Monday, May 7, 2012

The Chaos - Nalo Hopkinson

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
Hopkinson is an award winning adult fantasy author, The Chaos is her YA debut and set in Toronto.   After being bullied at her old school,  Sojourner Smith who goes by Scotch is getting a fresh start at a new one. Scotch is doing her best to fit in and not give anyone reasons to tease her.  Being able to see headless horseman floating about won't help Scotch to blend in, so she keeps that a secret. She also goes to great length to hide the  black spots that are appearing out of no where on her skin.     Scotch is a natural dancer and is member of the after school dance team with Gloria her ex best friend.  Scotch life is hard enough with very strict parents and  the headless horseman flying about but  one night it turns upside down.  While  out with her older brother Rich, a volcano appears in the center of Lake Ontario and thus begins the Chaos.   Strange mythical creatures are roaming free on the street and the spots on Scotch body are appearing even faster.  Everyone is running around scared in this unrecognizable world.  In all this confusion Scotch must find her brother who went missing at the start of The Chaos.

 In the first few hours,  Scotch is walking lost with Punum a girl she just meet.  Scotch does not know what to make who may or may not be  hitting on her and refuses to allow anyone to treat her differently because she's in a wheelchair. As the Chaos continues with no end in sight, Scotch tries to make sense of everything. While looking for her brother see runs into different people in her life.  I loved Scotch's voice which was both, brutally honest and hilarious

"In the dance movies, people can dance their way out of any trouble. If some bad guy's coming at you, just take him out with a flying roundhouse kick, right?  After all, aren't you a capoerirista along with being able to get buck with the best of them and pick up the tango after watching someone do it for, like, five seconds?  Oh yeah, and let's pretend that standing on one foot while you fling one leg up in the air and swing it in a circle doesn't have you unbalanced with your crotch open to attack from someone who has the sense to just throw a quick jab at you and get out of the way."

The author has created a very bizarre world and I really like it.   Also it's uniqueness allows it  stand out  from other YA fantasy novels. However the author does not depend on the strangeness to carry the story.  At its core are the people who must deal with all the craziness that they can now see and no longer ignore. 

An Excerpt
Starred Kirkus Review
Starred Booklist Review
Starred Publishers Weekly Review

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