Monday, March 12, 2018

ARC Review: Chaotic Good By Whitney Gardner

Chaotic Good By Whitney Gardner
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Format: Egalley, 256 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Cameron's cosplay--dressing like a fictional character--is finally starting to earn her attention--attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron's family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town--her main destination for character reference--is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother's suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she's shocked at how easily she's accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her "secret identity" gets more and more entrenched, Cameron's portfolio falls by the wayside--and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.

Man, this book hooked me from start to finish, and never let me go. I saw another blogger review this book, and I thought it was so very "me". So I requested it on Netgalley not really thinking they would give it to me, but I was granted it last week and I ate it up! I absolutely loved this book. It's the kind of book that I wish I didn't read, because I just want to re-experience what it was like to read this book the first time around again. 

This book is about an awesomely creative girl named Cam that is really into Cosplay. Cam is incredibly talented, but because she's not necessarily into the medium that she makes her costumes from she's getting a lot of hate online from a bunch of knuckle-dragging douche-canoes that think she is a "fake geek girl." I hate this phrase so much! It makes me so mad! Gate-keeping is wack! After having a bad experience at her local comic book store because she is girl, she starts dressing as a guy to see if she's treated differently, which she is, and she ends up entangled in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with the boys thinking she is one of them! It's all the right type of shenanigans I want from a book. It also really made me want to play D & D! 

This book discusses a lot about what girls deal with when they like anything to do with geek culture. I honestly think the hostility and gatekeeping that happens in these tribes is probably why some girls just walk away from it. I don't think anyone has a right to tell someone what they like is wrong, or how they consume something is wrong. In the beginning of the novel Cam basically is given the "girl geek quiz" which is complete bullshit! I personally think a lot of these attitudes are changing, but there are definitely people in male-dominated circles that think girls need to "prove" that they are "worthy" of liking a thing.

Cam's creativity and all the insanely hard work she puts into making her costumes was so interesting to read about. I am 100% not that talented. Like I don't think my writing is as talented as Cam's costume-making. I have some mad love for cosplayers and what they do. They are putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their costumes and they deserve all the credit. Cam is definitely a character that has ambitions, but I also like that we see her very human flaws. She never asks for help when she needs it, and she doesn't exactly know where she is supposed to fit. I think it's something that as a teen I always felt, still do at times, so I could really relate to her plight. Thankfully, I have never gone through internet harassment like she does, but I know that for a lot of kids that have grown up in the digital age this is a common issue they face. I had a cousin that went through an extreme amount of cyberbully when AIM was a new thing, and I think it's the reason she's not really on any social media at all! 

I do have one bone to pick about this novel---THAT ENDING! What! It can't leave me with a cliffhanger like that! But also at the same time, I do really like that Gardner lets us decide for ourselves what the outcome is. 

This book was so good, if you loved Ashley Poston's Geekerella I think you would also really enjoy this book. The cover is amazing and absolutely perfect for this novel. Not sure who designed it or came up with the concept art, but I think they knocked it out of the park! Get your hands on this book now!

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Happy Reads Everyone!