|Booklist, April 1 issue, STARRED REVIEW
Gr. 8-12. Teenage Chloe has gotten a new start. With the help of her grandparents, she has left her violent childhood behind. But when her stepfather and abusive mother reappear, she must start again, this time by going on the run. Accompanied by her grandparents pregnant Hispanic maid, Silvia, who is also seeking a new life, Chloe embarks on an adventure through slums and suburbs, revealing that people, places, and experiences arent always what they seem. Set in a thoroughly modern context, this inventive, affectionate homage to Mark Twains classic about Huck Finn clearly illustrates that prejudice still affects human understanding, behavior, and language. Like Hucks journey, Chloes is both a multilayered story of personal growth and an entertaining, provocative satire that explores society, culture, and humankinds occasionally ironic notions of freedom and progress. And like Huck, Chloe is awakened to injustice and hypocrisy before she finds hope in human connections and good hearts. Olshans creative prose shines in Chloes sharp, intimate, funny narrative, which is filled with vivid observations, philosophical musings, and insights into the world and people around her. Teens who have read Twains book will appreciate Olshans direct references and parallels; those who havent will like the action and the heroines resourcefulness. The books satire and cynicism may create controversy and strike some readers as harsh, but the novel effectively raises awareness of contemporary social concerns, and, like the classic, is certain to invite both thought and discussion.
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