Book Review: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink.

Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder.

They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules.

My review:

“Right now, as I’m talking to you, you’re probably picking up a few Stewart molecules and vice versa.”

My heart swells for Stewart. To put it in his own words, he is a “quality human being”. The fact that he refers to his parents as quality human beings makes him even more of a quality human being. I just love that.

Stewart is earnest and matter-of-fact and just plain charming. You probably never got to know him in school. Ashley is attractive (and vain) and places no real value on friendship, or family, for that matter. And I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been friends with an Ashley. Or a dozen. Heaven knows I have. Of course, this would not be a good book if mistakes weren’t made and learned from.

I assumed this was a middle grade book, however, there were some very serious topics being discussed. This book is able to talk about death, divorce, homophobia, bullying, and sexual harassment in a way that everyone can understand. It’s important for youth to read about these things to learn about what is and is not okay.

On that note, I really enjoyed the writing style. It was quick and witty and just how I remember feeling when I was 13-years-old. Needless to say, Stewart’s intelligence comes across in his thoughts, and his way of looking at the world–at people–is spectacular. He sees everything for what it is. Ashley’s P.O.V. was entertaining to say the least, often misplacing words like “emancipated” with “unconstipated”. Divorcing from your parents and cleansing your intestines are two very different things. Or maybe it’s not, haha!

My favourite part of this novel was the fact that it takes place in Vancouver, my hometown. It’s surreal reading about streets and trains that you take every day. It made the story that much more real to me.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) because we are all made of molecules. The sooner we all realize that, the sooner we can all accept each other.

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