Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 3, 2018

“I wish people didn’t call them that. Trolls… They aren’t mythical creatures. You can’t look up how to defeat them in the Monster Manual. There are no critical hits, no saving rolls. They aren’t make-believe. They’re real. And they’re assholes.”

Cameron Birch loves costumes, and by extension, the characters she gets to portray. When she and her friends win best group cosplay at a con, Cam is overjoyed with the sudden attention. But, when news gets out that she doesn’t actually play the game she dressed as, the internet is furious, and her small cosplay blog blows up in the worst way possible.

Cam hopes to just be able to focus on completing her costume portfolio for college, but moving to a new town means finding a new comic book store to get inspiration from, and small-minded Atomix Comix is a world away from her old hangout.

In an attempt to gain the same respect as her male peers, Cam puts her cosplay skills to the test, dressing herself up as a boy and joining a Dungeons and Dragons campaign at the store. When she and her brother’s feelings for fellow party members begin to complicate things, Cam must decide whether or not to blow her cover. After all, it’s just clothes. Right?

I really liked Cam. She’s a messy person and doesn’t always know what to do. Her love for creating costumes isn’t something I can relate to specifically, but the way D&D draws her in is something extremely close to home. Cam laughs and cries and isn’t perfect, and I liked that a lot.

Chaotic Good sneaks in so many references it feels a bit packed, but I’m always down for some Squirrel Girl and The Adventure Zone love (Don’t think I didn’t read the acknowledgements, Whitney.) I do wish that there had been a higher focus on plot and less on fandom, but all-in-all, I enjoyed the passion for all things nerdy.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a short, fun, read about feminism, cosplay, crushes, and D&D. If Cath from Fangirl pulled a She’s The Man, this book would be the fantastically fabulous result. Like any good role-playing campaign, Chaotic Good was full of original characters, inside jokes, and a bunch of teenagers having way too much fun.






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