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Chaos on CatNet

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In this follow-up to the award-winning near future YA thriller Catfishing on CatNet, It takes an AI to catch an AI… When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat.


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In this follow-up to the award-winning near future YA thriller Catfishing on CatNet, It takes an AI to catch an AI… When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat.

30 review for Chaos on CatNet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    In this LGBTQ-friendly near-future dystopia, we pick up with Steph again as she is starting a new school. On her first day she meets Nell, an odd girl who’s been homeschooled until her mother vanished, and she was sent to live with her father and his new wife (and also a girlfriend). Nell, who has been raised to distrust everyone outside of her mother’s religious cult, is horrified to discover herself in this situation. But Nell’s two biggest problems are finding her mother, and finding her girl In this LGBTQ-friendly near-future dystopia, we pick up with Steph again as she is starting a new school. On her first day she meets Nell, an odd girl who’s been homeschooled until her mother vanished, and she was sent to live with her father and his new wife (and also a girlfriend). Nell, who has been raised to distrust everyone outside of her mother’s religious cult, is horrified to discover herself in this situation. But Nell’s two biggest problems are finding her mother, and finding her girlfriend. She is especially terrified on her girlfriend’s behalf, fearing she’s been sent to one of those sinister “therapy” retreats meant to brainwash kids into their parents’ worldview. Watching Steph and Nell form a friendship is a real pleasure, a contrast to the bleakness of the storyline. Steph asks CheshireCat to help find the girlfriend, but that proves disturbingly difficult. Even more disturbing is the new “Pokemon Go” type game that all the kids seem to be into, asking kids to do “tricks” in the real world in order to gain game points. Some of these tricks become increasingly alarming, like “go steal a hammer from a store and leave it in a special place.” Nobody seems to question this crossing from the game world to the real world, and as more people join the game, riots form. Another positive besides Steph and Nell’s friendship is the police in this restless, unsettling near future. Cheshire Cat, the AI (are there two?) and the teens and the dystopia all come together in a white-knuckle climax that kept me reading very late. I loved the new characters (Steph’s grandmother especially) and the many ideas raised. It’s such a fast, absorbing read that the many thoughtful ideas buried in the story really come to the foreground in contemplating it afterward. Like, Kritzer doesn’t make the adults stupid in order to keep the kids in the foreground. Loved that--loved all the characterizations, including the villains in their unblinking anger. I think it’s safe to say that if you liked the first book, you’ll like this one. At least I sure did—I hope we get to see Steph, Nell, Cheshire Cat, and all the others in further adventures. Copy provided by NetGalley

  2. 4 out of 5

    C. S.

    Just as compulsively readable as the first book. I adored the new characters introduced in this installment as well as the chance to catch up with Steph, CheshireCat, and the gang. Like the first one, the novel is amazingly good hearted, and the author’s note at the end, about ways 2020 unexpectedly mirrored and shaped the novel, was very touching. Basically the only reason I knocked off a star is because I felt like the way the gang just stumbled into the plot at the very beginning was a little Just as compulsively readable as the first book. I adored the new characters introduced in this installment as well as the chance to catch up with Steph, CheshireCat, and the gang. Like the first one, the novel is amazingly good hearted, and the author’s note at the end, about ways 2020 unexpectedly mirrored and shaped the novel, was very touching. Basically the only reason I knocked off a star is because I felt like the way the gang just stumbled into the plot at the very beginning was a little rushed and convenient. Still highly entertaining and just dang good.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    4.5 stars. Steph's world opens up further with the resolution from book one. She's now in a city, living in an apartment, getting together with her girlfriend on weekends, and things feel semi-permanent! Also, she's discovering that she has more family than just her mother and father. Then at her new school she meets Nell, a young woman from a cult who's been homeschooled and whose mother has disappeared. And Nell's girlfriend has also disappeared, adding to Nell's worries and stress. Steph kind 4.5 stars. Steph's world opens up further with the resolution from book one. She's now in a city, living in an apartment, getting together with her girlfriend on weekends, and things feel semi-permanent! Also, she's discovering that she has more family than just her mother and father. Then at her new school she meets Nell, a young woman from a cult who's been homeschooled and whose mother has disappeared. And Nell's girlfriend has also disappeared, adding to Nell's worries and stress. Steph kind of takes Nell under her wing, and the two begin getting to know each other. While they do this, they, and many other people, start playing an online game, which tasks each player to perform a specific task, often something odd, and eventually increasingly alarming, for in-game points. Also, ChesireCat, along with continuing to moderate CatNet, has its hands full helping search for Nell's mother and figure out who the other possible AI is. There's a lot happening this time around, and things get progressively tense as the various story threads progress, but the story is still greatly enjoyable, and just made me happy. I LOVE the friendships in this book, and how funny and supportive the many Clowder conversations are. There are many more characters in this second CatNet book, and my favourite of these is Steph's grandmother with her warmth, humour, no nonsense attitude to the evolving situations, and her driving. Naomi Kritzer also raises a lot of serious points along the way, such as privacy (again), parental responsibility, religion and what and who it “others”, tolerance, and family; the story zips along in such a way that the author is never heavy-handed when considering these ideas. I totally enjoyed this book, and would love to spend more time in this world. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for this ARC in exchange for a review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mal

