The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody was one of those books I picked up simply because the title caught my attention. The title is very poetic and from the moment I read it, I knew it was going to be deep.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I’m going to do my best to not spoil anything in this review for you. If you’re worried about possible spoilers because of opinions and things I took away from it, then come back once you finish the book.
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 brilliantly 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.
Let me start by saying that I found it extremely difficult to rate this book. That’s not because I didn’t like it, but because it’s a pretty heavy story to get through. By the time I finished the 400 something page novel I was left emotionally raw in many ways. For anyone who has ever lost a friend or family member suddenly, you’ll definitely be able to relate to Ryn’s story. Losing someone close to you is definitely a life-altering event. For Ryn, she’s spent the past year unable to truly grieve or move on.
What I took away from this story actually related more to a break up I experienced years ago rather than a death. Although let’s be real, a breakup sometimes feels like a death, am I right? For roughly 5 years I struggled to let go of my ex-boyfriend/best friend after he broke up with me. And very much like Ryn, I had this irrational belief that if I didn’t change or move forward somehow I could keep what we had alive and there would still be hope it would come back to life. All that time I held on to every little piece I had left of that relationship because to me it was everything. It was a defining moment in my life. It was a part of who I had become and truthfully, I didn’t know who I was without it anymore. Eventually, I realized I wasn’t doing myself any good and I couldn’t change what had happened, no matter how wrong it might have been. All I could do was choose to figure out who I was now and who I wanted to become. That’s a bit of a terrifying moment to face but once you take that first step you begin to realize it was chaos standing still and never truly moving forward.
The book is filled with a lot of emotions and dealing with grief, even in novel form, isn’t easy. Be prepared for that. However, the connection that forms between Ryn, Xander, and the others she encounters in the airport bring about a lot of life truths that sometimes I think we forget. Such as, problems are all relative to who is experiencing them. Whatever you are going through right now in your life may be the most horrible or awful thing to happen to you but someone else may feel their problem is even bigger. When in reality, our problems are all big to us as we experience them and we all have to get through them.
Okay, that’s all I’m going to say because I really believe this story is going to speak to everyone’s hearts a little bit differently. This is definitely one of those stories that will mean something different to everyone who reads it but I highly recommend you read it. It was a great book to ring in 2018 with and I definitely think you’ll enjoy it too.