Author : Nalo Hopkinson
Published April 17th 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Sixteen-year-old Scotch struggles to fit in—at home she's the perfect daughter, at school she's provocatively sassy, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can't be removed. While trying to cope with this creepiness, she goes out with her brother—and he disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large, until it seems like everyone is turning into crazy creatures. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this supernatural situation ASAP before the Chaos consumes everything she's ever known—and she knows that the black shadowy entity that's begun trailing her every move is probably not going to help.
A blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore, at its heart this tale is about identity and self acceptance—because only by acknowledging her imperfections can Scotch hope to save her brother.
*ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada
Scotch's life hasn't been easy lately : she's having weird black and sticky spots growing on her skin and she's seeing bodiless horse heads wherever she goes. When her parents are out of town for a few days an underage Scotch and her brother go to a local bar for poetry slam. What promised to be an uneventful night turns out to be far worse than anyone would've dreamed of. A mysterious bubble of light appears out of nowhere and when her brother touches it, he instantly disappears into the unknown. A few seconds later, a volcano appears. Let the Chaos begin!
Scotch is your normal sixteen-year-old girl. She's now in a new school after other students mistreated her. The only thing she wants is to fit in and avoid drama like any normal teen. People often can't tell she's mixed-race : her father is white Jamaican and her mother is black American. Her life is suddenly turned upside down after her brother disappears and the whole city has gone mad. People are transforming, including Scotch whose skin is getting blacker every second. Mythical creatures have appeared and the city is getting weirder. In the midst of all this Chaos, Scotch is determined to find and rescue her brother.
I can describe The Chaos in one word : weird! Weird in a good way. I challenge anyone to find a book similar to this one. It's unique and captivating. I love the mythology and Caribbean folklore added to the story although I know nothing about Caribbean culture, it was still fun to read. The weirdness happening all over the world will put a smile on your face : the Big Ben is blowing gigantic soap bubbles and singing drinking songs, islands are made of gumdrops, there's a chicken-legged house and the list goes on.
For her first young adult novel, I think the author did an excellent job. The dialogue is well-written and the teens are described realistically (before the Chaos that is). The emotions they have are very age-appropriate.
The Chaos proves to be an entertaining and out of the ordinary read. It's refreshing to read a YA novel like this one. I'm saying it again : I can guarantee you haven't read anything like this. Although the ending left me a bit disappointed, The Chaos is an excellent read that I recommend to anyone who wants to read something new.
4 out of 5 stars!