Book Review: Top Ten Clues You're Clueless
By: Liz Czukas
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Chloe is the new girl in town and she isn't exactly a social butterfly. She's finding it hard to step outside of her comfort zone and make new friends, but her job at a local grocery store forces her to interact with others. Chloe doubts herself and feels like when she opens her mouth babble is the only thing that comes forth. She's self conscious, intelligent, and slightly nerdy. I loved Chloe and her lists. She reminded me of my teenage self.
Chloe's story takes place on Christmas Eve as she's forced to work on one of the busiest days of the year. There are a slew of other people working, but the story focuses on the younger people aka the younglings working at the store. In addition to Chloe, there is a diverse and appealing cast of characters. I found that I loved spending time with each one. Gabe is the rich athlete whose family has his entire future planned out for him. Sammi is the rough around the edges former foster kid who doesn't take crap from anybody. Micah is the sweet, innocent homeschool sort who harbors amazing intellect. Zaina is the exotic beauty who doesn't say much. Last but not least we have Tyson - the object of Chloe's affection - the all around nice guy who works hard and loves his grandmother's cooking. None of the group has interacted beyond work and they don't seem to have much in common, but circumstances will throw them together for one afternoon that will open their eyes to possibilities.
Not only are the characters diverse in their backgrounds and behaviors, but there is also ethnic diversity. Tyson is African American and Zaina is Middle Eastern. It was nice to see so much diversity in a novel.
The various personalities of the main characters appealed to me and reminded me of one of my favorite 80's movies, The Breakfast Club. After a theft from the holiday donation box, all six of the teens are kept at work until the police can arrive to question them. Like in the movie, the monotony of being kept against their will causes the teens to find interesting ways to amuse themselves. Conversations that reveal more insight into each character are also frequent. I loved watching this group bond and learn more about one another.
My one major complaint with this one is Chloe's behavior concerning her diabetes. She talks about it a good bit in the beginning, but then begins to do things that don't make sense like not eating and not checking her blood sugar. It seemed like this was a big portion of her character make up, but she didn't seem to care about it or want anyone to know about her disease. I understand that being a teenager is hard and that anything that makes you different can be seen as a negative, but I hate watching characters not take care of themselves.
Overall, this was a fun and quick read. I really enjoyed that this was a holiday story, but it is one that didn't have that snowflakes and mistletoe feel to it. I love those sorts of holiday stories as well, but this is more about the characters and the mystery than about the time of year.
One Last Gripe: The beginning was a little slow.
Favorite Thing About This Book: The diverse characters
First Sentence: Top Ten Weirdest Things People Do Everyday at GoodFoods Market
10. Try to pay for their stuff with stolen credit cards and then get pissed off when we have to cut the cards up.
Favorite Character: Chloe
Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one.
Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day
5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market
4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi
3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm
2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)
1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000
Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.