Interesting and Relevant, Yet Somewhat Too Mature
'Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow's Diary' by Emma Chastain had its moments. Main character Chloe is starting her freshman year of high school and is determined to make a splash. Even before she sets foot in school on the first day, she meets incoming senior Mac Brody, with whom she falls head over heels into a crush. It doesn't seem to matter to her that he's dating the most beautiful senior girl. Chloe seems to think she has a shot, and Mac doesn't deter her from believing this, as he makes more-than-friendly remarks to her whenever he sees her.
Despite Chloe seemingly having a good start to freshman year with the above facts, she isn't having the easiest time with her home life. Her mom has basically abandoned her and her father, moving to Mexico to work on her novel. She says she'll come home, and stops back in town once in a while, but she keeps Chloe's delusions of her return to normalcy and suburbia up by never telling her that she truly doesn't have plans to come back, at least not in the same family-friendly capacity as before. Chloe often takes this out on her father, figuring that he is the reason behind it all. Her meanness toward him and rejection of all things "right" and "proper" by going against the grain much like her mother does, make her sometimes seem the naive, misunderstood girl, and other times the girl who gets what is clearly coming to her.
Many of the details of Chloe's exploits in the story seemed too old for her. This isn't to say that freshman girls who are fourteen and fifteen years old don't have issues relating to sex, alcohol, and seniors who want to make their lives miserable, but she seemed very caught up in issues that seemed far too old for her since she started out the story not seeming nearly as mature as the progression of her storyline. Even her best friend, who was a devout church-goer and seemed to not like Chloe's chosen path for freshman year, found herself getting mixed up in issues that seemed older than the way her character was written. Maybe some of this was meant to showcase Chloe's clear naivete to all of the senior exploits that she found herself dealing with, but it sometimes seemed too much for her young age.
All in all, Chastain has written a story that is interesting and relevant in this day and age. However, avid readers of young adult novels may find themselves thinking that the plot could have been made much more realistic based on Chloe's age. Or, they may consider the idea that if Chloe's past had been explored more, including who she was and how she acted in middle school, her issues may not have seemed so out of the ordinary for her.