Review: Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Title: Top Ten Clues You're Clueless
Author: Liz Czukas
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Series: N/A
Published: expected December 9 2014
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3.5/5

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.

My second Liz Czukas novel and my impression remains the same from when I finished her debut, Ask Again Later: this is a woman that knows cute. She knows how to write cute, adorable little romances that make you ship the two people involved. Her brand of books are the best kind of fluffy contemporary YA. They're light, immediately engaging, thoroughly fun, and often quite funny with memorable narrators and fresh scenarios.

I've yet to find any serious issue with this author's characters, but I found the plotting in Top Ten Clues You're Clueless too be a bit thin. The mystery plot concerning Chloe and her friends in particular is weak and easily guessed by the audience. There are a few red herrings given a chance but to anyone paying attention, it's rather obvious both who the culprit is and how the others will figure it out. The romantic plotline, slight as it is for most of the story, manages to be much more inventive and fun, though it is often ignored in favor of focus on the extended group of characters rather than just Tyson/Chloe.

Chloe makes for an entertaining POV to read. She's a nice girl, but she's not a perfect person or narrator, as her quirks and awkward moments can show. She can veer a tad silly but she's definitely likeable and dimensional -- she even has a disability. And while Chloe may not be as straight-laced as her fellow character Micah, but she's definitely playing the role of Good Girl in this (as Debby correctly says over at Snuggly Oranges) Breakfast Club-style narrative. And, an added bonus to Top Ten Clues is the diversity present in not just the background characters and Chloe's diabetes, but with the love interest Tyson as well.

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless is another entertaining YA read from Liz Czukas. Similar in tone and style to Ask Again Later, this author is carving out a nice niche and market for herself with her relate-able and diverse cast. Fun, funny, and light, this book is a great companion to Czukas's debut and will surely please current fans and welcome new ones. 


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