The Chaos of Now
Eli Bennet is stuck. An expert coder, he has been blackmailed to create a website to bring justice for Jordan Bishop, an unpopular kid who killed himself. Using a host of illegally gained footage, the website is exposing the hypocrisy of high school, but at what cost?
The Chaos of Now doesn’t mess around. Opening with a student on fire running into the school cafeteria, Erin Lange’s book plunges into the deep end of the dark web, cyberbullying and suicide. The WikiLeaksmeets-Gossip Girl plot is compelling and poses some difficult questions about the role technology plays in our lives and the value of online vigilantism. Eli, the protagonist, is prickly and doesn’t invite the reader’s sympathy easily. However, as he gets deeper in the mire, it’s hard not to feel for his dire situation. Similarly, the school is populated by stereotypes (the jock, the mean girl, the nerd) whose characters have surprising depth and shading, highlighting the tightrope that is living as a teenager today. In conclusion, this is a thoughtful book about troubling times, and fans of Black Mirror or 13 Reasons Why should eat it up. Caution: it will certainly cause you to think twice about the little camera above your laptop screen.