Review: The Chaos of Standing Still

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.
Overall, this was a good book. Very simple and sweet, the entire plot took place during a night stranded at the airport. There is a shifting timeline, but otherwise, its one night drawn out the entire book (which I actually liked a lot).

The characters and their arcs weren’t anything too unique. As I said, the plot itself took place over the course of one night, so there wasn’t room very any serious character development. Through the MC and her flashbacks, we did see some very interesting development, specifically dealing with the subject of grief. It was a really interesting dynamic, to see how this one night was so prominently affected by her grief, as well as just to see… one night, versus the months/years typically covered in YA novels.

I felt that this story dealt with the character’s grief and mental health issues exceptionally well. Considering the time frame, the subject was well developed and realistic. However, I did have an issue with the character who the grief was for. Lottie, the friend who had passed away, seemed really manipulative and generally selfish. I know that kids are immature and whatnot, but there are few things I dislike more in YA than terrible people being glorified after their deaths *side eye at Snape*. Honestly, though, I feel like this character’s personality may have been intentional. Perhaps to show that a large part of the MC’s attachment stemmed from already existing anxiety and insecurity issues. I dunno. But the character made it a little harder to take the plot seriously, overall.

However, this was a quick read, that I did enjoy. Jessica Brody never fails to captivate with her wonderful YA voice, and I am always impressed with how she makes contemporary novels so interesting, even if the focus isn’t romance. I think this read was really unique and interesting, covering sensitive topics really well.

3 out of 5 stars.


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