We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (proof) - Meet Stewart. He’s geeky, gifted and sees things a bit differently to most people. His mum has died and he misses her all the more now he and Dad have moved in with Ashley and her mum.
Meet Ashley. She’s popular, cool and sees things very differently to her new family. Her dad has come out and moved out – but not far enough. And now she has to live with a freakazoid step-brother.
Stewart can’t quite fit in at his new school, and Ashley can’t quite get used to her totally awkward home, which is now filled with some rather questionable decor. And things are about to get a whole lot more mixed up when these two very different people attract the attention of school hunk Jared... From Goodreads
When I was emailed by Andersen Press to ask if I wanted to review We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen, they sent along the first chapter, saying something along the lines of, "Read the first chapter. If that doesn't make you want to read the book, fine, but we think it will." Jim of YA Yeah Yeah had recommended this book to me before receiving the email, so I was already intrigued. I was sucked right in by that very first chapter and couldn't wait to read more! There was no question about it, I needed this book - and what a fantastic book it is!
Stewart's mother died over a year ago from cancer. Ashley's dad told his family he was gay about a year ago. Now, Stewart's dad Leonard and Ashley's mum Caroline are now together, and Stewart and his dad are moving in with them. Highly intelligent Stewart is mostly happy about the situation, popular, superficial Ashley is most definitely not. When Stewart leaves his school for gifted teenagers to join Ashley's school, and is put up a year to her grade, their lives get even more complicated.
We Are All Made of Molecules is told in alternating chapters from both Stewart and Ashley's points of view. I fell in love with Stewart immediately. He is so intelligent, but kind of innocent too, and he's just adorable. I kept wanting to give him a hug just for being so cute! I also really loved reading Ashley's chapters; she's pretty superficial and can be nasty at times, but her voice is addictive. She can be a bit slow on the uptake at times and has moments where she gets things completely wrong and you can't help but laugh, but Nielsen writes it in a way where you're not laughing at her, but warming to her as she makes them. Despite being quite a cow, I couldn't help but love her too. Nielsen is absolutely brilliant at writing voices, and We Are All Made of Molecules is really funny because of it
But this is also a serious book. Stewart's love for his mum, and his continual grief now she's gone is really beautifully written. It's really lovely to see how Stewart deals with the situation he finds himself in; he loves his mum, and wishes she was still here, but he can't change that, and if Caroline, Ashley's mum, makes his dad, Leonard, happy, when he's been sad for so long, then he's happy - plus he likes that he will gain a sister. He's always wanted one, and this may not be the way he hoped he would get a sister, but he's looking on the bright side, and, oh, Stewart is just wonderful!
Ashley's mum and dad, Caroline and Phil, aren't together because her dad chose to be true to himself and admit that he was gay. Although it's been over a year since Phil moved out and into the little converted garage behind the house, Ashley is still really hurt by it all, feeling like her whole life has been a lie. She's not had a relationship with her dad since, and they used to be so close. She's not told any of her friends because she's worried what they will think of her. She's very popular, and she believes if people find out, she'll lose her popularity and be made fun of. This is something she has a problem dealing with; she doesn't believe she's homophobic, but it's different when it's her dad, and it might change the way people look at her - or so she feels. And now some other bloke and his son have moved into her house, brought in their things into her home, and she didn't get any say in the matter. It's fantastic seeing both Stewart and Ashley's views of the situation, and how they deal with it. There are also other issues in the book I can't talk about without spoiling it, but they are dealt with brilliantly, too.
We Are All Made of Molecules is a really beautiful, moving and funny story, and it's just wonderful to see how Stewart and Ashley's relationship progresses. I implore you to read this book, it will definitely put a smile on your face.
Thank you to Andersen Press for the proof.
Published: 7th May 2015
Publisher: Andersen Press
Susin Nielsen's Website