Chaos of Now
Erin Jade Lange
Published on October 2, 2018
About Chaos of Now
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.
Chaos of Now took some directions I wasn’t expecting, and I really appreciated that about the story. I liked Isabel and Zack a lot, but Eli was a tougher sell for me. I didn’t like the kind of know-it-all attitude and his insensitivity to the people around him. That said, he grows a LOT as a character through the story, and by the end, I felt like I had a much stronger connection with him. I liked the way his relationship with Misty, his father’s girlfriend, changes over the course of the book.
I thought the topic of coding and of bullying online made for a really fascinating, intense read. At first I worried about the position the book would take. Eli had some really strong feelings about online freedom and the idea that people who don’t take precautions to seriously protect their data can’t be upset if someone accesses it. He learns that there are some definite flaws in his ideals when he faces unexpected consequences.
Sorry… I know that’s kind of vague. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. But I definitely liked that he has this shifting view of life online because of what he experiences through his relationships with Mouse and Seth in particular.
While this probably wasn’t my favorite book this year—it’s a bit of an out-of-the-box pick for me—I did enjoy reading it. I think fans of Leopoldo Gout’s The Game series will enjoy this book.
Major characters are white. Eli has a crush on a Latino girl named Isabel.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used fairly frequently. Some slurs used by kids bullying another kid.
Eli overhears a conversation about a girl taking a pregnancy test. Eli watches a video of a classmate doing a striptease down to her underwear. Eli’s dad’s girlfriend is a former stripper. He makes some insulting comments about her previous life. Some kissing between boy and girl.
A boy hits Eli and slams him around in a bathroom. Eli describes witnessing a classmate light himself on fire and commit suicide.
Video footage shows a boy using steroids. In one scene teens drink alcohol from a flask and spoke pot.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.