I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
Published by HarperTeen on December 9th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Slice-of-Life, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
Earlier this year, I absolutely fell in love with Liz Czukas’s debut, Ask Again Later, so when I got the opportunity to read Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, I was a bouncing bundle of joy. Though less bantery and wonderfully shippy than Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues was feel good, happy making, and totally reminiscent of epic ’80s movies like The Breakfast Club.
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless immediately captivated me due to Chloe’s wonderfully refreshing and engaging voice. Chloe, I would argue, has a mild form of obsessive compulsive disorder. She goes through all her life making lists. They’re entertaining and pretty clever, but also immediately reveal her difficulty to connect with other people. I could totally relate to her in these ways. I mean, my OCD is nowhere near as bad, and my social anxiety also isn’t that bad, but it made her such a real, vivid character and so different from what we usually get in YA. She also has diabetes, which I don’t think I’ve encountered before in YA literature, and living with her condition really opened my eyes to things I hadn’t considered before. TL;DR: Chloe is different, quirky, and awkward, but totally lovable.
Arguably this book is also the perfect advocate for diverse books. It takes place on one day, Christmas Eve, as Chloe works her shift in a supermarket experiencing its final holiday rush. She works alongside teenagers from a wide array of backgrounds: the African American guy she has a crush on, working for his college fund, the rebel girl who gets called a “dyke” just because of her short hair and tomboy clothes, the Muslim girl working in spite of her family’s beliefs that her place is in the home, the home schooled, sheltered genius boy… As you can probably tell: diversity all around. And I LOVED it.
These vivid and brilliant characters were nowhere close to being friends at the start of the book, but over the course of this eventful day, they really got to know one another. There are so many excellent messages about diversity, acceptance, prejudice, etc… Things that made me want to put the book down and CHEER. And that’s why it’s really like The Breakfast Club to me. These characters are all SO different, but in one day, just by being open to it (and, well, being forced together), they actually become friends, in a way. And they have so many fun adventures running around the supermarket after hours, while simultaneously, in essence, solving a crime. It was full of feel good moments and it was really entertaining.
However, this didn’t quite live up to my expectations after I’d read Ask Again Later. It wasn’t quite as humorous – because Chloe is more of a shy girl than an out-there sarcastic girl. It was also rather predictable, especially with Chloe’s diabetes situation – though it led to feel good results. The ship also didn’t really work for me. Thankfully there wasn’t a heavy focus on the romance, because the story was much more about getting to know this diverse cast of characters and what on earth happened to the money for the charity, but still, I wasn’t full of “NOW KISSSSSSS” emotions, like I had with Ask Again Later. Now, I know, I shouldn’t really have expected that going in, because this is not a sequel – it’s a standalone. But knowing that this author can write banter and romance in precisely the way I like, the absence of it made me just a tiny bit sad. But I still thought it was brilliant and I very much enjoyed it.