I haven’t gotten around to creating my long and very telling FMCs, or female main characters, Favorites List, but best believe Chloe has secured a shimmering spot on the higher end of that list. It could be her ridiculous joke-cracking, her mad people person skillz, her bold nature and vintage shoes, or her bright orange curls, but the fact is the package is what works. She’s talkative to a fault, friendly, and extraordinarily resilient. She’s sunshine on a rainy day and everybody unconsciously gravitates to the cheerful chatterbox toting a sack full of very big balls. Not much can throw this girl off her stride, and even when she stumbles, she’s quick to right herself and keep going, and I found myself a puddle of dazzled admiration.
Chloe isn’t the girl to wallow and burrow in deep, dark depression, no matter how difficult the hurdles. Sure, her family could be going through some serious issues, what with her grandmother getting slowly chewed up by irreversible disease, the house being mostly empty but for her with her parents’ demanding jobs and all five of her brothers away at school, and her best friends could volunteer for permanent hiatus from their friendship, but she still keeps moving. She acknowledges the hurt, takes it on the chin, cries it out, but the world does not stop and her life does not end. Her flair for the dramatic doesn’t induce eye rolls toward her situation, but adds a certain funny element to every scoop of bullshizz served up to her.
Even though, yes, she can talk anyone’s ears off and make them both want to fall off—because, hullo, chatterbox, right?—and she’s a terrible listener, in Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell she learns a little something about the world, about how it’s not always going to be set to rights, how not everyone is going to love her, how she can’t save everyone with a joke or a smile. Chloe grows up, while still staying true to the person she started with. AND I LOVED THAT. I have nothing but admiration, respect, and love for this girl with Thor-like internal muscles. I like a girl, as Duncan proclaims her, who wears her heart on her sleeve.
~Nose Ring Girl and Mr. Tool Belt equal big, red bloated hearts~
The other characters were pretty cool peeps, even Brie, the vicious, eat-your-heart-out bishy ex-friend chockfull of JEALOUSY. I couldn’t blame her for hatin’ on our girl, Chloe, because Chloe rocks, and, well, Brie does not. It’s sad and sorry to see the friendship, the love deteriorate between these two but I love the growth that resulted. And Mercedes, brainiac and mega pushover in my book, ex-bff number two, just made me mad and irritated, although I got her quietness and her lack of self-esteem. But these two didn’t help make the book for me.
Neither did Frick, Frack—I know, WHAT?—and/or Haley, though they were certainly lovely little addendums to the story. Other than Chloe, I really only FELT THINGS with Nose Ring Girl and Mr. Tool Belt. Let me explain. Nose Ring Girl, aka Clementine—and I just love people with… RICH personalities to pull off that name, is fire-breathing General Manager of Chloe’s soon-to-be radio station, and I adored her for her combatting snark, her realness, and general sense of attitude. The radio station means life, means expression to her, and exploring those fascinating layers of dislike toward Chloe and reading as they were stripped away as the story goes on, is full of snorts and guffaws because all her sarcastic banter and Chloe’s cheeky reciprocation do something wicked fun to the dialogue.
And can I get a woot-woot for Mr. Tool Belt? Let me just say that any boy described like this:
A ruddy red brushed his pale cheeks, and his thick black hair was messy, like he’d been out in the wind. A nubby scarf looped his neck. I could picture him perched alone on a rugged, windswept Scottish moor. (7%)
deserves a yes, please, and THANK YOU, GOD. Turns out the boy’s well-worth all that because his inside matches his outside. He’s sweet, shy, and terribly to himself, never opting to share with others his problems and nuisances of the days, present and past. He’s heart-achingly sad, lonely, and I loved seeing him light up under Chloe’s disarmingly extreme voltage.
~Tingling thumbs and a senior citizen’s fixation with Brad Pitt are a go~
Chloe is bold in every area of her life, it seems. Honest, straightforward, and innately confident, even in asking out the boy who makes her thumbs tingle. There’s no guile, no teasing and torturous wondering What Ifs. She just kind of plows right through without a drop of sweat to show for it. It’s hard to say no to her not because she’s insistent, but because she’s vibrant and shining and people get addicted regardless of their wariness. Including Duncan.
She gets all her awesomeness from her Grams, who’s battling Parkinson’s and isn’t altogether happy with it, OBVS. Chloe and her Grams share this irresistible understanding, and are two people guaranteed to give you a pick-me-up. They know how to comfort, what to say and how to soothe, and they’re just amazing with people. Observant, bright, and funny not just in their words but in their barrels of quirks. It’s hard not to love a woman who parks her life-size Brad Pitt on dryer number seven, the pantry, or the head of the staircase to stare at it before plopping down and checking his marital status.
~What a funk breaker~
Since I’d been away on vacation for the past few days, I didn’t have much time to read and found that when I came back, I wasn’t in the mood for AN-Y-TH-ING. I ended up randomly starting Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell, and look how well that turned out! Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell is the perfect perk job, laughter conducive, with an underlying depth and just the right amount of angstiness to tide over the rest so that it’s not all about flawless happiness and hand holding.
Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell is far from peaceful, but so much fun and absolutely perfect for summer, as it’s got (unlikely) friendships, inner gooeyness-inducing kisses, all wrapped up in subtle lessons and silly excitement. I downright adore this book!
Looking for books with a similar feel, try checking out When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle and/or Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Fans of Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeithlin might also like this book.
Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 5/29/12