    This is a sleeper hit like the first one. Absolutely fantastic, set ten minutes in the future. I read both of them in a single sitting. The pacing is a work of art. The kids are fun and realistic. The technology is real or terrifyly plausible. The cast is diverse AF. Minneapolis is handled with delicacy and intention. And I'm always a sucker for thrillers set where the enemy is your environment, and Minnesota is real darn cold in the winter. This is a sleeper hit like the first one. Absolutely fantastic, set ten minutes in the future. I read both of them in a single sitting. The pacing is a work of art. The kids are fun and realistic. The technology is real or terrifyly plausible. The cast is diverse AF. Minneapolis is handled with delicacy and intention. And I'm always a sucker for thrillers set where the enemy is your environment, and Minnesota is real darn cold in the winter.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received this YA book from the publisher via NetGalley. I read the first CatNet book as part of the Norton Award finalist packet last year. It gripped me from the start with its relatable young heroine Steph and fantastic hook: a teenage girl who has spent her life with her mom on the run from her abusive dad relies on an internet chat room for support--and when her dad finds her, discovers one of her dear online friends is a sentient AI (who happens to love cat pictures), and really relies on I received this YA book from the publisher via NetGalley. I read the first CatNet book as part of the Norton Award finalist packet last year. It gripped me from the start with its relatable young heroine Steph and fantastic hook: a teenage girl who has spent her life with her mom on the run from her abusive dad relies on an internet chat room for support--and when her dad finds her, discovers one of her dear online friends is a sentient AI (who happens to love cat pictures), and really relies on them to survive. The sequel starts out slower as the stakes aren't quite as high. Steph's dad is in prison. Her mom is trying to make a normal life for them in Minneapolis. When Steph starts at a new school, she finds the kids are really into new phone games that ask them to complete tasks in real life--tasks that weirdly match the kids own lives and environments. Even her new friend Nell, recently moved in with her dad after leaving a cult, plays a Christian type of phone game. Steph and her AI friend soon suspect that these aren't mere games. Another AI may be involved, and this one isn't content to just stare at cat pictures. Even though the pace was slower, the circumstances were still intriguing, and the tension does escalate. I zoomed through the book in all of two days. A few trigger warnings: the book does address abusive family and extremist religious sects, but the book is also about hope and support. Really, the importance of found family is a prevalent theme. At one point, the teenagers need a refuge, and they go to a house with a rainbow flag, and get just the support they need. Beyond the characters, the book brings up intriguing near-future science fiction questions about sentience, AI, the power that phones have over our lives, and even what the future of policing may look life. Good subjects are everyone to ponder these days.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Chaos on CatNet threw me into such a book drought that it's taken starting and setting aside three books to figure out what I could possibly read next. It somehow managed to up the stakes from Catfishing on CatNet while preserving so many of the things I loved about the first book. I definitely feel like I benefitted from not knowing much about the premise so this review won't have a blurb of the plot. I will say it picks up shortly after where Catfishing on CatNet left off but includes a helpfu Chaos on CatNet threw me into such a book drought that it's taken starting and setting aside three books to figure out what I could possibly read next. It somehow managed to up the stakes from Catfishing on CatNet while preserving so many of the things I loved about the first book. I definitely feel like I benefitted from not knowing much about the premise so this review won't have a blurb of the plot. I will say it picks up shortly after where Catfishing on CatNet left off but includes a helpful, short recap at the beginning for people like me who immediately forget the plot of a book immediately after finishing it. Kritzer continues to miraculously combine both a compelling story and thought-provoking questions about the role of technology in our daily lives. Similarly to Catfishing on CatNet, this book took a little bit of time to fully grab my attention. Once it did though, it became absolutely impossible to put down. This is science fiction at its best -- presenting the issues of our current moment in a way that feels both fresh and urgent. I know I will be thinking about Chaos on CatNet for a long time. Fingers crossed there will be more books in the series -- I could read about ChesireCat doing basically anything and be completely content. C/W:(view spoiler)[kidnapping, conversion therapy, religious cults, abandonment by a parent, descriptions of a riot (hide spoiler)]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Chaos on CatNet (CatNet #2) by Naomi Kritzer was one of my most anticipated reads of April and luckily it mostly lived up to my expectations. 2019's Catfishing on CatNet was such a pleasant surprise that I was really excited to for this sequel. I honestly don't know why this isn't on more peoples radar because this YA near-future sci-fi thriller series hits the right notes. Whatever the case, it really deserves to become a sleeper I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Chaos on CatNet (CatNet #2) by Naomi Kritzer was one of my most anticipated reads of April and luckily it mostly lived up to my expectations. 2019's Catfishing on CatNet was such a pleasant surprise that I was really excited to for this sequel. I honestly don't know why this isn't on more peoples radar because this YA near-future sci-fi thriller series hits the right notes. Whatever the case, it really deserves to become a sleeper hit. Tonally, this time around the story is a bit different than it's predecessor, but it's just so compulsively readable and I can't resist the world and characters Kritzer has created. Plus, there's a cool AI character that really enjoys a nice cat photo. I can't wait to read more from Kritzer in the future.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)

    I begged for there to be a second book after reading Catfishing on CatNet and my dreams were answered, almost as if CheshireCat was listening in on my conversation. (If only I were so lucky!) So we're back with the team. Not much time has passed since the ending of the first book. Enough time for Steph's mum to have made some progress on her therapy and for Steph to start at yet another new school. Only this time it's under her actual name, with all of her transcripts and with nothing to hide. H I begged for there to be a second book after reading Catfishing on CatNet and my dreams were answered, almost as if CheshireCat was listening in on my conversation. (If only I were so lucky!) So we're back with the team. Not much time has passed since the ending of the first book. Enough time for Steph's mum to have made some progress on her therapy and for Steph to start at yet another new school. Only this time it's under her actual name, with all of her transcripts and with nothing to hide. Her dad is in jail and they're no longer on the run.  Things never appear like they're going to be quiet around poor Steph, though. On her first day in her new school she meets Nell who has been homeschooled up until the point her mother disappeared. Although their family always seems to have been religious (on the mother's side at least), for the past two years they've been in a cult. But since her mother's disappeared Nell has been sent to live with her father (who walked out on them when she was young). He now lives with a new wife, who has a girlfriend, and he (Nell's dad) has a girlfriend himself. They all live together, so Nell now has a family of four adults in a nice polyamory family-unit. Despite Nell's cult-religious upbringing she has a girlfriend herself, so I'm not entirely sure why this initially seems to disgust Nell when she's telling Steph about it - perhaps it's just in the way of 'eugh adults'. Either way, Nell seems to have baggage. It also appears as though her girlfriend (who was also part of the cult) has disappeared, and she fears she's been sent to one of those illegal but probably-still-exist conversion therapy retreats under the guise of being 'therapeutic Christian boarding schools' or something. This is something that Steph asks CheshireCat to look into for them, but even our favourite AI is having trouble tracking her down... which, if you know what it's able to do certainly says a lot for where Nell's girlfriend must be stashed.  There are also Pokemon Go style games and websites popping up more and more around the place - the kind that track where you are and give real-world quests, though as the book goes on they get more sinister. Instead of 'walk 12k to hatch an egg to get a low-IV boring pokemon', you get 'walk into this hardware store, steal a hammer, leave it in this box for someone else to pick up' and that kind of thing. And then riots and mass group activities start happening, where, at least, we see a version of the police that the author hopes could be reality someday... but more on that later.  It also seems as though there's another AI out there, one who is contacting CheshireCat, saying that they know who and what they are. This is the main crux of the book, and although everything ties in together (as well as into events from the first book, so you'd really have to read that one before coming into this one) is all about how we function as people - whether we are hardwired to be a certain way or if we grow organically, made of things around us. Even with AI this is the case, such as CheshireCat liking photos of cats rather than videos of dogs, and that sort of thing.  We see most of the cast of the first book with a bonus introduction of a grandmother Steph never knew existed. The bonus about this book being set 10+ years into the future is that even the older generation have pretty incredible skills - this grandmother can steal cars and was one heavily into drag racing, so she's their ticket in and out of some fairly tight situations. Overall I found this book bleaker than the first. The riots, the religion, and everyone willingly doing absolutely stupid things because an app tells you to and so forth... it was all a bit depressing. I have no doubts that this was its intended impact, and it's not as though the first book was all sunshine and kittens - it has a father trying to steal a child and guns and things after all, but this book... I don't know. It hit a little too close to home, I suppose. This series certainly does make you stop and think for a while about all the tech we surround ourselves with, how easily we click allow to give various apps access to microphones, photos, app data and so on...  But one of the positives was the police force. In the afterword the author references the tragic and disturbing death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. To that end, as this book is set in the future, the author has given us a police force she hopes they can work towards - one that isn't threatening, one that seeks to help rather than hinder, and so forth. One of the interactions show them trying to get Steph a warmer coat when she finds herself out at night in freezing conditions, for instance. Seeing speculative fiction edging us towards this future to help make it a reality is something I want to see more of, certainly.  I demolished this book in a day so I clearly couldn't put it down and I needed to know what happened next. I also would love to see a third book. I just hope that Steph, Rachel, Nell, Glenys and CheshireCat can all go somewhere nice. Maybe it's time they attend a convention and save the Concom from something. That'd be awesome. 

