Thursday, August 13, 2009

Book Review: Exclusively Chloe by J.A. Yang

Chloe-Grace is the adopted 16 year old daughter of major celebrities and thus a celebrity herself. When her parents announce their intention to divorce and the glare of fame becomes too much for her, Chloe decides to go undercover at a regular high school and try out an anonymous life.

There are so many books out there about normal teens finding themselves suddenly famous (fantasy wish fulfillment for many in our culture today), but this is one for the Suris and Maddoxs of the world who must yearn to know what it is like to slum it in J Crew and a dented Honda.

The novel is broken in two halves – the first gives us a rather standard look at Chloe’s paparazzi-filled life while the second, detailing Chloe’s life as “Lilly”, is far more clever and interesting. I didn’t feel like the first part warranted being so long since it really didn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before in the way of the celebrity lifestyle – just lots of flashbulbs, pampering, high fashion, entourages and impulse jewelry purchases. Part two is where the meat is, and some elements, such as the Jack romance and the reunion with her Chinese birth family, are given short-shrift IMHO.

Chloe is an appealing main character, and while some of her supporting characters, such as friends Vickie and Jana, brother Henry, and stylist/fake father Luther, pull their weight, most of the rest simply fade into the background as easily forgettable stereotypes. Still, this is a fun look at celebrity with nothing objectionable in it – a perfect vehicle to show younger starstruck teens that fame is not all it’s cracked up to be.

EXCLUSIVELY CHLOE is out now in paperback. Find out more about it at the author’s blog.

11 comments:

writemeg said...

I get really frustrated when books seem to dwell on the less important facts of the story -- like Chloe's fame, as you mention -- and then zip right past the heart of the story. Still, I'm definitely interested in reading this one! :)

Diana Dang said...

Great review! I am most glad to see another Asian protagonist!

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

Great review! I'll add it to my wishlist ;)

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Sounds like a good read! I like that it's turning the story around, instead of the classic dork kid becoming suddenly famous.

bermudaonion said...

Sounds appealing to me!

Bookworm said...

I was oddly disappointed in this book. The Lilly part seemed too brief, and like Writemeg says, it simply dwelled on Chloe's fame and zipped past the important stuff! I liked Chloe's character though. Good review!

Staci said...

This is one that I'm sure a lot of my older middle school girls would love to read. Reminds me of one that Cabot wrote....the title eludes me right now but it was a fun read.

Thao said...

I don't like to read about glamorous lives really much but the second part of the story sounds good to me.

celi.a said...

Wonderful review! You've really broken down what's good and important about this novel, and what they could have done without. I really trust your recommendations - thanks for sharing your honest opinions!

Nicole said...

I would probably be really interested to see how she navigates being "normal" too. Too bad there wasn't more of that.

Kelly said...

Good review! I'll mention this book to my 14 year old daughter the next time she's looking for something to read at the bookstore!