Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe (Blog Stop & Review)

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe Blog Stop!

I'm happy to announce that the This is Chloe Blog Tour has stopped by my blog!
I thought that this was a really fresh and exciting novel which will appeal to a lot of Young Adults. I was truly impressed with this book and I hope that you will be too!
Here's my review of this exciting new book and a guest post from the author.

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Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Hardback, 299 pages

Expected Publication: May 2012 by Amulet Books

My shelves: arc-or-review, blog-tour, books-i-own, chick-lit, 

contemporary, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
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.


My thanks go to Amulet for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

When the first line of a novel is 'I loved being a burrito', you could easily guess that you're in for quite a different read! I didn't instantly love this book or the main character  - it did take a little while to get into, especially as a British reader - there was quite a few americanisms and slang - but once I'd read a few chapters, I was easily drawn into this easy to read page turner.

When we meet our protagonist, Chloe, for the first time, she is standing on a street, dressed as a burrito and wearing her trademark vintage shoes. As soon as we meet Chloe, we are introduced to her confidence and quite outlandish personality. I actually found her loud personality to be a welcome change in the Young Adult genre. She was extremely optimistic and self assured, which I understand could grate a little on some readers, as it certainly annoyed one character, Clementine, in the story. Some may find Chloe a little over confident at first, but as the book progresses, it's easier to warm to her - I certainly did. Although Chloe may seem like a happy go lucky, once popular, positive 'It' girl  - she does know that she isn't perfect and neither is her life.

Whilst, for the most part, there is quite a light tone to this book with a lot of humour thrown in, it's clear that Coriell isn't afraid to deal with real issues, from Chloe's grandmother having Parkinson's disease to dealing with substance abuse and abusive relationships. She has managed to weave these tough subjects into her story with ease in a realistic and sensitive manner. I think that including these aspects certainly helped to add something extra to the novel and give it a more credible undertone to the story. I found some of the scenes to be quite touching and though it did give a good representation of the problems, it didn't get dark or depressing.
  
This book isn't just about Chloe - it's about a whole bunch of people around her.
At the beginning, we learn that Chloe has been snubbed by her 'BFFs' for something that she's not quite sure of. It would've been interesting to learn more  about these two girls, Mercedes and Brie who are mentioned several times throughout, but we gather that the three of them had a sister-like bond and were pretty popular. After being rejected by her once-friends, she then discovers that her new guidance counsellor is forcing her to start a new Junior Independent Study Project (JISP) - at the school radio station, KDRS The Edge. There, Chloe meets an eclectic mix of characters - misfits, outsiders, who consist of Clementine, Frick, Frack, Haley and Duncan. These people aren't trying to be quirky or 'unique', but they are - they are all quite quiet, yet still very distinct. Along with Chloe, I formed a connection with, and started to love, all of them - they did feel like a family and worked together amazingly well.


Duncan was the guy in the group who also formed as Chloe's love interest. Their chemistry seemed to build naturally and I enjoyed watching their relationship progress. Personally, I really liked Duncan. He was the boy-next-door figure - he wasn't perfect, but he was sweet, caring and his heart was in the right place - he also had some mystery about him, which was good.


As aforementioned, another character who plays quite a large role in her life is her  Grandmother - 'Grams', who is at war with Chloe's mother over going into a care home because of her deteriorating health. It was really lovely to see how Chloe and her Grams interacted, they had a very loving, trusting and loyal relationship. It was interesting to see how Chloe reacted to the issue of care for Grams.


The only thing I could complain about is the fact that I didn't feel as though everything was completely concluded - I would've liked to hear a lot more about some of the characters, particularly Brie, and the aftermath of the big twist at the end could've been explored more, but maybe that is me being greedy for more!


Overall, this was a really fun read. Don't expect a literary masterpiece and don't take Chloe's attitude so seriously - embrace her enthusiasm, expect fun, laughing out loud and something that you won't want to put down for long.