  9. 4 out of 5

    Roslyn Sundset

    I received an ARC (Advanced reader copy) of this book from NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge. Just so you readers know, I will always give an honest review. If I can't be honest, I simply won't do it. This book comes out on Apr 27, 2021. I mean, right off the bat I have to agree with The New York Times Book Review. This book is perfect. I read Catfishing on CatNet last year (2020) in October and my obsession began. I first heard about this book from a podcast I listen to about reading called Rea I received an ARC (Advanced reader copy) of this book from NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge. Just so you readers know, I will always give an honest review. If I can't be honest, I simply won't do it. This book comes out on Apr 27, 2021. I mean, right off the bat I have to agree with The New York Times Book Review. This book is perfect. I read Catfishing on CatNet last year (2020) in October and my obsession began. I first heard about this book from a podcast I listen to about reading called Reading Glasses. The host who read it said so many good things about it and their recommendations never steered me wrong so I picked it up. Easily one of my favourite books I read that year and probably how I discovered I enjoy reading some thrillers. The beauty of this thriller is the science fiction element with the AI (Artifical Intelligence) and self driving cars. I easily got sucked into the world that is like mine, with subtle differences (that I would actually like to see btw... Elon Musk I am talking to you). While I loved the first book, there is always that moment of panic when you are worried the second book won't be as good or capture you the same way. Luckily, Naomi Kritzer kills it again. I was hooked immediately and the storyline was different enough from the first book that I just couldn't put it down. I don't know how she does it. But I hope she continues to do it for a long long time. So in this installment of the series, Steph is finally settled down after all the CRAZY from the first book only to be thrown into even more unexpected CRAZY in the second book. And while she like to try to figure out most of her problems on her own, I appreciate she knows when to ask for help and when to tell the adults around her of the situation so they can also help. One thing that I absolutely adore is how there is such attention paid to the language around pronouns and other LGBT relationships without it being a focal point. It is just part of the story and really has nothing to do with the story but I just love that it is there and prevalent. It makes me feel hopeful that eventually it will just be like this for real and how good that would feel. I know, this book isn't out until April so what are you supposed to do until then... go pick up the first book and then let me know what you think. Would I recommend this book? - Absolutely I will. I won't soon forget about this one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . This be the second full-length CatNet series novel by Naomi Kritzer.  The first novel was based on "Cat Pictures Please" which won the 2016 Locus and Hugo awards for best short story.  Book one followed Steph who was on the run from her evil father.  She is saved in the end by her friends from a social media site called CatNet and the AI in hiding cal Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . This be the second full-length CatNet series novel by Naomi Kritzer.  The first novel was based on "Cat Pictures Please" which won the 2016 Locus and Hugo awards for best short story.  Book one followed Steph who was on the run from her evil father.  She is saved in the end by her friends from a social media site called CatNet and the AI in hiding called CheshireCat who runs the site. I enjoyed the first book and was glad to hear that it was getting a sequel.  Turns out that I liked this book even better.  Steph is back and trying to live her life out in the open and gain some stability.  At her new school, she makes a new friend, Nell.  Nell's mother happens to be missing.  And Nell happens to have grown up in a cult.  The two friends join an online social media game.  But something seems weird about it.  Steph, Nell, and Cat find themselves trying to solve the mystery of Nell's mom and maybe also save the world. What I loved about this one was how lovely the friendships are, how grown-ups are involved in saving the day, and of course CheshireCat.  I really do enjoy getting to see Steph again.  But I thought Nell was an excellent character.  Watching her change during the course of the book was awesome.  I also thought her family was a hoot.  Old friends make an appearance and well as some new unexpected arrivals.  The larger themes of privacy, family, and trauma are here too.  This book was fun and I was glad to see what was evolving with the AI.  I recommend this book but make sure ye read book one first! So lastly . . . Thank you Tor Teen! Side note: I have to admit that the cover of this book in the series also doesn't thrill me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This book was provided by the publisher at no cost. First: you have to read Catfishing on CatNet before reading this. That's usually a good idea with any sequels, and this book definitely won't make sense if you haven't read the first. CHAOS follows the same pattern as Catfishing: chapters from the POV of CheshireCat, the AI who loves cat pictures and tries to help humans, sometimes with disastrous results; chapters as Steph, the protagonist of the first book, who is no longer forced to keep run This book was provided by the publisher at no cost. First: you have to read Catfishing on CatNet before reading this. That's usually a good idea with any sequels, and this book definitely won't make sense if you haven't read the first. CHAOS follows the same pattern as Catfishing: chapters from the POV of CheshireCat, the AI who loves cat pictures and tries to help humans, sometimes with disastrous results; chapters as Steph, the protagonist of the first book, who is no longer forced to keep running away with her mum in fear of her dangerous father. And for this book we get Nell, who's as broken as Steph: she's grown up in an ultraconservative cult, and now her mother has disappeared so she's living with her father - who left them many years ago - in her father's polyamorous household (a nest of sin, of course, to the people in the cult). At the end of Catfishing, it was revealed that there was a second AI out there, who was trying to make contact with CheshireCat. This story is basically about that: what is this other AI like? should Cat make contact? And the weird things that people are doing as part of "missions" from their favourite social media sites/ games - how are they connected? This book is coming from Tor Teen and I don't really know whether it will work for actual teens (I am not one). I, however, enjoyed a lot of aspects: it's fast-paced, I found the characters largely believable - except, perhaps, for CheshireCat; I don't know what I expect of AI but this isn't quite it. Maybe I'm too deeply into Martha Wells' Murderbot, or Ann Leckie's Breq, but this all-I-want-is-cat-pics-and-to-help-you just seems... weird. And borderline creepy. Maybe it's that it's too human! Anyway; I enjoyed the diversity of characters and I enjoyed the interactions between characters; the incidental notes felt very real. Nell's suspicion of, and stiffness towards, her father's household make complete sense in her context. The use of social media games, and the idea of apps following people and basically spying on them, feels very pertinent right now and of course very creepy. I know that people are often already unaware of how much their phone in general, and specific apps, are accessing their data and making use of it. Kritzer is taking a logical next step that honestly freaks me out. Robots, car chases, romance, family, social manipulation, snark, and AIs. That's what this book has going for it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Halley Hopson

