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.
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: eARC, 320 pages
I have to admit that after reading the first few pages I wasn't sure I'd like this book. Chloe was all "Oh, me and my BFs are so close!", "My BF's rock!" and then "Oh, my God, how will I possibly survive without my BFs?". I seriously wanted to slap that girl. But then it was like another writer finished the rest of the book, becuase the story got so much better.
Chloe works at the Dos Hermanas Mexican Cantina, has a grandmother with Parkinson and absolutely loves old vintage shoes. Her parents are both doctors, and her older five brothers also intend to be. But Chloe has no idea what she wants for the future.
What she does know is that all of a sudden her BF Brie started to act weird and call her selfish, saying that she always talks too much and never listens to others, that it's always all about her. Chloe doesn't understand why Brie is being so mean, and, apparently following in her steps, so is her other BF, Mercedes. As a matter of fact, the whole school is acting weird, pointing fingers and whispering behind her back. There's no place for her to sit in the cafeteria. Nobody stops to gossip with her. Nobody invites her to parties or for a soda anymore. Her life is all messed-up. And she can't even figure out why.
What she does know is that A. Lungren, her new JISP (Junior Independent Study Project) counselor wants her to change the theme of her project from Villanous Vixens: The Not-So-Squeaky-Clean Women of Daytime Soap Operas to helping out at the school radio station. A radio that is literally fighting for air, because the scholl admin is denying to renew KDRS 88.8 The Edge funding for the next year, and without money for the equipments, maintenance, music, supplies and etc... they're done for. Chloe doesn't really care very deeply about it all, she really just wants to get her JISP done with, especially when all of the radio crew make it very clear they don't want her there. Well... most of them, because the maintenance guy, with his broad shoulders, dark messy hair and beautiful silver eyes has a way of making her feel more comfortable. And welcome.
When a show spot for the night period turns up, Mr. Tool-Belt, ahem, Duncan, announces that Chloe's voice and personality would be perfect for it. After quite a bit of (heated) discussion, Chloe officially becomes a radio star. Things start to get better for the station, but as Chloe tries to get closer to Duncan, she finds out that her life is not nearly as complicated when compared to his.
After a bit of a bad start, I ended up enjoying this book profusely. Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe is a very well-written book, approaching many difficult subjects, such as bullying, the impact of Parkinson disease and illegal drugs on families and even teenage pregnancy. They were all treated in a very light, open way, but that was also able to showcase the seriousness of these matters. It was very interesting to read more about them.
This a very, very good book for young audiences, but I'm sure even adults would have fun with it. :)
If you like creative, fast-paced Young Adults with clever, funny heroines, many complex characters and realistic issues, this is your book.
*I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*