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Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe - Shelley Coriell So far this book has the perfect blend of contemporary fiction and that edge of a CW show from the late '90s (i.e. - see the television show Popular for examples). Chloe is such a lively character living in southern Los Angeles. She has the perfect life: popular, living in a big house, PhD parents (i.e. - surgeon mother & college professor father), 5 older brothers off to med school or doctors, and A+ junior year student.

Anyway, the only problem is: after winter break things unravel. Her best friends alienate her, every student at school is whispering behind her back, and suddenly her favorite guidance consular has retired. Chloe's world has officially gone upside down!

I can say that I adore Chloe, can't relate to her too much since she is an extrovert and I'm kind of more introverted. Besides that, I do love this character. At first in the beginning she was a little too much, slightly irritating. But by the middle of the novel, she was changing and growing as a person. This Chloe I loved! Mostly because she was always talking and never really listening to people. She would talk over others, interrupt and just flat out forget that the conversation wasn't about her. By the end, Chloe learned to bite her tongue, let others just talk and get what they needed off their chest, and really not only hear what friends and family had to say, but listen as well. It's like I'm always saying, "You only hear what I'm saying, but you are not listening to what I'm saying."

A few key quirks that I enjoyed about Chloe include her hobby of buying vintage shoes (circa 1880-1980), her love of all things salsa bars, and the ability she has as being able to cheer people up with making them laugh. She is also the only person in her family, besides her Grandmother, who doesn't aspire to do anything medical. This is due to Chloe's rapid fear of blood and how the sight of it makes her faint.

It was very interesting to see the interactions she had with Clementine, Duncan, and her Grandmother.

Clementine is this nose pierced, black hair girl, who is the general manager of the radio program 88.8 The Edge (aka - portable five) at the high school. Her dream is to one day to own a radio station. With Chloe around, she tends to get snippy, dragon fire breathing, and apathetic towards her. Over time, Clementine eases up on Chloe and they start to bond.

Duncan is this 17 year old boy with dark hair and silvery eyes, who is always serious, fixes everything that breaks at the radio station, and is always wearing knitted scarves with a little crooked red heart at the end of each one. Much to Chloe surprises, Duncan is in her Economics class everyday, but Duncan isn't always there everyday. He works two jobs and because of this he doesn't get much sleep on school nights. As time goes on, Chloe starts becoming interested in Duncan and more. Their interactions together was engrossing. He was a silent kind of guy and rarely said more then two words to Chloe, while she would talk up a storm and Duncan would just listen. Ironically opposites do attract in this story.

Then there is her 82 year old grandmother, who nicknamed Chloe "Poppy", for her poppy colored hair. It's stuck with her since she was born. Her grandmother has an obsession with Brad Pitt, can't bare to live anywhere but her Tuna Can (aka-trailer home), and has Parkinson's. The latter causes Chloe's mother and grandmother, since winter break, to go all "World War III", as she put it.

The backdrop for the story was a great choice, not only for the age the main character is but just the vibe and scenery southern Los Angeles brings to a story. It fit well and flowed with how everything was with the story. I do like the descriptions given about Portable Five. The little portable trailer, the smells, sounds, even the atmosphere was fitting for the band of misfits that hung out at the radio station.

Overall I enjoyed the journey I took with Chloe. From her high points to the lower side of the tipping scale for her social life. It was an all out fun, witty, and delightful read. It's a perfect fit for teenage girls to read or anyone who likes a good contemporary novel with a female lead. Definitely worth a read once.