Book Review: The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

Title: The Chaos of Standing Still
Author: Jessica Brody
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer. Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year. She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died. But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her. And his name is Xander. When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head. Ryn can’t move on. But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start. As moving as it is funny, The Chaos of Standing Still is a heartwarming story about the earth-shattering challenges life throws at us—and the unexpected strangers who help us along the way.
I'm a fan of Jessica Brody's books because they contain heart, are well plotted, and overall, her stories are engaging. This one started the same. It takes place when Ryn gets stranded at the Denver airport over the holiday. And instead of getting a fleeting romance when she meets Xander (whose identity is mysterious when they first meet after haphazardly swapping their cell phones), it's a story about grief, friendship and family, and learning to move forward when you can't get rid of the past.

The story is self-contained as a raging blizzard pummels Denver and Ryn is trapped over a 24-hour period. The airport -- and all its quirky employees and travelers -- also become a character in the book and helped with the book's pacing. Although there were a lot of flashbacks, other than the beginning, I didn't mind them because it did add to the overall story of the loss of her friend and her path to healing. It truly made me come to like her more as the story progressed.

I felt the same with the character Xander. I thought he was a sweet, complex character and complemented Ryn really well. And as he follows Ryn on this interesting conspiracy theory quest throughout the airport, including dealing with his own issues when it comes to his parents, the story felt really fresh and cute. Not to mention, Chaos was a funnier than I expected.

Jessica Brody, time and time again, shows us that she's a wonderful author and although this one wasn't one of my favorites of hers, I can't wait for her upcoming titles.

As always, happy reading!


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