Saturday, February 19, 2011

Exclusively Chloe

Exclusively Chloe by J.A. Yang 2009
Speak/Penguin Group

Rating: 3/5

IQ "'So you don't care that I'm a nobody?' [Jack]
'Does my being famous mean I'm somebody?'" Chloe pg. 236

Chloe-Grace is a star. Not in her own right, but by association. Her mother is the queen of Hollywood, a major award winner, and her father was a '90s hit wonder. They are the picture perfect couple and when they decide to adopt a child from China, they begin an international adoption craze amongst celebrities. Chloe-Grace is the child they bring back and she's never wondered about her biological parents. Until her father cheats on her mother and the paparazzi won't leave Chloe alone. Plus her mother is going out to the club every night. Chloe misses her parents and she's tired of all the media attention, so she decides to have a 'make under' and go to a 'normal' high school. She changes up her appearance slightly and also opens up a search for her biological parents. But no matter how famous you are or aren't, drama is never far behind when it comes to high school.

Contrary to the back of the book, Chloe does not decide to undergo a makeunder until halfway through the book. It wasn't boring per se, but there was a lot of set up occurring and after awhile I just wanted her to leave her wealthy school and annoying best friend, Rachelle and get on with switching high schools. What's worse is that there are maybe 3-4 chapters dealing with Chloe's new life and then we hurtle towards the ending. All of a sudden, all this drama erupts and then everything is solved a chapter later. Unfortunately, unlike real life, this book ends in a cheery, ultra-neat way. I was hoping for a bit more complexity or at least some loose strings. What's worse is that there's a cheesy epilogue. What really ticked me off was *SPOILER: HIGHLIGHT TO READ: the meeting with Chloe's parents. They were just oh-so-warm and yet they never tried to contact her once and then we get cheated out of reading their conversation. Chloe just tells us that they talked for hours. I was expecting it to be a bit more intense/awkward/emotional but it's glossed over and that really bothered me.* END OF SPOILER. I was also a bit bothered by the fact that Chloe is in love with Jack by the end of the book. Jack whom, as a character, is flatter than a pancake. Angelic personality so of course they'd be in love right? No. All the other characters are equally one-dimensional, I kept expecting Rachelle and Chloe to have a fight because Rachelle is not what I would call best-friend material but to each her own. Furthermore, like Yan, I kept expecting Vicki to do something horrible, I don't know if that was just me being so wary of people or if the writing made it seem like something was going down...

I did like that this is an example of what I want to see more of: diverse YA chick lit. I was expecting to not like Chloe but she could have been far more monstrous than she was. She's obviously used to being famous and she embraces the perks of fame, but she doesn't try to hog the spotlight and certainly doesn't mind spending a quiet night at home. Sure she could annoy the reader by how she views 'ordinary' people as boring, but that makes the book and Chloe, seem more genuine. "Vickie was saying this almost in admiration, as if she thought I was a strong person for having a crazy life or something. I knew she was giving me words of encouragement, but I didn't feel strong at all. Just overwhelmed." (pg. 97). That quote shows how down-to-earth Chloe is. While most of the secondary characters were one dimensional, I did really like Luther. Luther is the typical over-the-top makeup artist, but I was so entertained by his excitement over playing Chloe's fake dad that I didn't mind.

Exclusively Chloe is nothing extraordinary, but it delivers on being a relaxing read, a good choice for when one is in-between some heavier books. The diverse, over-the-top, secondary characters make this book both a tad disappointing and more entertaining. Plus it's the first book I've ever read that gives an idea of what life might be like for the adopted children of celebrities. There were tiny little details that made me smile too, like how Chloe's parents decorated her room in a 'Chinese style' when she was younger. It's a cute idea but it made me shake my head. The book starts off slow and ends too fast and clean, and Chloe falls in love way too quickly. While avid fans of chick lit may not see anything new in this plot, this was a new-to-me read and I can definitely see why people like chick lit.

Disclosure: Bought :)