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The Chaos Hardcover – April 17, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; First Edition edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416954880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416954880
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


* "Noted for her fantasy and science fiction for adults, Hopkinson jumps triumphantly to teen literature. . . . Rich in voice, humor and dazzling imagery, studded with edgy ideas and wildly original, this multicultural mashup—like its heroine—defies category."--Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED

* "Mixing mythology and massively ­surreal events, adult fantasy author Hop­kinson (The Salt Roads) explores questions of identity and image in her YA debut, set against the backdrop of a world gone mad. . . . Hopkinson’s use of language and imagery is almost magical, and her characters add much-appreciated diversity to the genre."--Publishers Weekly, *STAR

* "Hopkinson, who grew up in the Caribbean, mixes Jamaican legends, fairy tales, and sheer imagination to create this wildly inventive story that also skillfully addresses essential teen subjects: change, race, identity, love, and understanding cultural differences. Labels are impossible here, so just hand this refreshingly original treat to teens eager for something completely different."--Booklist, *STAR

"[Scotch] proves to be a compelling anchor for a tale in which, for a while at least, it seems that literally anything can happen. Hopkinson’s joy of invention is palpable, and despite its darker edges, it’s that joy in the possibilities of the imagination that I hope comes through to younger readers. Come to think of it, we could all use a dose of it."--Locus

About the Author

Nalo Hopkinson is the award-winning author of numerous novels and short stories for adults. Nalo grew up in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Guyana before moving to Canada when she was sixteen. This is her first young adult novel. Visit her online at

More About the Author

I'm a novelist, editor, short story writer. I also teach, and I freelance sometimes as an arts consultant. Most of my books have been published by Warner Books, now known as Grand Central Books. If you like knowing about awards and such, my work has received the Warner Aspect First Novel award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian literature of the fantastic, the World Fantasy Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and Honourable Mention in Cuba's Casa de las Americas Prize for literature.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BonnieG on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book a lot, which is sort of strange considering I don't normally like the chaotic and anything-goes sort of world. I found Scotch engaging enough that I liked watching all this happen through her eyes. The book is somewhat slow to get to the Chaos, but I enjoyed glimpsing Scotch's life as a story in itself.

This is a tough book to describe without giving things away, but it was well written, inclusive in a way that most books in these genres are not, and enjoyable to read.
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By Jacqueline Hill on March 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nalo always takes me to worlds I could never imagine on my own. I love West Indian folklore and her books are not short of it.
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By Rochelle Samuels on July 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Nalo Hopkinson! While this wasn't my favorite of her works I still enjoyed it. I finished it in One night. The world she created was absolutely crazy and captivating, every page was anxiously waiting to see what else was going to spring up. I liked the main character Sojouner aka Scotch, you see her trying to find herself while also trying to ensure that she isn't bullied again. Amidst all of her identity struggles she's battling an unknown skin condition and "hallucinations". Nalo Hopkinson manages to brilliantly blend together teenage angst and drama with a world in absolute chaos and some folk lore. I enjoyed it, I wished that it was a little longer but overall an enjoyable story.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Darlene on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I received this ARC for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

This is a very bizarre book!

Sixteen year-old Sojourner (nicknamed Scotch after the Scotch Bonnet Jamaican pepper for her red-hot dance moves) is the biracial daughter of a white Jamaican father and African-American mother. People often do not believe that she is "black", and she feels that her skin is not dark enough and wishes that her contrived Jamaican accent was authentic. She has an older brother, Rich, whose skin colour is darker than her own...the colour she wishes that hers was. Her best friends are Gloria (who later turns out to be lesbian) and Ben, who is gay.

Scotch has broken up with her boyfriend, Tafari, who is close friends with her brother. She doesn't want Tafari to find out her secret, which is that she has been developing black, sticky patches on her body that appear to be growing. She has tried creams and remedies, but nothing seems to help this bizarre skin condition. She is also afraid that she is losing her mind because she sees what she calls "Horseless Head Men," little heads with no bodies, which appear to be invisible to everyone else.

Scotch's parents go away for the weekend, and Rich invites Scotch to come with him to Bar None during spoken word open-mike night so that he can share his poetry. An eerie bubble appears from below the stage and gets larger as it moves across the room. Scotch dares Rich to touch it and, when he does, the world changes forever. A flash like a lightning bolt appears, and a volcano grows in the middle of Lake Ontario. Both the bubble and Rich have disappeared, and there is a large hole in the ground where the stage and bubble used to be.
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