    4.25 stars ⭐️ I would like to describe this book as if extremely aware Artificial Intelligences, cults, Pokémon GO, and Parler(aka the app used by trumpers to plan the raid on capital on January 6th) were all combined into a novel. The ending was quite abrupt I will say, but I quite enjoyed the ride and obviously love our cast of characters in this series as well as all of the queer representation.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tsana Dolichva

    Review to come closer to the release date

  14. 5 out of 5

    Didi Chanoch

    Terrific sequel to the lovely CatFishing on CatNet. Steph and her growing circle of friends and family are, once again, fighting for stakes both personal and far greater. And, once again, using the powers of friendship and queerness and smarts and resourcefulness. And a nearly all-poweful friendly AI, of course.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Your Books Are Calling

    I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Well, I requested this book on NetGalley, and then had to go find the first book! Didn’t realise this was a sequel. Pro tip: if you, like me, didn’t realise that Chaos on CatNet was the SECOND book, stop reading this and go read Catfishing on CatNet first. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here, and I will be reviewing them both below :-). Catfishing on CatNet was a pretty good book. Our MC is on the run from her father, a c I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Well, I requested this book on NetGalley, and then had to go find the first book! Didn’t realise this was a sequel. Pro tip: if you, like me, didn’t realise that Chaos on CatNet was the SECOND book, stop reading this and go read Catfishing on CatNet first. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here, and I will be reviewing them both below :-). Catfishing on CatNet was a pretty good book. Our MC is on the run from her father, a convicted arsonist. She lives with her mother, and they move. A. Lot. Like, multiple times in a year. Basically, if Steph’s Mum gets a feeling that they have been noticed - like when Steph used to cause trouble in school - or if she just felt they had been in one place too long, they would up and move. Steph has no social media, no fancy touch screen phone. Her best friends are digital - people she found online (using her basic laptop) in a chatroom, called CatNet. Here she can talk to people without fear of her father finding her, and make connections with people that aren’t uprooted within a few months. Things begin to get intense when Steph discovers something unusual about one of her chatroom friends, and it begins to seem as though someone is tracking her in real life. Catfishing on CatNet has great LGBT+ rep, including use of neo-pronouns, and it’s done in a way where it’s just normal. (I have a friend, who is gay, and the other day for the first time, they were talking to someone they were not yet out to and said “oh, my (same gender)friend is into that!”, and shocked themselves a little, as they referred to their same-gender partner in the same casual way hetero people do.) The point of that wee story was that we need to get t a place where it doesn’t matter if it’s a homo or hetero relationship, it should just be a RELATIONSHIP. And this book was really good at that. They didn’t erase the very real struggles that people who don’t conform to the hetero-norm face, but instead gave a safe space where it was normal to be gay, straight, ace, enby. The world these books are set is ours - but a few years into the future, so things are mostly recogniseable, but there are also robots. Like, robot robots. Like robots that “teach” “sex ed” (yes, BOTH sets of inverted commas were necessary here, the teaching is awful and the sex ed is worse!). Our savvy online friend group hack the sex ed robot and provide some genuine sex ed that is actually helpful! Catfishing on CatNet becomes somewhat of a thriller as our MC and her friends try to uncover the identity and true account of who is after her and why. It’s pretty good, I enjoyed the overall storyline . The main thing I found a little jarring was that the MC is meant to be 16ish years old, and she reads a lot younger. Chaos on CatNet picks up not long after the previous book ends. Steph and her mother have moved, but she is still in contact with her physical friends from their last location, for the first time ever. We fall into a plot quickly with Nell, a physical friend Steph makes within the first few pages. There’s a lot of action after that, including a clu, a rogue AI, a supervillain base in a robot-filled theme park… it’s engaging and enjoyable, if a little rushed. The ending felt to me a little like too much happened off page - that is, our MC was doing something and someone behind the scenes was saving the world and we didn’t actually see it happen? Not a huge issue, just a little disappointing for me personally. I will make a note here about the polyamory in Chaos. Nell has an extended family situation: she is living with her father; her step-mother (father’s wife); her father’s girlfriend, and her step-mother’s girlfriend (I think!). It’s nice to see it portrayed from the POV of the adults as just a thing they do and it’s normal. Nell refers to the women as Thing One, Two and Three, a la Cat in the Hat, and I can see how people could be offended by this. Personally, as there is character growth (and a cult mindset to break) I’m okay with it, as it’s simply someone's reaction to something they are uncomfortable with, and that someone is a child. That’s not to say children get a pass, but simply that they DO change as they learn more. Content warnings: LGBT+, LGBT+ phobia, violence, domestic violence, language (?), conservative views. Overall Rating: 4 stars

