The Chaos of Now

The Chaos of Now was written by Erin Lange and is due for release in October 2018. It is a work of contemporary fiction that focuses on a group of hackers who are out for revenge against the bullies in their school. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

The life of Eli Bennett and every other teenager changed on the day that Jordan Bishop set himself on fire. Although no one was ever blamed for his death, it quickly became common knowledge that he was bullied online. New legislations were passed to allow schools to become cyber snoops and strict punishments were levelled against any student who rebelled against these oppressive laws.

As a young hacker, Eli has more reason to hate the laws the most. He feels that the laws restrict his fundamental freedoms and its not long before he finds some like-minded allies in his school. His friendship with Seth and Mouse starts out as a project – an attempt to enter a nationwide programming contest – but, through this, the Friends of Bishop are born.

The Friends of Bishop gives voice to students, providing a place online where they can anonymously upload videos that shame bullies. It seems like harmless fun at first – the only way that most students will ever get a chance to have revenge against their tormentors – but its not long before things get out of hand. Eli is desperate to pull the plug before things get worse but he quickly realises that his friends have other plans. How far will Seth and Mouse go to have their revenge against the people who drove Jordan to suicide?

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Butter

Butter

Today’s novel covers a few very difficult subjects – bullying, obesity and suicide – and so I just thought I’d just take a moment to say that this entry is not going to analyse any of these. This is a blog for reviewing young adult novels, not engaging in ethical debates, and so I will by trying my best to tackle Butter as objectively as possible, leaving my personal views at the door. I will also warn you that, as the ending of this novel strongly colours my view as to the effectiveness of its message, there will be spoilers in this review. You have been warned.

Butter was first published in 2012 and is Erin Lange’s debut novel. The story is narrated by the titular character – a sixteen year old boy who is witty, intelligent and plays the saxophone like a pro. Unfortunately for Butter, few people know these things as they are unable to see beyond his 423 lb frame. Having grown so large that even the bullies at his school no longer target him, he has resigned himself to living out the rest of his life alone.

After a particularly distressing day at school, Butter finally comes to the decision that he will kill himself and decides that he will go with a bang. Setting up a blog under the domain name butterslastmeal.com, he posts that he will eat himself to death live on the site on New Year’s Eve.

The next day, Butter arrives at school to find that he has become an overnight sensation. Everyone seems to have seen his blog and are excited to learn whether or not it is a hoax. Popular kids who have never spoken to him before now seem to want to be his best friends and he quickly discovers that people are even making bets as to what he will eat and whether or not he will survive.

This surge of popularity allows Butter to experience a world he never has before, yet as the death day approaches he realises that he has gotten himself in too deep. Now he is stuck with a terrible choice – to live knowing that he will never achieve such popularity again or to follow through with his threat and end his life.

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