Title: The Chaos of Now
Author: Erin Jade Lange
Publish Date: October 2, 2018 by Bloomsbury YA
# of Pages: 352
Buy it*: Amazon
(From Goodreads) Is it real if it happens online?
Life at Eli’s high school hasn’t been the same since his classmate Jordan committed suicide after being tirelessly bullied. Schools now have access to students’ online activities and students have less privacy than ever. Eli just wants to graduate—so he can get out of town, get away from his father’s embarrassingly young fiancée, and get himself a prestigious coding job. But Eli’s hacking skills get him roped into a vigilante website that—while subverting the school’s cybersnoops— seeks justice for Jordan and everyone else being bullied. Suddenly Eli finds himself in way over his head as his keystrokes start to have devastating consequences in the real world . . . This timely story from the author of Butter is a thrilling tale about the power of the internet, the young people who wield it, and the fine lines between bully and victim, justice and vengeance.
Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing
The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange is a thought-provoking book that discusses tough topics like bullying, suicide, and cyber monitoring. When Jordan, a geeky computer wizard, commits suicide by lighting a match, it irrevocably changes the lives of those he went to school with. Eli Bennett gets caught in the middle of a vigilante scheme to pay tribute to Jordan, but unfortunately, it does not go as planned . . .
This was such an interesting book! It’s going to be a tough book to review, because I feel conflicted. On one hand, it was entertaining to read. Tough to read, too, especially since I have kids of my own. On the other hand, much of the book was shallow and lacked good character and plot depth, so I had a hard time connecting with the characters.
I did like the the story concept. When Jordan commits suicide, it changes the lives of everyone around him. Jordan’s friends want to get revenge against the bullies who destroyed Jordan’s lives, so they rope Eli into helping them create their vigilante website. While doing so, their actions repeatedly raised the questions: Were Eli and his friends now the bullies? Did the bullies deserve their punishment? How narrow is the line between right and wrong?
I appreciated the complexity of the bullies. While the main characters lacked depth, the author provided insight into the lives of the bullies. No one is simply good or bad–there are so many shades of gray. I think it was interesting watching Eli process his actions and how they affected other people’s lives. It’s hard to feel good about something when empathy gets in the way. I liked that the book forced you into the shoes of a bully. It’s easy to see how that line can be crossed!
The ending of the book left me wanting more. While suicide was a primary topic in the book, I wish it would have been discussed further. At one point a character called Jordan’s suicide selfish. I wish there would have been more elaboration during this interchange, especially on the topic of mental illness. Simply saying suicide is selfish makes light of what suicide is actually about and doesn’t pay homage to the mental illness that often runs rampant before a person commits suicide.
Overall, this was a quick read, easily consumed in a day. Should you read it? I can’t say I would highly recommend this book, but if it sounds like your cup of tea, give it a read!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Is The Chaos of Now on your TBR? What was the last book you read that dealt with a tough subject?
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