The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
One of the fun things about reading so many books is that you will always find a connection between the book you are finishing and the book you are starting. Usually, it’s just a little thing. But sometimes, it’s a big thing. On the first morning of Spring Break, I awoke to beautiful, fat snowflakes falling outside my window. The book I had already chosen to read for that day was Kiss Me in New York - a book that takes place in the NYC airport on Christmas Eve during a snowstorm. Fun! Because that book was totes adorbs and I couldn’t put it down, I needed another book to read that day. I picked up the next book in my TBR pile, The Chaos of Standing Still. After reading a book description and deciding I want to read a book, I never look at that book description again when I actually sit down to read the book. So I usually don’t even remember what a book is about when I begin to read it. I had to laugh when I started this one and discovered it takes place in the Denver airport on New Year’s Eve during a snowstorm! LOL! I absolutely love that. It was the perfect storm. Get it?
Anyway . . . Ryn is in a hurry to get back to San Francisco. She has a layover in Denver after flying out of Atlanta where she was visiting her dad. Today is New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow at 10:05 is the one-year anniversary of her best friend, Lottie’s, death. She absolutely cannot be in public when the clock strikes 10:05. Much to her complete panic, Denver is hit with the biggest blizzard to hit the area in 100 years. She is stranded for the night in the airport. Meet cute alert! While staring into the depths of her phone (something Ryn can’t stop doing), she doesn’t realize the automated walkway has come to an end. She trips and falls right into Cute Muppet Guy (an attractive guy wearing a Muppet - Animal, to be specific - t-shirt. Their phones clatter to the ground in the collision. As fate will have it, the two have the exact same phone and the exact same phone case (it’s a Tardis) and they pick up the wrong phones. They go their separate ways until Ryn’s phone (well, what she thinks is her phone) gets a call from . . . herself. The two reconnect to switch phones and the story begins. Yes, this story is part meet-cute and rom-com, but it’s so much more. Ryn is suffering from survivor’s guilt. She’s practically debilitated by it. She has one unread text message on her phone from Lottie the night she died. That’s one reason Ryn is addicted to her phone. The other reason is that she is constantly asking Google questions. She likes how Google has the answers to so many questions. It gives her the illusion of control. At first, Ryn hides all of this from Cute Muppet Guy (Xander), but as the night goes on and as his persistence increases, she feels she can talk to him as she can’t talk to her mother or her therapist. His friendship - and maybe more - could be just what she needs.
The story is told in present tense as Ryn and Xander are stuck in the airport. They have lots of emotional moments and serious conversations, but they have tons of fun, too - including a food court serenade, a raging NYE party, train surfing, investigating conspiracy theories with a boy genius, and lots of other adventures. But the story is also told in flashbacks. As different events and conversations remind Ryn of her past with Lottie, she fills us in on the details of those memories which gives us a clear picture of Ryn’s enormous, all-encompassing grief. A perfect mix of sweet and sad, teens are gonna really like this one.