Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: Chaos Theory by Nic Stone

  • Chaos Theory
  • by Nic Stone
  • Narrated by Nic Stone and Dion Graham
  • Publisher: Books on Tape/Listening Library
  • Publication Date: February 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593609422

Shelbi and Andy meet through an errant text message. Walter Andy Criddle’s DUI, totaled car, six-month driving suspension and lost wallet along with a text to a random stranger leads to a pact of friendship between two individuals who are truly in need of a friend. Told in alternating voices of Shelbi, a sixteen-year-old doing her best to live with bipolar disorder, and Andy, a high school senior dealing with the issues within his family through alcohol, you’ll learn of Shebi’s intellect, supportive parents and struggle. Andy talks of parents, their treatment of him and the tragedy that broke them. Friendship evolves to potential romance but each will need to address their own situation for the relationship to survive.  

Both characters are dealing with issues that are illustrated well throughout the story. Text message dialogue interspersed throughout gives additional insight to each Shelbi and Andy. Shelbi’s fear of relying on Andy and backsliding on the progress she has made and Andy’s grief and anger are evident in their dialogue. Andy’s parents are almost completely hands-off, unless it reflects on his politician mother, while Shelbi’s parents are compassionate, kind and loving. All of which together tells a heartbreaking, tender and heartwarming love story. 

Shelbi is narrated by the author while Andy is narrated by Dion Graham. The expert narration as well as the author’s handling of controversial topics makes this the perfect recommendation for teens experiencing similar situations or who want to better understand the issues addressed.

Readers of Nic Stone’s previous books Dear Martin and Dear Justye, Solo by Kwame Alexander or Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo will enjoy this story of dealing with addiction, grief, mental health challenges, and family issues. 

–Lysha Thompson

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.