Friday, February 23, 2018

Book review - Chaotic Good

Title: Chaotic Good
Author: Whitney Gardner
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
                      All the Feels by Danika Stone
nerdy fun

Summary (provided by publisher): Cosplay, comic shops, and college applications collide in this illustrated novel, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Noelle Steveson!
Cameron's cosplay creations are finally starting to earn her attention--attention she hopes to use to get into the CalArts costume design department for college. But after she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans online.
When Cameron's family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse.
Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town--her main destination for character reference--is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.
At her twin brother's suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she's shocked at how easily she's accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her brother Cooper, dragged along for good measure.
But as her "secret identity" gets more and more entrenched, Cameron's portfolio falls by the wayside--and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious in this geek girl anthem from You're Welcome, Universe author Whitney Gardner, complete with fully illustrated comic pages inked by Gardner herself.

My opinion: With nerd culture finally legitimized, it's time to take things a step further. Its time to take a harder look at the culture, to point out it's flaws. Nerds can be very harsh, especially to those perceived as posers and noobs. Anyone who doesn't like the thing we like the way we like it is inherently wrong. And many nerds are especially hard on girls. And Gardner takes us deep into the dark side of the nerd world, pointing out cruelty in abundance. We see sexism, cyber-bullying, and doxing. She also uses D&D as a metaphor for character's fears and failings. The lot is overly predictable. It wraps up neatly. Normally that level of predictability would be annoying but in this case its acceptable because the characters are so likeable. Not terribly complex but certainly likeable.

More information: Chaotic Good releases March 13.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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