Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Chaos Theory by Nic Stone

  • Chaos Theory
  • by Nic Stone
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Imprint: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: February 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593307700

Andy Criddle is at a party and drunkenly texts his ex-girlfriend: or so he thought.  Instead, he mistakenly texts Shelbi Augustine, a quiet classmate from school. Andy gets behind the wheel, receives a DUI, and must serve community service as a result. Andy and Shelbi’s paths cross again when they meet at the soup kitchen where Andy decides to volunteer. As time goes on their relationship deepens, but Shelbi is determined to stay in “just friends” territory only. Stone addresses self-harm, substance abuse, and mental illness in this novel.

Andy and Shelbi have been through “stuff”, as many teen readers have. Teen readers will find several things that they can relate to as they are reading this novel. Text messages are included through the novel, making it easy to navigate because large blocks of text are broken up by the text message conversations. Stone addresses the reader at the beginning and end of the novel, furthering the conversation around mental illness and the stigma that is often involved. 

Teens who cope with mental illness and/or support someone they care for who is struggling will appreciate this title. Readers should also look at Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert, Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

– Katie Guzan

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: April 4, 2023
Release Date: September 6, 2022

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.