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Steph and her mother no longer need to run from her father, thanks in part to the help of Steph’s online friends from CatNet and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that runs CatNet, who calls themself CheshireCat. Now Steph is living in Minneapolis and registering for a private school that’s designed for students who may have gaps in their education. On her first day at the new school. Steph meets Nell, who had been homeschooled by her mother. But over winter break, Nell’s mother had gone missing, Steph and her mother no longer need to run from her father, thanks in part to the help of Steph’s online friends from CatNet and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that runs CatNet, who calls themself CheshireCat. Now Steph is living in Minneapolis and registering for a private school that’s designed for students who may have gaps in their education. On her first day at the new school. Steph meets Nell, who had been homeschooled by her mother. But over winter break, Nell’s mother had gone missing, so now she’s staying with her father. Nell’s mother had been very religious, in a group that may have been a cult. Then the police found her car and nothing else. There had been no sign of her. Nell doesn’t think that her mother would just leave her and stage her own disappearance, but there is nothing she can do to find her. As Nell and Steph sit talking about their unusual backgrounds, another student comes over and asks them if they know about the Mischief Elf app. and when they say no, she gets them to add it, so she can get rewarded for getting new members into the group. It’s an app that asks you to do things, and the more of the tasks you complete, the more you get rewards. Nell notes that it seems similar to another app she uses calls Catacombs, which has the same format but is religious based. Steph is excited to have a real friend who lives close by (her girlfriend is a couple of hours away), so she signs into the new app (under a pseudonym—she’s smart about internet security)—but she finds some of the tasks to be questionable. Some are fine, innocuous tasks, but others could have unwanted consequences—like, when someone is asked to cross the street against the light or steal a tool from a hardware store. But then Nell’s best friend—girlfriend—goes missing, it’s up to Steph, Nell, and CheshireCat to try to figure out where she might have gone. And as they try to find her, they get the feeling that there is something more happening to them. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the Mischief Elf app and the Catacombs app look so much alike. Maybe they’re related to each other, and to Nell’s mother’s religious doomsday cult. But for that to be true, for someone to be able to synthesize all that information together, there would have to be a very intelligent human behind it all. Or another Artificial Intelligence, like CheshireCat,. But how many programmers out there are smart enough to create another AI? And what could their intentions be with it? As Steph and Cheshire get closer to finding out, the danger around them rises. There are riots and fires, bombs and people spilling into the streets ready to fight each other. Could it be the Tribulation that the cult has been prepping for, or is the AI using them to burn humanity to the ground for a deeper purpose? Chaos on CatNet is the follow-up to Catfishing on CatNet, and not only does it continue the story started in the first book, it expands the danger from Steph and her mother to entire cities of people. Although you don’t have to read the first book to understand this one, I recommend that you do, just because it’s a very good book. Author Naomi Kritzer has taken the future she started in Catfishing and applied it to society, weaving in subversive questions of what makes us human and if programming can be changed once it’s set. I loved Catfishing on CatNet and was so excited to find out that there was a sequel. I was a little apprehensive reading Chaos on CatNet, because there’s always the worry that the next book in the series won’t be as good. But I think Chaos was even better. Introducing the religious cults and unusual families added personality and danger to the story, and Steph herself was smarter and more confident in very impressive ways. I did have the urge to wipe all apps from my phone, but other than that, reading Chaos on CatNet made my week. I highly recommend both CatNet books. I mean, what else is the internet for, if not cat pictures (and book reviews)? Egalleys for Chaos on CatNet were provided by Tor Teen (Macmillan) through NetGalley, with many thanks.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    3.5 stars This review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. My rating scale is below. review After a brief recap of the first book Catfishing on Catnet in which we are reminded that CheshireCat, is actually an AI who is very good at figuring out who will be good friends to each other and created CatNet in order to do that and look at cat pictures, and through hijinks ended up revealing their AI sta 3.5 stars This review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. My rating scale is below. review After a brief recap of the first book Catfishing on Catnet in which we are reminded that CheshireCat, is actually an AI who is very good at figuring out who will be good friends to each other and created CatNet in order to do that and look at cat pictures, and through hijinks ended up revealing their AI status to one clowder on their site and helping one member, Steph, escape their dangerous father, Chaos on Catnet jumps right into the action with CheshireCat receiving an anonymous message that states someone knows who and what they are. Steph, meanwhile, is starting a new school and from day one she meets a girl from a very strange religious sect who has a mystery attached to her in the form of a missing mother and is having a hard time adapting to living with her father, who is in a polyamorous relationship. Her name is Nell, and she is now a point of view character. Also, her girlfriend goes missing very shortly after she becomes a point of view character. At the same time, there are several social media sites that have people performing tasks which border on ill-advised and illegal. Naturally Steph and Nell end up joining and things spin rapidly and wildly out of control. It is my opinion that Kritzer’s second volume would not stand especially well on its own, and readers would miss out on a lot of great worldbuilding and storytelling. The author’s note discusses how in writing this book Kritzer chose to make Minneapolis of the near future the one they wanted to see, and the explanation is a hopeful one, but it also hurts a little because it highlights the ways in which our current system has not done its best by its people. It is still a great world to read about though, for a number of reasons, but especially its characterization. As with its predecessor, the queer representation in this book, is very good. It portrays queer and polyamorous people and relationships believably, giving them flaws as characters which do not derive from their sexual preferences or gender. It also discusses trauma and addressing it really well, as well as normalizing the processes for dealing with it, such as therapy, and finding support systems. Also well done are the portrayals of adults, who are almost all believable characters and not just cardboard cutouts strategically placed to fill plot gaps. This is a worthy follow-up to Chaos on CatNet. The only complaint I have is that I miss reading about the Clowder, and would really, really like to read more about other members doing things and having adventures. rating scale 1 star - I was barely able to finish it. I didn't like it. 2 stars - It was okay. I didn't dislike it. 3 stars - It was interesting. I liked it. 4 stars - It was excellent. I really liked it. 5 stars - It was extraordinary. I really hope the author wrote more things.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    **Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of Chaos on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for this opportunity.
Chaos on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer is a young adult near-future science fiction novel. It is the sequel to Catfishing on Catnet and the second book in the Catnet series. This book picks up some time after the events after the first and we see Steph and her friends dealing with everything that happen **Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of Chaos on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for this opportunity.
Chaos on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer is a young adult near-future science fiction novel. It is the sequel to Catfishing on Catnet and the second book in the Catnet series. This book picks up some time after the events after the first and we see Steph and her friends dealing with everything that happened while also embarking on a new misadventure. Chaos on Catnet is set to publish on April 27, 2021. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Here's the summary from NetGalley:
It takes an AI to catch an AI in Chaos on CatNet, the follow-up to Naomi Kritzer's award-winning near future YA thriller.
When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat.
I was intrigued by the idea of a sequel and seeing what happened to Steph and Rachel and CheshireCat after the conclusion of the previous book, which is ultimately what drew me to request this book. I will keep things a little bit vague because it's a sequel but I feel that this book is less dependent on its predecessor than other sequels are.
The big standout for me with this series is how inclusive it is when it comes to the LGBTQ2S+ community. There are characters of all sexualities and genders, and this book even featured what seemed to me a healthy depiction of polyamory. It's great to see this kind of accepting representation. It's just a fact and I really love that.
I also still really enjoyed the characters. Steph is really interesting and I liked that she actually went to adults for help in this one. That's not something you see often in YA books. I liked seeing CheshireCat develop. I also enjoyed the introduction of Nell, who was not what I expected but it was nice to see her grow as a character. The other AI was also an interesting inclusion and really added to the tension of the novel.
The pacing of the novel was good. Every scene felt necessary and there was a good amount of action and things to keep me guessing about what was going to happen next. It felt like it was the perfect length and there's not anything I would have cut or shortened. I really enjoy how it's our world but just some steps further, and I liked that the author was able to envision a world she wanted to see. I still felt like some of the dialogue was a little awkward, but that's probably because it's fairly realistic dialogue all things considered.
Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this book and if you're at all interested, you should definitely check it and it's predecessor out!


