Monday, June 22, 2009

Becoming Chloe by Catherine Hyde

Title: Becoming Chloe
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published: November 2008 by Knopf Books

My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic
Includes: Profanity, Sexual Content, Homosexuality

First Lines: The cellar has five high windows that let out onto the alley between this building and the next. I'm trying to get some sleep, only there are people having sex out there.

The first time I heard about this book was while reading a review for it on a book blog. Basically, the reader fell in love and obsessed over this book. So, I thought, what the heck, why don't I read it too?

During the first few chapters, I wasn't very impressed. It didn't seem like the story was going anywhere. The two main characters, Jordan and Chloe, were introduced during the opening of the book - which just happened to be during a rape scene. These two teenagers live in a basement of an abandoned building in New York City. The story progresses to reveal that Jordan, or "Jordy", is homeless and gay, and that Chloe is different from everyone else. I waited and waited to read about the "horrible events" that had messed Chloe up in the head, but the author never included them, which disappointed me. Also, you never exactly understand why Chloe talks and acts like a little kid, or mentally handicapped. Finally, after about halfway through the book, it picks up...majorly.

Jordy and Chloe decide to go on a huge road trip around the United States, to try and figure out if the world is a beautiful place or not. It was incredible reading about the sights, sounds, and smells of all of the landmarks the teens visited. While they were at Niagara Falls, I could just imagine myself standing right next to them. Catherine Hyde did such a fantastic job of writing their adventures, that I wonder if she actually visited the places herself! The book continues with the rest of their journey and their new outlook on life at the end.

From Page 103
The boat is rocking gently under our feet, and the mist is hitting our faces, and it makes Chloe laugh. The hands-on nature of the whole experience just makes her laugh out loud. Fills her with too much joy to contain, and that's what she does to release the balance.

For some reason, I feel like I read two different stories put together. I didn't like the first half, but just adored the second half. By the end of the book, Jordan seems like a completely different person - philosophical, mature, and practically a father to Chloe. I think that the book had a great moral to it - about the true beauty of the world if you take the time to look hard enough. I loved the diverse characters that Chloe and Jordy met along the way; they were all so different and had their own story. I think it was a creative way to show variety through so many different people that offered to help them get to their destinations by hitchhiking.

From Page 120
The next ride we get is from a lady wearing two big puffy ski parkas. One right over the other, even though it's really not all that cold. Then I notice that she has about five Fleet enemas sitting on the dashboard. Right in their boxes. She also has three troll dolls pasted to the dashboard. She tells us that the trolls ward off evil spirits.

One thing that really confused me about this book was the strange sentence structure at times. (Mostly during the first half.) A lot of the characters that were adults talked as if they were ten years old sometimes. I had trouble following along with their conversations, and found it a little awkward at times.

From Page 98
"Is there a campground that you know of?"
"Oh, yes, there are a couple. But one is much better than the other," Adele says. "Make sure you get the good one. We have to make sure they get the good one, Fred. Fred, go get the map and show him how to get to the good one."

But overall, I really liked this book. It didn't make a big impact on my life nor is it one of my favorite reads, but I am glad that I took the time to read it. I'm just warning you now that if you don't enjoy the first chapters, give it a chance! Halfway through, it becomes addicting and wonderful. I think I'll definitely remember this book for a long time and see what else Catherine Ryan Hyde has written.
Book Supplied by: Author, for review.


  1. Hmm, now that you mention it, you're definitely right! It DID seem like two different stories, didn't it? And it bugged me as well. But I still enjoyed the book quite a bit. Nice review!

  2. This doesn't sound so great! If there isn't a good introduction, I get reluctant to read the rest! I like the honest review!


Thanks, I love what you have to say!