Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Review: Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Title: Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release date: May 1st 2012
Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley
Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend sheds 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 rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe was hard to get into, for me. It starts out describing the fall-out between Chloe and her best friends Brie and Mercedes, and that whole storyline seemed very contrived to me. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but what her friends get upset about is... well, it's not really that big of a deal. What she did wasn't right, but it's not something to end a lifelong friendship over. I also didn't get why they decided to be mad now, when the thing that upset them happened a while ago. The mean things Brie does to ge back at Chloe are crazy, and totally out of proportion to what Chloe did to her. Brie's character just didn't make sense to me. I can't explain it better without spoilers, but it the storyline felt very contrived, as if the author just needed something that could get Chloe away from her usual social scene and couldn't think of anything better.

Once Chloe starts helping at the radio station, though, I really liked the plot. I liked reading about everything that happened at the radio station. The plot is fun and original, and perfectly paced. I also really liked reading about Chloe's family situation. Chloe's grandma has Parkinson's, and it was interesting to read about how that affects the family. It's not a topic you see every day in YA.

My favorite part of Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe are the characters at the radio station. They all have unique personalities and problems, and all of their stories are interesting to read about. 

What I didn't like, though, is Chloe. The main character annoyed me to no end. I didn't get the motivations for her actions, and I couldn't connect to her. The reader is told repetitively how big a personality Chloe has and how fun to be around she is, but I didn't see it. I wanted Chloe to show us what she's like instead of telling us over and over again that she has a big heart. (Seriously, who says that about themself? "I have a big heart."?) Chloe is full of herself and whiny, and that kept me from really caring what happens to her.

The writing isn't all that great, either. It's choppy and very basic. The same words are used repetitively to describe the characters - it's like each one of them has an adjective that is used almost every time they appear in the story. I can only take Chloe talking about "broad-shouldered Duncan" so many times until I start rolling my eyes every time the word appears.

There are things I loved and things I hated about Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe - it has a fun plot and complex secondary characters, but the MC and the writing style didn't work for me. It's a quick, fun read, but nothing more.


  1. The concept behind this one sounds fun - sorry to hear it didn't hold up in execution! I completely understand about irritating main characters, and the telling rather than showing thing doesn't help matters. Thanks for the honest review, it gives me a better idea of what to expect with this one!

  2. Eh. I'm not sure if I'll like this one. Annoying main characters always bring down a book for me. The concept does sound very fun, as Danya said! The characters at the radio station sound really great, too! Using the same words over and over for a description tends to bug me, though. I'm iffy for this book, but I think I'll give it a shot! Thanks for the helpful review, Hannah. :)

  3. I actually just read it and loved it!

    I agree that her friends over-reacted, but I remember in high school everything was blown so out of proportion and friendships ended over practically nothing, so it seemed a lot like what went on at my high school and I could at least understand.

    I think what people found annoying about Chloe was really a self-defense mechanism. She always had to focus on what's good, stay up-beat and fun as a way of coping with potentially losing her grandma. At least, that's how I saw it. I was so very close with my grandma and I just couldn't cope with losing her. You do a lot of weird things when you're faced with that kind of loss. And Chloe's grandma was the only one who understood her, so they were doubly close.

    I too LOVED the radio station! And Duncan:)

    It's too bad you didn't really connect with Chloe though.

  4. Hmm, that's an interesting way of looking at it - I hadn't thought of that. Makes more sense that way.

    I still wasn't a fan of the writing style, though, and think the book could have used some more showing and less telling.

  5. I understand what you're saying about the showing vs telling.

    I really think the setting was so refreshing in this one, and I think Chloe had a lot of depth (at least the way I interpreted her actions and attitude)

    Grams was an awesome character! And Duncan's story was heartbreaking but he's perfect for Chloe.

  6. Another MC you didn't like? Hmm. Too bad. Some books are not really for you, I can say. I'm REALLY REALLY curious as to what Chloe did to Brie and vice versa that you said was too much to end a lifelong friendship. Maybe it was so shallow that made you hate it. At least, you enjoyed the radio station's characters! :) Also, Chloe's Grandma and family, I love it when YA contemporary books talk about family even just side-step. But well well, even if you did like two things, when you don't like the MC, I guess you just won't really enjoy the book well enough. And it sounds bad for me since the story sounds good! Another is the writing style, to which I guess, didn't work out for you too. I guess, this isn't your cup of tea. :) But I'll read to see. 

  7. Yeah, characters are really important to me - if they're not fully-develop, or I can't connect with them, I usually won't enjoy the book as much

  8. There were definitely good things about this book, too, yeah. I think I might have enjoyed it more, too, if I'd seen Chloe's character the way you saw her, but the way I saw her, she just frustrated me, so I couldn't love the book.

  9. I just posted about this book the other day.  A little bummed to hear that you didn't care for it, but I'm still really excited to read it when I want a non-serious, fun, and quick read.

  10. So much hype around this book yet it doesn't really appeal to me... your review just backed up my point. I don't like irritating main characters and making moutons out of mole holes don't seem like a good starting point for the novel anyway :/ thanks for the honest review Hannah!


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