  19. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thank you to NetGalley, Naomi Kritzer, and Tor Teen for the opportunity to read Chaos on CatNet in exchange for an honest review. This is the second book in the CatNet series. While it is recommended to read the first novel, Catfishing on CatNet, to get a feel for Steph and her family, Chaos on CatNet has a wholesome plot of its own and can probably be read with little confusion.  Steph's father is in jail. She and her mom can finally live somewhere permanently, though the stress of always being o Thank you to NetGalley, Naomi Kritzer, and Tor Teen for the opportunity to read Chaos on CatNet in exchange for an honest review. This is the second book in the CatNet series. While it is recommended to read the first novel, Catfishing on CatNet, to get a feel for Steph and her family, Chaos on CatNet has a wholesome plot of its own and can probably be read with little confusion.  Steph's father is in jail. She and her mom can finally live somewhere permanently, though the stress of always being on the run still affects their daily actions. When Steph meets another girl named Nell at her new school, they become quick friends. Nell show Steph an app called the Catacombs, which send players on quests and actually know their location if they went out to do what the app told them too. Steph and CheshireCat, Steph's AI friend and the main runner of CatNet, believe the Catacombs--and some other apps that have similar quests--are being run by an AI, but where did this AI come from and are the requests getting to be a bit malicious? When an old colleague of Steph's mom's appears, once thought to be dead, Steph investigates if this is in fact that same person and if he may have tried to make a copy of CheshireCat for his own means. Chaos ensues as the requests from Catacombs (and the other apps) start to become chaotic and violent. Meanwhile, Nell's mom is missing. She was raised on a strange religious cult that finds Nell being a lesbian not okay. Nell's girlfriend has gone missing, and Steph turns to CheshireCat to try and find the missing girl. The religious cult seems to be behind the Catacombs and the actions of people following the apps orders without question. Steph calls on her own girlfriend to come and help solve the mystery. Between new friends, religious cults, chaos across apps, and trying to stop terrible things from happening across the United States, Steph and CheshireCat have quite the problem on their plate.  This book was great, just like the first one, though I certainly wasn't expecting the amount of religious aspects to it. I do appreciate the very open LGBTQ+ elements in this novel. The interesting question of an AI being sentient and the morality of them being thought of as a person is subtle, but certainly comes up, a near-future topic that takes a lot of thinking. I also really liked the afterward and the inspirations the author had for the setting and how Minneapolis has changed over the course of drafting this novel. A great book for a young adult audience, a fun and unexpected sequel, and a trove of subtleties relating to contemporary social issues.  A powerful novel indeed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Connors-Beron

    Releases April 27, 2021 Book 2 in the CatNet series. Review of Book 1 can be found HERE. If you have not read book 1, I suggest you not finish reading this review as it will contain spoilers for book 1. Content warning: abuse, kidnapping, cult, bullying I received an ARC of Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer thanks to the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Blurb thanks to Goodreads: “In this follow-up to the award-winning near future YA thriller Catfishing on CatNet, It takes Releases April 27, 2021 Book 2 in the CatNet series. Review of Book 1 can be found HERE. If you have not read book 1, I suggest you not finish reading this review as it will contain spoilers for book 1. Content warning: abuse, kidnapping, cult, bullying I received an ARC of Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer thanks to the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Blurb thanks to Goodreads: “In this follow-up to the award-winning near future YA thriller Catfishing on CatNet, It takes an AI to catch an AI… When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat.” Review: Despite having the same characters (plus a few more), Chaos on CatNet felt like it had a very different vibe but was just a good. While book one focused on the life of Steph and uncovering her background, book two takes a broader look at the world if social media ran our lives, which is pretty realistic tbh. While book one focused on the positives of AI, book two took a darker turn. The new characters I was really hesitant about, but that was also how Steph felt. It was also interesting to see how these new characters would react to some of the ‘big-reveal’ events those in book one already went through. Especially because the backgrounds of the new characters were completely different from what the others have experienced. Everything in the story flowed really well. There were no ‘slow’ parts because every event fed into the main plot in some way. I do want to shout-out the LGBTQ+ and polyamory presence within this book. It was really well done, despite societal stigmas due to cult beliefs. There was never a question that sexuality, gender, and relationship structures do not have fit into one box, which is always a massive positive for me. Overall, I really liked this book and series. If you are someone that likes spec-fiction, sci-fi, and/or Black Mirror I highly recommend!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    Steph and her mother are no longer on the run. Steph's father is locked up in Boston, awaiting trial with no bail. They're living in Minneapolis, and Steph is finally enrolled in a high school she can expect to graduate from. She's enrolled under her real name, with all the school information that she has, and telling the truth about why it's so spotty. She also has a new friend, a classmate named Nell, who has her own interesting history. She's been homeschooled until now, because her mother joi Steph and her mother are no longer on the run. Steph's father is locked up in Boston, awaiting trial with no bail. They're living in Minneapolis, and Steph is finally enrolled in a high school she can expect to graduate from. She's enrolled under her real name, with all the school information that she has, and telling the truth about why it's so spotty. She also has a new friend, a classmate named Nell, who has her own interesting history. She's been homeschooled until now, because her mother joined a cult. Well, a series of cults, but the latest one is especially extreme, and is run by someone called the Elder, whom no one ever sees. Nell's grandparents, devout Christians but not cult members, have allowed Nell and her mother to live with them--until Nell's mother disappears, and abandons her car not far away. When the police conclude she disappeared under her own power, Nell's grandmother concludes that maybe Nell is better off with her father, even though her father isn't exactly grandmother's idea of a great Christian. To be clear about that last, her father has a wife, and both he and his wife have girlfriends, and they all live together in a large house in Minneapolis. At first we have only Nell's impression of them, and Nell doesn't know what to make of them, beyond being rather judgmental about their lax attitude towards household chores. Nell and Steph get invited into a new social media site called Mischief Elves, and Nell invites Steph to join a social network popular with cult members--the Catacombs. It's not long before Steph starts to notice some creepy and disturbing aspects of both sites, and even more disturbing resemblances between them. The pranks the Mischief Elves organize get more and more dangerous. The Catacombs is also organizing strange activities that don't seem to fit. Then they discover the Mischief Elves are organizing supplies of explosives and potential weapons for the Catacombs people to collect. Meanwhile, CheshireCat has been receiving messages from what he thinks is another AI like himself, which he hasn't responded to because he doesn't trust its approach. What's going on? And will Minneapolis survive? It's twisty and interesting and a lot of fun Recommended. I bought this audiobook.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kayla (krakentoagoodbook)

