There’s something about being stranded in a place that reveals the truth. Or as Troy Benson says:
Any system, if left unattended or isolated, will eventually result in entropy. Or chaos.
That is what The Chaos of Standing Still revolves around. The premise of the whole book is rather simple. A girl, stranded at an airport, meets strangers by chance that help her move forward in her life. Chaos gave me strong The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight vibes at first. It’s definitely to do with the girl meets boy at airport scenario and them being forced into a certain area together. In Statistical, that’s the plane but Chaos gives it’s characters a bit more room in the Denver airport. But it’s Chaos’ discussion of grief that runs through the whole story that really sets it apart.
Ryn’s life was shaped around her best friend, Lottie. Who she is, what she thinks, it’s all influenced by her friend. We get introduced to her a year after Lottie’s death and she’s dealing with a ton of grief. Her parents’ divorce, the lack of communication between her and her parents, Lottie’s death and on top of that, her flight home is cancelled due to a snowstorm. Then she bumps into a guy wearing a Muppet shirt and her whole night changes.
The writing is gorgeous in some places.
I stared at the abandoned universe on the table. It was in a sad state of in-between. Not quite an atom, not quite a vast, infinite cosmos. Like God had simply run out of air.
Here Ryn is talking about the rainbow ball toys that can contract and expand. Jessica Brody has these lines that just sound good which surprised me because I couldn’t even get through the first chapter of A Week of Mondays, another book of the author’s. I found that one to be grating and annoying. Maybe it was just the high school centred plot? Whatever she’s doing in Chaos works for me though so here’s to more of that!
You honestly can’t go wrong with a 24 hour timeline story. By compressing all these events into such a small timeframe, it manages to overcome the major weakness of contemporary: it has its slow points. The whole book flows really nicely by weaving in flashbacks with the crazy airport hijinks. I mean, is it believable? Definitely not but it makes for a great story.
Chaos needs suspension of disbelief but if you give it that, the whole book just works. It’s how it shows grief so well. Ryn is technically insane. She hears Lottie in her head, commenting on her actions. But there’s these scenes where Lottie may or may not be physically communicating. It’s kind of weird (is she a ghost? is she real?) but it works, strangely enough. It allows for these beautiful scenes where Ryn can be true to herself and move on. Doesn’t mean she’s forgetting Lottie but more that she’s discovering her identity after her death.
Of course, the book not all sad times, not even close. There’s a whole cast of crazy, wonderful characters. We get disgruntled teenage employees, a child prodigy studying at Stanford, a couple who goes from hot to cold in a matter of seconds and Muppet Boy. Oh Muppet Boy, you are the cliche of contemporary love interests but I’m rooting for you so hard! I can’t really talk about the characters too much without spoiling anything but I can say that they were all really interesting people with some really interesting personalities. Just go read it!
Rating: 5/5 stars
So what do you guys think of Chaos? Tell me about it in the comments!