cover image The Chaos

The Chaos

Nalo Hopkinson. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5488-0

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. Canadian 16-year-old Sojourner “Scotch” Smith is trying to find her place, with her mixed Jamaican, black, and white heritage making it hard for her to fit in. Her relationships with her family, friends, and ex are in flux, weird black spots are growing on her skin, and she sees floating horse heads wherever she goes. Then, in a heartbeat, the planet is thrown into bedlam, with reality running wild and nightmares stalking the streets (“in London, Big Ben was now blowing giant soap bubbles.... There appeared to be a new island off the coast of Jamaica, and it seemed to be made of gumdrops”). Scotch must find her lost friends and family and come to terms with her own changing nature in a journey filled with peril, self-discovery, and terrifying moments. Hopkinson’s use of language and imagery is almost magical, and her characters add much-appreciated diversity to the genre. Ages 14–up. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Apr.)