Becoming Chloe

( 17 )

Overview

Meet Jordy. He’s on his own in New York City. Nobody to depend on; nobody depending on him. And it’s been working fine.
Until this girl comes along. She’s 18 and blond and pretty–her world should be perfect. But she’s seen things no one should ever see in their whole life–the kind of things that break a person. She doesn’t seem broken, though. She seems . . . innocent. Like she doesn’t know a whole lot. Only sometimes she does.
The one thing ...

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Becoming Chloe

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Overview

Meet Jordy. He’s on his own in New York City. Nobody to depend on; nobody depending on him. And it’s been working fine.
Until this girl comes along. She’s 18 and blond and pretty–her world should be perfect. But she’s seen things no one should ever see in their whole life–the kind of things that break a person. She doesn’t seem broken, though. She seems . . . innocent. Like she doesn’t know a whole lot. Only sometimes she does.
The one thing she knows for sure is that the world is an ugly place. Now her life may depend on Jordy proving her wrong. So they hit the road to discover the truth–and there’s no going back from what they find out.
This deeply felt, redemptive novel reveals both the dark corners and hidden joys of life’s journey–and the remarkable resilience of the human soul.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Tender, amazingly hopeful and only occasionally sentimental. . . .Vibrant and heartbreaking.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“The powerful questions about responsibility and forgiveness will affect readers, as will the characters who make their own family, and in doing so, find love, hope, and deep friendship.”—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
This deeply affecting novel by the author of Pay It Forward begins with the intersection of two nearly-lost lives. Jordan, 17, is hustling sex to earn a living in New York City after coming out to his parents and nearly getting killed by his homophobic father. In the horrific opening scene, he's squatting in the cellar he calls home when he realizes a girl is being raped in the alley outside. The victim is an 18-year-old waif whose life so far has been so unrelentingly brutal it doesn't register with her to complain about the rape. The instantaneous bond they form (Jordan gives her the name Chloe) has its origins in the most heartbreaking of circumstances: neither had a parent they could count on (though the author never divulges the full story of Chloe's childhood, which may frustrate some readers). When a second violent incident makes them fugitives, the two wind up on an exhilarating coast-to-coast journey looking for joy and beauty in what so far has been a grim existence. Readers will love this road trip as the two drive, bike and hitchhike from Niagara Falls to Big Sur, running into (mostly) wonderful people along the way. Jordan is an uncommonly mature teen, perhaps a tad idealized, but he and Chloe feel entirely real and readers will root for them. This is eloquent storytelling about how two troubled teens find redemption-through each other. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jordan meets Wanda when he saves her from being raped on the streets of New York. She seems only slightly relieved to have the violence interrupted, and Jordan begins to realize her life has been a series of acts like this. As they forge a powerful friendship, Wanda embarks on the journey of becoming Chloe, attempting to change who she is as she searches for beauty in a cross-country trip to see the Grand Canyon, Big Sur, and other beautiful things along the way. Jordan and Chloe meet extraordinary people, some very giving and others careless or vicious, who help them form their views of the world and the worth of their lives in it. Will Jordan and Chloe survive the natural and man-made dangers that face them as they travel alone? Will they ultimately decide the world is more beautiful or ugly? Although the relationship between Jordan and Chloe is not sexual, other sexual encounters and descriptions of violence make this inappropriate for readers under (at least) age fourteen. 2006, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House, Ages 14 up.
—Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
VOYA
Something is not right about the young woman Jordy rescues during a gang rape in a New York City alley. Fragile and beautiful, she does not seem to understand that something terrible has happened to her or that bad things happen at all. When Jordy tells her that she can change her name, she becomes Chloe, and she and Jordy, a gay teen living on the streets after nearly being beaten to death by his father, become a team. Chloe's childlike state hides a lifetime of abuse, and when that mask begins to slip, Jordy must prove to them both that the world is beautiful. This thought-provoking story of the power of hope from the author of Pay it Forward (Simon & Schuster, 1999) blends the realities of street life with the wonder of cross-country exploration. Jordy, burdened by guilt and the scars of his parents' anger, is a character readers can care deeply for, even as he makes tough choices, such as hustling and stealing to keep their heads above water. Chloe-dog-whisperer, artist, pure spirit-is less convincing when her defenses break down and she falls into depression, perhaps only because she has been so luminous until then. She does not become a clichT, however, and their redemption in the face of their combined life experiences proves the power of the novel's ultimate message that, even in a world of seemingly relentless tragedy, beauty is there, too, if one takes the time to look for it. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Knopf, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Vikki Terrile
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Jordy, homeless, gay, and abused, finds a kindred spirit when he rescues fragile, childlike Chloe from a brutal rape near the abandoned building where they both live. Thus begins their intensely codependent friendship. When Jordy all but commits murder to protect Chloe, it only reinforces in his mind that they have no option but to leave New York City for their safety and sanity. And here, at the halfway mark, the novel takes a left turn: the teens hightail it out of the city in a beat-up pickup truck to discover America and possibly new lives. The arresting and gut-wrenching opening scene promises a gritty urban tale of survival, and despite some choppy, repetitive dialogue, Hyde makes the first half of the book succeed. But the cross-country trek quickly loses momentum with a wistful, near-philosophical shift in tone. And while Hyde's jerky, streamlined style reinforces the teens' pain, it doesn't complement their cross-country search for beauty and trust in the novel's second half. The results feel rushed and uneven, almost as if two separate narratives were merged to create this single slim volume.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tender, amazingly hopeful and only occasionally sentimental, this tale of two lost children comes from the author of Pay It Forward. Jordy is gay; he has run away from his wealthy and totally disapproving parents. Sleeping in a cellar in New York City he tries to rescue a tiny blonde girl from rape. Chloe-she chooses that name-doesn't exactly seem to notice. She has been thoroughly abused, and Jordy finds himself completely taken by the need to protect her. These two take a journey lit by Chloe's dreams of beautiful things, including riding a horse along Big Sur in California. From Niagara Falls to the Painted Desert, they ride, hitchhike and bicycle, mostly helped by the kindness of strangers but occasionally hurt or hindered. What is gorgeous, however, is their search and their response to the world, to living creatures and to each other, reminding readers of how many different names there are for love. Vibrant and heartbreaking. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375832604
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/11/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 779,806
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: 600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of two other young adult novels, The Day I Killed James and The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, as well as several adult novels. She lives in California.

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Read an Excerpt

WINGS

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. I can hear the guy grunting the way guys do. Some guys. Not all guys. I never made a sound like that.

The girl is on her back on the hard concrete of that filthy alley, and I entertain the thought that maybe this was never her idea. That this is not a voluntary gig on her part. Because who gets turned on by lying in filth on cold concrete to do it? Then again, in this city, who knows? I've been in this city five days. Slept in this cellar three. Already I've seen people sink pretty low and not think twice about it. Lower than they probably thought they'd ever go. Too bad I'm one of them.

There's a streetlight out on the avenue, but not much light makes it down to the back of the alley. And even less makes it down here where I sleep. But at the street end of the alley there's a little bit of light, and I look down that way, and I see about three more pairs of feet.

I hear a guy say, "Someone's coming." He's talking in that kind of hoarse whisper they call a stage whisper, but this is definitely not the stage. This is so real it's starting to change me. Then he says, "No. Never mind. It's okay."

By now my stomach is all cold and I realize this is rape going on up there. I realize that my inconvenience at being kept awake doesn't stack up to much. I can think of at least one person in this direct vicinity who's having a much worse night than I am.
And I know I have to do something. I'm just not sure what.

I have to find a place to hide. Because I think I'm going to have to yell, and I don't want anyone to know where I'm yelling from. When I interrupt them, they're not going to like that. And the last thing I want is for them to come take out their frustrations on me. There's one cellar window that doesn't lock. If there wasn't, I wouldn't be down here. I jump up from the mattress too fast, and it makes me dizzy and makes my head hurt. My head still hurts a lot. I try not to think about it, but it's still pretty bad.

There's a kind of alcove created by mattresses stacked against the far wall. I hide behind those mattresses. And I try to decide what to do with my voice. Should I make it high, trying to pass for a woman? Or go deep, like a much bigger, much older guy than I am? Or just be me? I guess I'm looking to put on some authority.
I go deep. "I called the police!" I yell. Praying they can't track the direction of the sound. "I can see what's going on out there. I already called the police."
For a moment the whole world goes quiet and still. I can almost hear my heart pounding.

I peek around the mattresses. I still can't see the back of the alley very well in the dark, but I can see well enough to know that the scene of the actual rape is motionless. Just a lump of two figures frozen. And I can see the feet at the end of the alley and they're not moving, either.

I realize I've probably done all it's in my power to do, and it might not be nearly enough.

Then something miraculous happens. Actually, I don't guess it's fair to call it a miracle when it happens dozens of times a night. I listen to sirens all night here. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars. Always an emergency close by. Back-to-back disasters, all night long. But the timing of this one is something like heaven. Or at least mercy.

The guys run away. All of them. And I come out of hiding.

I watch to see if the girl is going to be okay. She takes a minute getting up. One of her shoes is knocked off, and she looks around for it. Her jeans are only on one ankle but she worries about the shoe first. She moves off toward the end of the alley looking for it, and I can see her as she bends down to retrieve it. She's no older than I am. She's tiny. I wonder if I should go out there and see if she's okay.

Before I can even move she comes in through the window that doesn't lock. Drops right down into the cellar with me. Like she knew which one to go through all the time. Her jeans are still off except for that one leg, and her panties got ripped off, or she never had any, so she's more or less naked from the waist down, just standing there in a hooded sweatshirt, staring at me. She doesn't seem the least bit surprised that I'm here. She's blond, with that long, perfectly straight hair that girls used to kill for in the sixties. Or so I've been told. A little younger than me, I think. She looks about sixteen but she's small for her age, or younger than I think. Pretty, with good bones in her face. Like she belongs someplace better than this. Then again, who doesn't?

"Hi," she says. She steps back into the other leg of her jeans and pulls them into place.

"You okay?" I ask.

"Oh. Me? Yeah. Sure. Sure. I'm fine."

She says it in a kind of distracted tone, like she has to keep reminding herself what we're talking about. I'm thinking maybe she's loaded, but her motor skills seem fine. She's putting her shoe back on now, a dirty white sneaker with the laces knotted and broken away.

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Sure. Fine."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Becoming Chloe is an unforgettable story like no other

    Jordy and Chloe (formally known as Wanda), both have very mysterious pasts. When Jordy leaves home after being disowned by his parents for being gay, he finds himself barely surviving in a rundown cellar in New York City. Jordy does not realize he is sharing this cellar with someone until one night when he rescues a young girl (renamed) Chloe from being raped. Chloe soon returns the favor by saving Jordy's life. They to live together and become very close, and Jordy realizes that Chloe has not had your average "rough life". She has seen and experienced things that no other human being should ever have to go through. She has secrets of her past that she refuses to talk about. Although it seems she should be bitter, Chloe is far from that. She is innocent and childlike, almost ignorant to all of the terrible things that she has experienced. Her amazing personality and charisma seems to rub off on everyone she meets. Chloe is far from perfect though. She seems certain that the world is a dark and terrible place and her life may not even be worth living. After a psychiatrist tells Jordy that there may not be any hope for Chloe, Jordy decides that he will show Chloe all of the beautiful things in America to prove to her that the world is actually a beautiful place. They travel across the country hitchhiking and bike-riding, going from landmark to landmark and city to city while meeting some really incredible people on the way. Jordy hopes that their adventure full of self realization will successfully show Chloe all of the beauty that the world has to offer and prove to her that her life is indeed worth living.

    I really enjoyed reading this book, mainly because it had such an absorbing plot. The characters were extremely interesting and likable. At times, i found myself so into the book that i was unable to put the book down, especially towards the end. The only complaint i have about this book is that there were some sections of the book that did not keep my attention very well. All and all, i think Becoming Chloe is an excellent book that I'm sure i will find myself rereading eventually.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    #inspiredGenius

    Enticing and always keeps you waiting for the next part . The auhor has a way of aijg you feel as if you were there. The perspctivve from which this book is written makes it all the more intresting in a w and gives you insight on differet aspcts of life. Truly enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    From one chloe to another

    Being a chloe can be rough!! (Trust me!) This beautiful story goes to prove just what a chloe can really do!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    My name is chloe tooo

    Omg

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    My name is chloe! Lol

    Ha

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Strange

    This book was a little strange...it was about deep topics yet it didn't touch me in any deep way.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    My names Chloe!!

    Ok so i looked up chloe and i clicked on this book and i looked up chloe becaise my name is chloe!!!! This book is really good and im glad i looked it up!!! =)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Anonymous

    My name is Chloe!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    Im hooked

    Only read a sample and u ahe to hav it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Sleephead 06

    The book is good! I do like story a lot. I thought the book was funny, little sad, cool story. I do like the character nsme jordon and chloe make a great friend to each othet and help each other through the trouble situation in the storyline. I say the author did good. The author wrote about find someone in your life then help thst person out and go on a road trip together.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2011

    dont miss out

    becoming chloe is an awesome book that many teenagers would love. it is an exciting book that will catch your attention on the first chapter! dont miss out on this lovely book. it really is a thriller (:

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2008

    An Intense and Heartfelt Book

    Jordy lives by himself in a city basement. Or, atleast, he thinks he does until he rescues a girl from being raped in the street and realizes that she's been in the basement with him all along. The girl is Wanda, who after admitting she hates her name, becomes Chloe. Chloe is a simple girl and she doesn't understand anything until something drastic forces her to. Together, Jordy and Chloe leave the cellar and begin to make a life for themselves. As they travel across the country, they begin to realize that though the world can be a horrible place, there are many good things in it. Becoming Chloe is one of those books where the cover instantly intriuged me and I had to have the book before I even knew what it was about. In this case, it turned out to be a good thing. I found Becoming Chloe to be an intense and heartfelt book. There's very little time spent on unneeded detail and I enjoyed reading about the experiences Jordy and Chloe share, This is one book I won't be forgetting soon and I really hope you give it a chance too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2007

    Amazing

    The book is very intriguing and different from other teenage novels. It's very heartbreaking and touching, always pulling at the strings of your heart. There are times where you want to put yourself in their shoes, and feel how it's like to be them. There are also times in the story where you would feel extremely sorry for one of the two main characters, meaning this adds more emotion. It's overwhemingly touching and caring, seeing how Jordan is gay but also treating Chloe like his treasure. This book has been one of the best I've read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2006

    Inspirational

    I think this book is very inspirational. Not only did I very much enjoy reading it, but it taught me that the world is beartiful and that there really are plenty of caring people. It is uplifting and teaches one not to take things for granted.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2006

    Outstanding Book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I totally loved this book. It starts out sad, but then it gets better. I would highly reccomend this book to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 17 Customer Reviews

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