“We Are All Made of Molecules” by Susin Nielsen (2015)
Genre: Fiction, YA, Contemporary
Page Length: 250 pages (hardcover edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
We Are All Made of Molecules is a story about family and how we are all connected to each other in some way. The novel sends its readers a message about being true to yourself and that even though we’re everyone is different, we’re essentially made of the same stuff (“molecules”).
Our main characters, Ashley & Stewart, are complete opposites from one another, and are thrown into a new situation as they and their parents move into the same house. Even though their parents are not married, a step brother/sister relationship is forced upon the two while they’re trying to cope with their own unresolved problems. Stewart mourns the loss of his mom and Ashley can’t forgive her dad for splitting up the family.
Through alternating point of views by both protagonists we get a closer look at how this situation affects them on a emotional level. You get to see how they eventually bond with each other and how they will adapt to the hurdles that arise because of their new living situation and school year. Both, Ashley and Stewart, develop over the course of the novel and we see them heal in order for them to feel whole again.
I liked that the book not only covers the theme of a mixed family, but also focuses on themes of bullying, death, peer pressure, and other issues relevant to this period of teenage years. The novel was relatively fast paced, but I really enjoyed all of the aspects of the story: variety of characters, character development, themes, and overall plot.
Heartwarming story about what make us, us and what it truly means to be a family.