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- author Jackie French

Sunday 11 August 2013

Review: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe

Chloe Camden has a big heart and an even bigger collection of vintage shoes. What she doesn’t have is any idea why her two best friends are now giving her the cold shoulder or what on earth she will use as the topic for her junior independent study project (JISP) now that the new school counsellor has decided her proposed topic Villainous Vixens, a study of soap-opera divas, does not have sufficient educational merit.

How is Chloe supposed to deal with this JISP drama without her best friends? How is Chloe, who is used to being surrounded by friends and family, going to cope now that her brothers are all away at college and her friends will no longer talk to her?

Forced to take on promotions for the school radio station for her JISP, Chloe is feeling lonely and misunderstood. Gradually, she realises she can make a real difference at the station with her promotions ideas and the launch of a new call-in segment, but will Chloe stop talking long enough to start really listening to the people around her?

An upbeat story filled with entertaining teen dramas and likeable characters, Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe is an enjoyable teen fiction novel with a touch of romance. The story also touches on some deeper social issues with Chloe’s grandmother having increasing difficulties living independently and radio station tech guy Duncan Moore dealing with an addict mother and very unstable home life.

It is Chloe’s own personal growth that is the central theme of the novel, however. Chloe must learn that trying to be upbeat and chirpy isn’t always the best option. Sometimes people don’t want someone to laugh away their sadness, but rather someone to listen and empathise. For Chloe, learning to stop talking and start listening is a difficult but necessary life lesson.

While the friendship and family dramas do reflect serious issues faced by many teens, Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe is primarily an entertaining read with appealing, likeable primary and secondary characters.  The social and personal issues add sufficient depth to prevent the story from becoming a frothy rom-com while still leaving plenty of room for humour and a touch of romance.

Title: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Amulet Books, $11.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 August 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781419705458
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction