Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong)

Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong)

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by Carrie Rosten

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This is the deal with Chloe Leiberman (sometimes Wong):

· She lives, breathes, sleeps, eats and drinks fashion.

· She's half Jewish (father) and half Chinese (mother).

· She has one bow-tie(like Tucker Carlson)-wearing brother.

· She’s stuck in the OC.

· She always knows the right thing to wear. And


This is the deal with Chloe Leiberman (sometimes Wong):

· She lives, breathes, sleeps, eats and drinks fashion.

· She's half Jewish (father) and half Chinese (mother).

· She has one bow-tie(like Tucker Carlson)-wearing brother.

· She’s stuck in the OC.

· She always knows the right thing to wear. And what you should be wearing, too.

· She is a senior in high school.

· She didn't apply to college, even though her parents think she did.

· She has two best friends–Spring, 100% WASP, and Sue, 100% NOT.

· She's talented but doesn't know it yet.

· She dreams about going to design school in London.

This is her application.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
Chloe Leiberman presents herself as being completely consumed with fashion and battling her self-diagnosed and self-named "fashion disorder." She evaluates the (missing) fashion sense of everyone around her, from her mother to her nemesis at school to her "friends"—and finds everyone lacking. Despite promising her parents she will take the SATs and apply to college, she does neither and seems stunned by their anger when she finally confesses. In other words, what really consumes Chloe's attention is not fashion, but herself. Her shallow, self-absorbed view of life and everyone in it makes it difficult for readers to feel sympathy or even sustained interest in the trials of her life, which consist of things like her mother's dismal wardrobe or her boyfriend not calling or texting for five whole days. The affected writing style may appeal to a small group of teen girls, but most will find it more annoying than engaging. Presenting such a shallow main character with superficial concerns and trivial voice seems to insult the intended readership.
Children's Literature
Chloe Wong-Leiberman may be flunking P.E. during her final weeks of high school, and failing her parents' expectations in just about every way, but the worst thing is, she has also failed to apply to college. She has missed every deadline, except for the one school she wants to attend most. The novel's conceit is that the text is Chloe's unconventional, last minute, last-ditch application to Central Saint Martins fashion design school in London. Multi-racial Chloe sews together the various elements of her Jewish-Chinese-WASP heritage with humor and creativity, mostly writes about herself in the third person, and tells a story about growing up, gaining confidence and convincing her father that just maybe, after all, fashion school is a better fit for her than Harvard. Alternately alienated by affluence and attracted by expensive designer wear, she embraces racial and socio-economic diversity in her friendships and her fashion sense, too. Her Chinese grandmother, Pau-Pau, is a stand-out supporting character. The author has a similar family background and is a clothing designer and costume designer for television and film. Her sentences zing confidently with knowledge of sewing and the industry and the nuanced context attached to style choices and designer names. The novel stalls at the beginning, however, with too much fashion and not enough action. It also seems to assume that its YA readers will understand references to such people as Mary Quant and Pierre Cardin and that they can parse the significance of Bass loafers and Ferragamo shoes, while at the same time they need to have vocabulary words like "quirk" defined within the text. If the writing about clothes often clutters the book,at breakthrough moments fashion succeeds as a metaphor for finding the self and stating the profound. The plot gains clarity and speed in the second half, and the ending leaves open possibilities for a sequel. 2005, Delacorte Press/Random House, Ages 13 up.
—J. H. Diehl
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-High school senior Chloe Wong Leiberman is all about fashion, 24/7. She actually has hallucinations when faced with people in fashion "Don'ts," wherein she mentally re-creates their clothing faux pas with trendy wear. Despite living a life of privilege in a gated community in L.A., no one in her family seems to be happy or even functional. Her Chinese mother is a fashion and personal disaster, according to Chloe, and her Jewish father is too busy cutting the next big deal to pay much attention to anything his daughter really wants-which is to attend a prestigious fashion academy in London (Dad doesn't think it's high-brow enough). Written in what seems to be the current equivalent of Valley-speak, this novel is filled with the superficial self-obsessions of a spoiled, shallow, rich girl, which makes it difficult to be sympathetic to her woes. This style of writing and plot direction (or lack thereof) treats its presumed audience as though it were as small-minded and self-absorbed as the characters so ponderously portrayed. In doing so, the writer, the story, the characters, and the intended audience are, regrettably, irredeemably trivialized.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The granddaughter of Leo Rosten and the great-niece of William Steig makes a modest but amusing contribution to chick lit as trendy as soy chai lattes. The half-Chinese, half-Jewish 17-year-old of the title lives in El Lay, has best friends who are WASP and Latina and a bad black boyfriend whose band is called The Mourned. What Chloe has is a fashion sense that won't stop-she not only can't help making her every outfit perfect (she takes Polaroids for recordkeeping), but she can't help making over everyone she sees. She also has sort of forgotten to apply to college, breaking the hearts of her workaholic lawyer dad (the name of his firm is Schmukla, Schitty, and Schizer), her Pilates-obsessed and shopaholic mom, her Chinese cancer survivor grandmother and her velour-wrapped Yiddish grandpa. La Contessa, a fairy godmother of a neighbor, and a mix-up at school turn the whole story into a kind of application for the London art school she really wants to attend. A glossary of Chinese, Yiddish and fashion terms is appended, and it's as funny as the rest of the bonbons in this verbal box of candy. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
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Random House
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Wong-Leiberman 101

DO: Opt for pearls on special occasions to please your mother

DON'T: Think wearing pearls will get you off the opting-out-of-college hook

So Chloe Wong-Leiberman was a senior without a plan. She was also a Chinese Jewish WASP with a fashion disorder. What, you ask, is a fashion disorder? It's not what you might be thinking--like, someone with zero sense of style and no fashion sense whatsoever. Au contraire, Chloe had plenty of style and tons of fashion sense. Too much. She'd even say she's obsessed. And do you know what obsession is like? To eat, drink, think, breathe, dream, and be totally and hopelessly consumed by something? This, as you might already know, kinda sucks.

Chloe was totally and hopelessly obsessed with everything related to clothing, shoes, and accessories--and not just her own. She was obsessed with your clothing, shoes, and accessories too--so obsessed that eventually she had to diagnose herself with, well, her fashion disorder. (We'll cover the symptoms shortly.) For right now just know that this FD thing, as she liked to call it, was extremely problematic. Especially because her FD was the reason she was on the verge of her high school graduation without a postgrad plan. And to be a senior without a postgrad plan in the Wong-Leiberman household was a gigantic DON'T.

You know, like there are DOs and DON'Ts in fashion, well, there are DOs and DON'Ts for Wong-Leibermans too. Like, DO plan on applying to, getting into, and then attending a REALLY HARD college. Like, DON'T even think about NOT applying to, getting rejected from, and not attending a really hard college. And well, Chloe had about the same chance to get into a REALLY HARD college that Melissa Rivers had to, like, cut the cord and get off that red carpet.

In a perfect world (and you know we don't live in one of those) Chloe wouldn't even apply to college at all; she'd apply to fashion school, Central Saint Martins in London to be exact. But it was in London and it was an art school and art schools didn't count as really hard colleges, don't you know? And even though the fam had lowered the traditional A-list bar out of sheer necessity, Saint Martins was definitely not on-the-list. Not even the B list. Or C list. It was on the don't-even-think-about-applying list. Not that she was going to since that would require some confidence and Chloe didn't have much of that.

And despite her seriously diverse background like . . . Asian shame, Jewish guilt, and some good old-fashioned WASP contempt, Chloe Wong-Leiberman didn't chant or go to temple and she had never even been to church (although she had been in a church parking lot one time to buy these insane Bakelite bangles at some dead lady's estate sale). Prime opps to score vintage. Chloe just loved vintage. Wells Park, where she lived, was low on vintage. That's because everything there was new, new, new!

Wells Park was this ritzy "gated community" nestled by the sea with three country clubs and, like, two Chinese people. One of those Chinese people was her mom, Lucinda, and the other was her grandma who had just moved in, Pau-Pau. (That means Grandma in Cantonese and Cantonese is one of a zillion dialects spoken by Chinese people.) If Chloe were to include her sixteen-year-old brother Mitchell and herself then that actually would make it three whole Chinese people. Definitely a Wells Park record.

Wells Park was Southern Cali all the way. It was all about pampas grass and palm trees and Pilates bodies (aspiring at least)--continually drenched in sun and skin, lots of terry cloth and flip-flops and patrolled by, like, fake policemen.

The Wong-Leibermans lived in a three-story McMansion; you know, one of those humungous homes that all look the same. This one was custom built eighteen years earlier by Lucinda to mimic an early-American colonial style, complete with green plantation shutters and a red-shingled roof and financed by none other than the Bacon Bringer himself, Chloe's dad, Stanley.

Stanley was senior partner at the Newport firm Schmukla, Schitty, and Schizer--a midsize law firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions. That meant he made a considerable chunk of change doling out tax advice to rich people who "sheltered" cash on faraway islands with names like Parakeet Bay and Gold Mountain. He did all the native Wells Park locals' taxes and that's why the Leibermans were the first part-Jewish family to be sponsored at the Shore, the first country club to arrive on the Wells Park scene some forty years ago (which is way old for Wells Park).

Stan, hands down, was a workaholic. Mitchell, Mr. All-Star-Everything, was a dutiful workaholic in training who liked to gloat and flex and praise the Market or Republicans or Himself and not necessarily in that order. Chlo's Chinese grandma (again that would be Pau-Pau, pronounced Paw-Paw, not Po-Po or Poo-Poo), well, she only moved in a month ago to recover from surgery--a major stomach cancer operation that removed, like, her entire esophagus. Then there was Zeyde. That's Yiddish for Grandpa. Zeyde rhymes with lady. You don't know what Yiddish is? Check out the glossary in the back for my definition.
Zeyde wasn't official at 450 Avocado Lane but he liked to pop by from time to time to nosh or nap or lament the fact that his grandkids were never bar mitzvahed. Then there was Wally, Lucinda's beloved fifty-pound Corgi. Seriously--the dog weighed fifty pounds. That's, like, twice what he was supposed to weigh. At this rate he was going down fast.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Carrie Rosten is a Chinese-Polish-Jewish WASP born and raised in Hollywood. A graduate of UCLA, she has designed and owned her own women’s clothing line, and has styled and designed costumes for television, music videos, commercials, and indie films. Writing runs in her quirky family. Her grandfather, Leo Rosten, wrote dozens of screenplays and books, including The Joys of Yiddish; her great-uncle William Steig wrote many children’s books, including Shrek. She lives in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Natalia Brown More than 1 year ago
This book is pretty confusing but, I would give it a 40% rating,..... dont waste your money
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chloe Wong-Leiberman is a senior suffering from FD, a self-diagnosed mental problem. She comes from an affluent ethnically diverse (Jewish and Chinese) family and is expected to go to the ¿right¿ college. The problem is, Chloe¿s calling in life is to be a fashion designer, and that does not exactly fit her parents¿ expectations. The entire book chronicles Chloe¿s challenges relating to her parents and her brother, distancing herself from the prep school image, and coming to grips with a dating relationship involving a twenty-six year old narcissistic boyfriend. Any student who has rebellious tendencies will recognize the situation, which is told with pretty realistic attitude and attention to familial detail. The problem with the story is that it leaves us with a sense that Chloe is going to be all right, but no real resolution. It just sort of abruptly ends. The Dos and Don¿ts at the beginning of each chapter are clever, pithy statements that synopsize the chapter and make the book unique. The use of teen Valley Girl vernacular, particularly the word ¿like,¿ is distracting. Ultimately, it¿s hard to feel sympathy for Chloe who appears to be just a spoiled, rebellious teen. Her epiphanies are somewhat insightful, and the characters she meets along the way are well drawn out. Still, it was a book that evoked more antipathy than liking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was good, but very confusing at the begining. I found myself often getting characters mixed up because I could not tell if the book was written in the first person or the third person point of view. The many mental notes in this book were very confusing and the begining seemed to go on forever. I liked the plot, however, and found it easy to relate to the pressures of the main character.