    This was such an excellent sequel to Catfishing on CatNet! Like the first book, this is very fast paced and engaging. There's exciting plot threads, including some dealing with cults. I thought this was perfect to read as the weather is getting colder since the cold definitely plays a factor in some of the events that happen! There are some very tense and chilling (both literally and otherwise) moments in this book. I really enjoyed reading the author's note about how events of 2020 affected som This was such an excellent sequel to Catfishing on CatNet! Like the first book, this is very fast paced and engaging. There's exciting plot threads, including some dealing with cults. I thought this was perfect to read as the weather is getting colder since the cold definitely plays a factor in some of the events that happen! There are some very tense and chilling (both literally and otherwise) moments in this book. I really enjoyed reading the author's note about how events of 2020 affected some plot points. This book envisions a future Minneapolis where change has occurred, particularly with the police force. The characters continue to be absolutely wonderful with many great friendships. We have Steph and CheshireCat returning as POV characters, and we have a new POV character in Nell. I absolutely love getting to follow an AI character and seeing how they want to help their friends. Steph is such a good person, and I really enjoyed seeing her help Nell out, even though they just met. Nell was a fascinating new character. She comes from a cult background, so it's very interesting to read from this perspective. There's excellent representation here again with plenty of LGBTQ+ characters (some new rep this time includes polyamory and an ace character). There are certainly some grim topics here, including conversion therapy, cults, survivalist mentality, gun violence, riots, and more. However, I still feel like this book has an overall message of hope. Many characters are accepting of others and genuinely do want to help! I would absolutely recommend this book (and series in general)! I can't wait to see what Naomi Kritzer does next. I received a copy of this for review from the publisher via NetGalley - thank you! All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Although I haven't read the first book (Catfishing on Catnet), I did find this YA novel intriguing. from description: "When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat." Chaos on Catnet is a YA thriller with some genuine considerations about social media/the internet and its ability to influenc Although I haven't read the first book (Catfishing on Catnet), I did find this YA novel intriguing. from description: "When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat." Chaos on Catnet is a YA thriller with some genuine considerations about social media/the internet and its ability to influence hundreds of thousands of people. As I was reading it, we were all watching social media and news media as the election approached, and even now, in the aftermath of the election, we see the influence of the media for manipulating emotions. Pretty scary the way those with an agenda can influence hundreds of thousands of people to violence. In the book and in real life, this happens. At the same time, the internet does have many positive benefits. Friendships with people you may never meet in person, inspiration concerning hobbies and interests, and finding acceptance and support among like-minded people. Steph has this support among her friends. An AI with human qualities is still a long way in the future, if ever; but the ability of people to use the internet and social media in a destructive fashion has been troublesome for a long time. Even more so during all the problems 2020 has presented. Because I think the novel is of current interest, I'm reviewing it now rather than scheduling it for later. NetGalley/MacMillan-Tor/Forge YA/Thriller/Science, Tech. April 27, 2021. Print length: 304 pages.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zoe L.

    I was honestly surprised at how excited I was to read this one! Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wasn’t thrilled to see this book it’s just that I’m so shocked at just how much I enjoy this series when it’s something that is typically out of my reading comfort zone. But there’s something about these books that are just so good and alluring! This book is just as good as the first and I loved being able to follow up with all of the characters (plus some new additions). The story really take I was honestly surprised at how excited I was to read this one! Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wasn’t thrilled to see this book it’s just that I’m so shocked at just how much I enjoy this series when it’s something that is typically out of my reading comfort zone. But there’s something about these books that are just so good and alluring! This book is just as good as the first and I loved being able to follow up with all of the characters (plus some new additions). The story really takes off right from the start and off we go on another adventure. But what I think I like most about this series is the sense of realness to it. Like, clearly, the subject matter isn’t QUITE something you see every day, but in the same sense… we’re not far off are we? But anyways, what I really meant is that the characters are so relatable. They’re living breathing humans that have their quirks and their individuality instead of the overly… everything… we sometimes see in books. And I think that that’s why I find this series so fresh. This was definitely a wonderful follow up book and I really look forward to seeing what Kritzer comes up with next! I mean anyone who can get me out of my reading comfort zone AND make me fall in love with it on top of it is someone to watch! You can view my full review & giveaway on my blog! I also post about a lot of different types of books! Reader | Bookstagrammer | Blogger | Reviewer @ya.its.lit - https://www.instagram.com/ya.its.lit/ Blog - https://yaitslitblog.wordpress.com/

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beccanox

    I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. With "Catfishing on CatNet" winning both the Edgar and the Lodestone awards this year, it hasn't been on the library shelf for months. Even without having been able to read its predecessor, "Chaos" was a completely entertaining read with good characters, a nuggety mystery to solve, heart-racing suspense, and a supervillain lair in a robot-staffed amusement park. And explosions. The characters and necessary details from book I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. With "Catfishing on CatNet" winning both the Edgar and the Lodestone awards this year, it hasn't been on the library shelf for months. Even without having been able to read its predecessor, "Chaos" was a completely entertaining read with good characters, a nuggety mystery to solve, heart-racing suspense, and a supervillain lair in a robot-staffed amusement park. And explosions. The characters and necessary details from book one were explained in ways that avoided being tedious, and help the reader jump in and get invested. Hat-tips for frank discussions of neurodivergence, and each of the well-prepared and savvy teens had valid reasons for having the character traits that would save them -- it wasn't just "the way they are", it was the way their lives had made them. Several characters have they/them pronouns and many sexual orientations have representation, with the two main characters having lesbian partners. The book was also being edited during the Floyd riots, and since the setting is Minneapolis, the author made sure this near-future story showed the effects of those dramatic changes. The best thing about this pre-apocalyptic tale was that it exploited the blindspots people have, either willingly or through utter lack of curiosity or self-examination in order to accomplish the goal of mass chaos. It's a foolproof plan, because humans can be fools, and it made the story both realistic and chilling. Highly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A delightful game of cat and mouse between two AIs and their humans! One thing I love about this series is that it's just so fun, without compromising on addressing the kinds of hard topics teens deal with. The author is excellent at showcasing healthy relationships between flawed humans without it feeling forced or unrealistic. I've lived in the midwest all my life and I have to say that the author completely nails the setting. I absolutely adore how she envisioned policing in Minneapolis 5-10 A delightful game of cat and mouse between two AIs and their humans! One thing I love about this series is that it's just so fun, without compromising on addressing the kinds of hard topics teens deal with. The author is excellent at showcasing healthy relationships between flawed humans without it feeling forced or unrealistic. I've lived in the midwest all my life and I have to say that the author completely nails the setting. I absolutely adore how she envisioned policing in Minneapolis 5-10 years in the future and how she wrote characters that have transitioned from small towns to cities. This story felt like home in a lot of ways for me, as a queer midwesterner who moved from a small town to a big city and has found family on the internet. Chaos on CatNet is unique in that instead of addressing the age-old question of whether an AI is a person, it takes AI's personhood at face value and instead examines how humans manipulate each other, and how any intelligent being with access to mass amounts of data can use that for good, evil, or mischief. I think it's very common for stories like this to fall into the trap of assigning morality to tech, and I was thrilled to see this story go in a different direction. Recommended for anyone who loves the magic of online friendship, cats, gaming, and teen shenanigans; as well as fans of Murderbot. CW for cults and conversion therapy Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for the opportunity to read an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harrison Schweiloch

