Friday, February 6, 2009

Review: Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Tag: YA, road trip, beauty, self-discovery, homosexuality, abuse

17-year-old Jordy--a runaway after coming out to his homophobic parents--didn't know it was going to change his life when he saves a beautiful blond girl from rape. Suddenly he's stuck taking care of Chloe--which is not her real name but is preferred over her real one--who is strangely childlike although incredibly smart and determined at times. Jordy's got problems of his own, too, but he can't help feeling that he must protect Chloe, that something terrible has happened to her and that she is using her childlike disposition to mask her past.

An unfortunate string of events leads to Jordy and Chloe heading on a road trip across America, so that Chloe can hopefully learn that it's a beautiful world out there, not just full of abuse and neglect. They see beauty, but they also encounter some terrible things as well...but in the end, isn't that what it's all about? The world is both good and bad, and it's only by becoming part of it that you can truly live life.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is an amazingly talented writer. From the start, I was pulled into Jordy and Chloe's predicament, and despite the perpetual air of mystery that hung around the duo, I was able to get to know them very well. Chloe reminds me a lot of Stargirl, only with a dark past that we never get to know. Leaving Chloe's past a mystery may be frustrating, but it strengthens the message of this here-and-now book, which is to live life in the moment and not allow your past to dictate your future. For anyone looking for an uplifting road-trip story that will linger with you for a while, Becoming Chloe is THE number one choice.

You'll like this if you also like...
Jerry Spinelli (Stargirl)
Wendelin van Draanen (Flipped)
David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy)

Rating: 4/5


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