THE CHAOS by Nalo Hopkinson
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 12 & up
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Noted for her fantasy and science fiction for adults, Hopkinson jumps triumphantly to teen literature.

Scotch’s womanly build and mixed heritage (white Jamaican dad, black American mom) made her the target of small-town school bullies. Since moving to Toronto, she’s found friends and status. Now both are threatened by the mysterious sticky black spots on her skin (she hides them under her clothes, but they’re growing). When a giant bubble appears at an open-mic event, Scotch dares her brother, Rich, to touch it. He disappears, a volcano rises from Lake Ontario, and chaos ripples across city and world, transforming reality in ways bizarre and hilarious, benign and malignant. A lesbian folksinger with Tamil roots becomes a purple triangle with an elephant’s trunk; jelly beans grow teeth; buried streams resurface. Scotch searches for Rich across a surreal, sensual cityscape informed by Caribbean and Russian folklore. Although what they represent and where they come from are open to interpretation, the manifestations are real to everyone and must be dealt with. Hopkinson opens her YA debut conventionally but soon finds her own path, creating a unique vocabulary with which to explore and express personal identity in its myriad forms and fluidity. Anything but essentialist, she captures her characters in the act of becoming.

Rich in voice, humor and dazzling imagery, studded with edgy ideas and wildly original, this multicultural mashup—like its heroine—defies categorization. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 12th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5488-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2012


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