The Chaos of Now

352p. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619635029.
Gr 9 Up—A year after Jordan Bishop's suicide in the cafeteria, Haver High School is still affected. Sophomore Eli Bennett, a coding whiz with little interest in college, observes a memorial for a kid he barely knew. Two of Jordan's friends recruit Eli for a prestigious coding competition, using the project portion of the event to create an anonymous website meant to punish the kids who tormented Jordan. But the lines between right and wrong, revenge and anger become blurred when Eli begins to see the ramifications that their hacked videos of classmates have on people he used to see as simple bullies. Lange finds a fresh perspective on bullying by focusing on all those left behind in the aftermath of the violence that ensues—the bullies and the bystanders. Two subplots, one romantic and the other familial, work to balance Eli's negative qualities. The story is strongest as an exploration of cyberbullying, building tension and momentum and is a fine addition to the crowded field of similar fiction.
VERDICT A general purchase for larger library collections.

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