By: M. Evonne Dobson
Publisher: The Poisoned Pencil
Publication Date: February 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: June 2015
In the first installment of her young adult mystery series, M. Evonne Dobson delivers a great plot and entertaining read in Chaos Theory.
High school senior Kami is your not-so-typical school-ager. Sure, she is capable of drama queen moments, but it’s her senior year and the success of her Chaos Theory science project is the only separation between her landing acceptance into a mediocre college or MIT, the one she covets. She’s spent countless hours cramming inconsequential stuff into her locker. She is detailed to a fault logging analyses into her diary to support her theory of its significance: scribbled notes on a napkin, battered show and music programs—insignificant but not insignificant...each small item might trigger a huge change for someone in the future.
BFF Sandy is Kami’s constant. Granted, she may have fleeting thoughts of Kami’s borderline craziness at times, but she’s her best friend nonetheless. When dark and hunky Daniel shows up on the scene, little did either girl know they were about to jump feet first into the investigation of his sister Julia’s suicide...or was it suicide? Between countless trips to the barn, skate parks with more than sketchy patronage and a whole lot of who done it along the way, Kami and her entourage are going to get to the truth no matter the consequences.
M. Evonne Dobson knows her young adult audience and knows it well. The essence of writing to this particular audience is no different than that of a children’s audience. Credibility is an absolute must. There is no cheeky dialogue among her high school peers. Rather, there is grounded drama when drama demands a presence. There is tension when sticky situations present themselves—i.e. hormonal confusion when boy meets girl; girl meets boy and the tantamount moment when boy and girl go in for that kiss—a kiss that is more than a peck on the cheek. There is a balance between the conflict of the ‘them and us’ theory when an adolescent is faced with the ridiculous notion that a parent knows better than he or she ever will. Her dialogue is crisp and her ability to set up a scene by showing her audience versus telling is spot on. In true mystery fashion, Dobson teases her audience with just enough information to will them to turn the next page. Sometimes it’s a give; other times it is an 'aha moment.' This is the perfect formula to keep a young mind engage. I applaud Ms. Dobson for writing a solid mystery that certainly appeals to her intended young adult audience. I look forward to the next in this series. Well done Ms. Dobson!
Quill says: Chaos Theory is a solid read and a good example of the passion a gaggle of kids possess toward never giving up until they are satisfied the truth has been exposed.