One of my all time favorite books is Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I first read it a few years ago after borrowing it from a friend for the ride home from a school trip. What was supposed to be a borrowed book quickly became a you-aren’t-getting-this-back-till-I-get-my-own-copy book. The book itself is short and simple, and makes you stop and really look at and appreciate the world around you.
The book follows the life of Jordy, a 17 year old boy living alone in New York City, with no one but himself to look after. His family cut off all ties with him leaving him emotionally and physically scarred. Alone and penniless, he can barely support himself when he stumbles upon a girl by the name of Wanda Johnston. Seemingly unstable, Jordy feels that his only option is to befriend this strange girl, who changes her name to Chloe in a way of shedding a part of her past life. Jordy doesn’t know a lot about her or what’s happened to her, but after a series of events that compromise their so called home, Jordy and Chloe move out of the main city and into a small house with an elderly man. However, just when life seems to be alright, the old man dies, sending Chloe into a depression that even Jordy can’t seem to do anything about. In an act of desperation, Jordy decides to take Chloe on a road trip to show her that the world is beautiful and life is worth living.
As Jordy and Chloe hit the road, Catherine Ryan Hyde shows us the beauty of the little things in life- the things most of us don’t even notice. With a simple, yet beautiful style of writing, she makes the lives of Jordy and Chloe very real, and a part of each and every one of us. Jordy is the bravery, and occasional rashness while Chloe is the innocence and vulnerability hidden within us.
Traveling throughout the United States, we, along with Jordy and Chloe, rediscover the world we all live in yet know so little about. Starting from New York City, we go in a red pick up truck through the Grand Canyon , up to Angel Fire and all the way down to Big Sur, California to ride horses on the beach. The road trip takes us all over the map of U.S.A and shows us all the beautiful things, places, and people out in the world.
The epitome of ‘short and sweet’, Becoming Chloe is a book that can be read over and over, and whose message will never grow old: “The world is as terrifying as it is beautiful and as beautiful as it is terrifying”.