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Chaotic Good

Review

Chaotic Good

Whitney Gardner writes the ultimate geek novel with CHAOTIC GOOD. Cameron Birch creates cosplay for her favorite comic book characters, posting them to her blog, Pinz+Needlez. Her dream is to be accepted to CalArts and make costumes for movies, like her idol Gillian Grayson. If she’s part of the movies, then anons online can no longer harass her for being a fake geek girl. She needs to finish her portfolio in time for submission if she wants a chance at her dream school, but for that she needs inspiration.

"I zoomed through CHAOTIC GOOD. It had a good flow and a good plot. I also loved Gardner’s writing style."

When she lived in Portland, she could head down to the bookstore to buy comics to get ideas for costumes. But now that her family lives in smaller Eugene, she has to brave Atomix, the local comic store run by major bro Brody, who will question and harass any girl who walks in. On the suggestion of her twin brother Cooper, she uses her costuming expertise to dress up like a guy to shop. But to her surprise, she’s accepted in the nerd inner-circle and is invited to play Dungeons and Dragons with the squad. Things get even more complicated when one of the Atomix employees falls for Cameron, when Cameron falls for the Dungeon Master in her D&D group, and when her blog blows up with more hate. How long is Cam going to keep up her facade? And will she be able to complete her portfolio?

I zoomed through CHAOTIC GOOD. It had a good flow and a good plot. I also loved Gardner’s writing style. It sounded like how I think in my head, and the characters all had their own unique voice. She didn’t use unnecessarily large words, and I appreciated not needing to grab a dictionary as I read.

I did need to Google a few characters, though. In the book, Gardner makes allusions to comic characters and games (how could she not with a story like this?). I, myself, am not a huge comic fan, and Google Images was a lifesaver to find out what Cam was talking about with the character designs. Readers will still understand the book without having a solid knowledge about the X-Men, but there’s definitely a few Easter eggs that I would have noticed if I had more comic expertise.

CHAOTIC GOOD covers very important topics for us teens in the internet age, especially us teen girls. Although it doesn’t go in depth, it covers topics like cyber bullying and what to do. It explains that you should talk to people you trust, and the internet people don’t know you and just want to attack you because you’re just a name on a screen to them. The book also briefly discusses a toxic relationship, and how love shouldn’t be a competition. The main topic covered in the book however, is gender stereotypes --- how girls are catcalled, how guys can get unpleasant when they’re put in the friendzone, etc. I found it very important to be discussed in a book, since issues like this are generally ignored or made fun of in modern literature.

Overall, CHAOTIC GOOD is worth it to read, and I would most definitely recommend it. It’s a modern day feminist novel, and empowers girls to like what they like no matter what other people say, because in the long run, other’s opinions don’t matter and you can always find true friends that will support you. Looking for a pick-me-up book that celebrates you? Read CHAOTIC GOOD.

Reviewed by Becky N., Teen Board Member on April 9, 2018

Chaotic Good
by Whitney Gardner