junior Independent Study Project) is axed by her new guidance counselor, and she has to join her school's failing radio station, which it turns out she really enjoys. She makes new friends, and of course, finds romance with quiet technician Duncan.
I did really like the characters. Chloe was loud, funny, and a little self-centered, but she was generally a very nice girl. She definitely had great taste in shoes! Duncan wasn't my type, but his romance with Chloe was lovely and realistic. The radio staff were awesome, especially Clementine and Haley, who had an obsession with movies from 1939. Even Chloe's ex-best friends, Brie and Mercedes, were well-rounded and three dimensional.
I had an issue with the writing style. It wasn't that it wasn't bad, because I think Shelley Coriell definitely has talent, it's just that after reading the completely wonderful Sweethearts, everything else just paled in comparison. Additionally, I had an problem when Chloe kept referring to Brie and Mercedes as her "BFs", which I felt was lazy and pretty annoying. Plus, I thought the ending was totally rushed and didn't tie up loose ends, which it should have done, being a stand-alone. The ending left me feeling rather unsatisfied.
That being said, this was a promising debut, and I think I'll be reading Shelley Coriell's future novels.

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