Seventeen-year-old Chloe Crandall is looking forward to spending the summer with her Manhattan friends. Then one of Chloe’s crushes gets her a lucrative job with a private security firm, and Chloe is sent out to sea. If she wants to collect her paycheck, she’ll have to fit in among a troupe of college drama majors as they travel up the coast performing pirate-themed shows—while keeping the lead actress safe from her psycho ex-boyfriend.
Geraldine Burrows’ CHLOE AFLOAT is a prime example of a well-written contemporary young adult novel. Chloe’s first-person narration strikes the perfect balance between intelligent and authentic. She is clever, curious, and brave. She uses smart phrases like “financially solvent”, but also refers to her parents as her “Adult Overlords” and tells her conscience to “just shut up already”. Throughout the novel, Chloe’s witty teenage tone is right on the mark and the story’s prose totally encapsulates the teenage perspective. Chloe’s charm isn’t just about her teenage spirit, though. Burrows does a great job fleshing out Chloe’s character by fully exploring the motivations behind her actions. Chloe has to face the “harsh realities” of her teenage existence: she’s driven by her need to find a way to pay for college, her worries about her future career, and her feelings surrounding her ongoing relationships with several “unsteady boyfriends”. The character’s emotional motivations are easy to connect with, which makes her the perfect character for the audience to empathize with.
CHLOE AFLOAT’s appeal isn’t all about its main character; its plot is a total knockout, too with its conflict filled with rich layers. Chloe’s curiosity (a trait she considers to be her “fatal flaw”) is constantly getting her into trouble. She spends her summer hiding behind her undercover identity while living on the cusp of danger. She tangles with Homeland Security, becomes involved with a rebellious group of environmental activists, and catches the attention of dangerous Russian mobsters. Chloe faces peril at every turn, which makes CHLOE AFLOAT an utterly engrossing page-turner and a captivating example of contemporary young adult fiction. The characters are good, the writing is good, the plot is good—what’s not to love?
CHLOE AFLOAT is a spectacular and page-turning contemporary young adult novel with a fierce main character that meshes well with the author’s witty writing style and understanding of teenage conflicts and characterization.
~Stephani Hren for IndieReader