    This book is like a warm hug!!!! I first encountered Naomi Kritzer’s writing when her short story “Cat Pictures, Please” was nominated (and later won) the Hugo Award. It was just delightful in every way and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s about a benevolent artificial intelligence that just wants to help people and to look at pictures of cats. Later, Ms. Kritzer took this premise and turned it into the award winning Catfishing on Catnet, in which the AI hangs out with a bunch of teens in a cha This book is like a warm hug!!!! I first encountered Naomi Kritzer’s writing when her short story “Cat Pictures, Please” was nominated (and later won) the Hugo Award. It was just delightful in every way and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s about a benevolent artificial intelligence that just wants to help people and to look at pictures of cats. Later, Ms. Kritzer took this premise and turned it into the award winning Catfishing on Catnet, in which the AI hangs out with a bunch of teens in a chat room and helps out when the protagonist is pursued by her stalker of a father. It is a delight and deserves every award it won. (And more!) Ms. Kritzer follows it up with this novel, Chaos on Catnet, which follows up on some threads left hanging in the last novel, specifically, is there another AI out there and is it benevolent? I was so thrilled when Tor Teen and NetGalley approved me for an eARC in exchange for an honest review! Steph, the protagonist of the last novel, is back l, and she and her mother are more stable this time around. A new character is also introduced, Nell, who has just left a cult and is having a hard time adjusting. Once again, the author creates a fast paced thriller suitable for a teen audience that celebrates found family and asserting one’s identity. I predict this book will be on the Lodestar ballot next year - it’ll certainly be on mine!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    Rare sequel better than the first book! Kritzer plausibly builds out both the world and the character relationships from the first book (Catfishing on CatNet). It stands alone decently--the text helpfully reminds you of important events and key people from the first book--but the story unfolds into a rich tapestry that imagines a future with sentient AIs qand a social context driven by augmented reality games + clubs (a la Pokemon Go), rather than Twitter. This setup lets Kritzer take advantage o Rare sequel better than the first book! Kritzer plausibly builds out both the world and the character relationships from the first book (Catfishing on CatNet). It stands alone decently--the text helpfully reminds you of important events and key people from the first book--but the story unfolds into a rich tapestry that imagines a future with sentient AIs qand a social context driven by augmented reality games + clubs (a la Pokemon Go), rather than Twitter. This setup lets Kritzer take advantage of the most compelling aspects of near-future science fiction, without falling into the trap of letting the social-philosophical aspects of the book drag readers away from the story's emotional core: the characters relationships, and weight decisions about who to trust when you're vulnerable. Steph and CheshireCat, in particular, grow in depth in this second book, while new characters are ultimately intriguing and easy to root for. The only drawback might be that there were a *lot* of characters, so many were sort of vaguely sketched rather than vividly fleshed out. The many female-parent figures, for example, somewhat blended together. Also, the number of helpful allies the protagonists found seemed implausible to me, but given the short length, young YA audience, and themes of trust, I suppose it suited the story. Overall, I loved this book! I read it in one day, and even carried it into the restroom with me. I can't wait to read book 3!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather Jones

    I love Kritzer’s Catnet stories intensely, and I have since I read the very first one, the short story “Cat Pictures Please,” which you absolutely need to go read RIGHT NOW if you haven’t read it yet. It’s the story of a sentient artificial intelligence who just wants two things: to use all the tools of the near-future internet to help humans live their best life, and to look at cat pictures. She followed it up with the YA novel Catfishing on CatNet, and now there’s a second novel which is the b I love Kritzer’s Catnet stories intensely, and I have since I read the very first one, the short story “Cat Pictures Please,” which you absolutely need to go read RIGHT NOW if you haven’t read it yet. It’s the story of a sentient artificial intelligence who just wants two things: to use all the tools of the near-future internet to help humans live their best life, and to look at cat pictures. She followed it up with the YA novel Catfishing on CatNet, and now there’s a second novel which is the best yet. In this one, Steph, no longer on the run and trying to build a stable life in Minneapolis with her mother, makes friends with Nell, who has been “rescued” against her will from a conservative apocalypse cult by her polyamorous father and his partners. They notice that the fun new app sweeping their high school is eerily similar to the app the cult members use, and both apps are giving their members “missions” that are looking more and more sinister. Is there another, less friendly AI manipulating their community? Why? And how will they stop it? This book has a great blend of big-hearted love, humor, and car chases, and my only wish is that Krizer is already working on a third book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2021/0... The sequel CatNet book is more of a straightforward mystery/thriller: is there another AI, and is it nice or nefarious? There’s also a new POV character (along with Steph and CC), a new friend who's escaped from a cult after the disappearance of her mother, but now her secret girlfriend is ALSO missing. So obviously they have to band together to investigate that, too! I liked reading this a lot—Kritzer says in an afterword that she wrote the Minneapolis sh https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2021/0... The sequel CatNet book is more of a straightforward mystery/thriller: is there another AI, and is it nice or nefarious? There’s also a new POV character (along with Steph and CC), a new friend who's escaped from a cult after the disappearance of her mother, but now her secret girlfriend is ALSO missing. So obviously they have to band together to investigate that, too! I liked reading this a lot—Kritzer says in an afterword that she wrote the Minneapolis she wants to see, and it’s a pretty great version. Lots of queer people, lots of pancakes, lots of tension. I did think it ended kind of abruptly, but thought it was satisfying anyway. A-. __ A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on April 27th.

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