Author of this fantastic book, Shelley Coriell, has kindly written a guest post about the troubles she had when naming her book. Read all about her Welcome, Caller Title Woes:

Most authors don’t get to choose their titles. More often than not, editorial staffs and marketing teams have the final say. So when I came up with the title for my debut contemp novel – WELCOME, CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE – I tried not to get too attached to it.
The problem: I really, really loved this title. 
I knew the title before I wrote a single word. The image of Chloe, my sixteen-year-old radio talk show host sitting behind a microphone, is so clear in my mind. I can hear her say, “Welcome, caller, this is Chloe. Tell me what’s on your heart.” Plus I love the clear radio tie-in. The whole thing feels bold and in-your-face, just like Chloe. 
The other problem: I really, really hated this title.
In a Tweet-happy world of great one-word YA titles (Bitterblue, Insurgent), I worried my WELCOME, CALLER title was too long and cumbersome. And subtle it is not. So before Dear Agent sent the manuscript out on submission, I brainstormed titles in my ratty blue spiral notebook, key words on the right, possible titles on the left.

Note the ever-memorable Heartbeat of the Ocean and SHUT UP and Listen.
Gah!
Dear Agent wisely rejected these titles, reminding me this is a very different type of book and begged for a very different title. 
When the first publishing house showed interest in WELCOME, CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE, the editor said she didn’t like the title. At the time I was in Venice, Italy, doing research for another novel, and I stopped everything to brainstorm new titles.
Here I am on the Grand Canal using a Wi-Fi hotspot to send more titles to Dear Agent in the United States. Note the face full of writerly-woe.
In the end, we sold the book to a different editor at different house. I waited for Dear Editor to plop on a more “normal” title. I watched as the cover design team corralled the beastly title and feared they would proclaim it ludicrously long. Finally, I held my breath as marketing peeps chimed in. 
Silence (aka Dead Air in the radio world). 
No one said a word about changing the title, which had me squeeing with joy.
My really different book kept its really different title! 
Shelley’s Question: What book titles do you love?

To learn more about young adult author Shelley Coriell and Chloe’s high school radio world, visit www.shelleycoriell.com.

11 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your review and you've reminded me that I still need to get a copy of this book as Chloe definitely sounds like someone I want to read about!

    Also, I loved the section about the title and I'm happy the title was left as Shelley imagined it from the start!

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  2. So glad you were able to keep the title you loved! That sounds super-stressful. (And I like it, too--it has a fresh, original sound to it.)

    Here’s my latest post.

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  3. First - YAY you liked it. I loved it too! Chloe was a bit too cheerful at times but I actually liked that about her, she wasn't a gloomy character and it was awesome.

    Second - the guest post was awesome!! :D
    Also, one of my favorite titles ever is "The Secret Garden", I dunno why, :) I love the idea of it.

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  4. I can't wait to read this one. I'm glad you loved it.

    Old follower

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  5. Personally, I like the title. It tells me exactly what the book is about, and makes me curious at the same time. Well done!

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  6. I like the title too and it sounds like it is a really fun read!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

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  7. Can't wait to read this! Th first time i saw it, it caugt my eye!

    Great review! =D

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  8. Hahaha I love the title of this one! I have this for review, so I can't wait to get to it :D Great review and I'm a new follower :)

    I currently have a giveaway running on my blog if you'd like to check it out HERE

    Rabiah
    Confessions of a Readaholic

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  9. I think I'd enjoy this book, seems fun! And I like the title :P

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  10. トリーバーチは高校生にとってはなかなか手にいれるこちはむずかしくなります。全体から見て、二流のブランド品ですが、センスが高いですから、近年以来だんだん値段が高くなります。豪華なスタイルで、世界中の最高のファッションモノだと言えるモノです。私はこの中で、あるトリーバーチ 財布に憧れています。すごく愛しています。お金を貯金して、将来のある日、このブランド品を買おう!

    ReplyDelete

Unfortunately this is an award and tag free zone - Whilst I appreciate the thought, I simply don't have the time to pass them on.

Please feel free to leave a reply, I read and appreciate them all!

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