Thursday, 12 April 2012
Thursday Thoughts - Book Review of Welcome Caller This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
After being crowned Mistletoe Queen, Chloe Camden should be on top of the world, and more popular than ever. A jealous friend can't cope with her success, though, and trashes her reputation, leaving her a sudden social outcast. When her new guidance counselor tells her she needs to change her junior independent social project, Chloe is forced into a school radio station which is on its last legs, run by a bunch of losers who she'd never even have spoken to before. Taking a risk which could either kill or save the station, Chloe is thrust into a position as host of a new chat show. Will the risk pay off? Will Chloe find a new circle of friends?
From reading about this one, I was expecting it to be a light and breezy story, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was so much more than that. As well as the radio station drama going on, there's a sub-plot where Chloe's ageing grandmother, who suffers from Parkinson's - a brilliant character - is trying to assert her independence against Chloe's mother, who doesn't think she's fit to live alone anymore, and another with Chloe's new co-worker Duncan dealing with his own mother's serious issues. This made it much more memorable and impactful than I was expecting it to be, and it ended up being one of my favourites of the past 12 months.
I loved Shelly Coriell's writing style, which was bright and breezy - just like Chloe's personality - even when dealing with some of the tough issues in the book. It made this a seriously easy read and I absolutely loved narrator Chloe. I also thought the ending was perfectly handled, with each character's behaviour really ringing true to their portrayal to give a satisfying conclusion without everything being wrapped up too neatly.
Massive recommendation as an absolutely wonderful contemporary novel, I can't wait to read more by Shelley Coriell.
Another outstanding contemporary which looks fluffy but deals with a weighty topic is Lottie Biggs Is (Not) Mad by Hayley Long.