I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by The Poisoned Pencil on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Kami is into science, way smarter than she should be, a little obtuse, and born to investigate. The kind of girl who excels in Martial Arts and runs a chaos theory experiment in her locker.Amazon •
Kami finds a way to focus her talents when she meets Daniel, whose younger sister Julia died from an overdose of prescription drugs—drugs that the cops think came from Daniel’s stash. First Daniel turns up at Kami’s MA class, and later she saves him from a couple of drug dealers at the local skate park. Neither episode endears him to her, but Kami views life as a series of data points, and in Daniel’s case, the data do not add up.
In Chaos Theory, first time author M Evonne Dobson not only tells a fast-paced mystery, but also explores her protagonist’s deep need to understand the chaotic lives of those around her, lives that refuse to be neat, clean, and simple. Especially when death happens to those you love. Set in Iowa, Chaos Theory is a young adult contemporary crime novel, the first in a proposed series tentatively called The Kami Files.
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Implied Suicide, Selling Drugs, Violence
“My life is a high-wire act looking down at the world, and the people below are like distant data sets. Well, those data sets are leaping up to bite me in the butt, forcing me to fall smack into the chaos below.”
Kami’s character is a teen genius aiming for MIT. She doesn’t relate to people and often gives them nicknames of her own devising. For her science project she gathers scraps of meaningful pieces of her life (concert tickets, letters) and stuffs them in her locker with a color coded marble for her “chaos theory” experiment. Everyday she opens her locker she literally waits for another ball to drop. One small change can significantly effect the future (think Butterfly Effect) and Kami struggles to grasp how she can define that in just a locker.
Enter: Daniel. He’s known around school as the boy who killed his sister with drugs. When Kami accidentally gets involved with him, something just doesn’t add up in her logical mind and she can’t let go of the mystery behind the boy.
Sandy is Kami’s best friend, probably the only one who knows and understands every side of her. Sandy’s theatre work and gossip network makes her a more than competent part of the team.
Sam is Sandy’s boyfriend and a reporter for the newspaper. His inquisitive nature and sleuthing skills of his own help him join in the ranks.
But (thank goodness) this isn’t a story about teenagers trying to take down drug dealers on their own. Kami’s little group work with Daniel’s handler, Detective Bob, to figure out the truth behind Julia’s death and the drugs found with her.
As the story moves on the chaos theory experiment becomes less about the locker and expands into the real world as Kami herself is gaining more knowledge of people as humans and not just data points. The group learns how each small and seemingly unimportant change in Julia’s life ultimately contributed to the end.
Overall, I suggest this book to anyone who likes young adult mystery/crime novels with a small mixture of romance. I’m most defiantly waiting for another Kami File.