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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Publication Date: January 1st 2015
Genre: Young-Adult and Middle-Grade
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5
Source: Own Copy

Stewart is the gifted and talented. He's also geeky and socially awkward. His mom passed away last year and he finds himself missing her quite often.

Ashley is gifted and talented. She's popular and stylish. She's also failing 9th grade. Her dad has just come out and divorced her mother.It's a year later, and both her parents have now found themselves boyfriends.

Enter the parents- Ashley's mom asks Stewart's dad to move in with them, creating the most awkward living situation for both Ashley and Stewart. Stewart's excited about this new adventure in his life. Ashley... not so much.

Stewart doesn't fit in at school and Ashley struggles at home. When both of them attract the attention of Jared, a popular boy at school, things start to go terribly wrong. Do they have a strong enough relationship to confront the problems together?

The novel played on so many different concepts of growing up elevating each scene with the addition of the respective step-siblings. Susin Nielsen takes the themes of social awkwardness and stupidity and plays with them to the extent that they become driving forces of the book, but do not dominate the more essential themes of family.

The writing is quite humorous, but cannot really be called funny. as the characters are often debating serious issues and struggling with profound memories. As Nielsen writes in both Ashley and Stewart's points of view, the constant and drastic change in voice adds layers and complexity to the writing.

Both characters have young voices. Stewart mixes his social awkwardness with his vast array of knowledge while Ashley combines her sense of style with her academic struggles. This creates an interesting mixture of adult and child voices in each character's case.

The book talks about various struggles such as the struggle to accept a different sexuality, the struggle to grieve, the struggle to maintain your social status- or the struggle to create a social status- and many more. The in-depth analysis of these issues through the character's point of view makes for truly stunning chapters.

I categorized this book as both Young Adult and Middle-Grade. It's a sort of in-between book. It's a little too heavy to be considered a regular Middle-Grade novel, but the writing is much lighter than the typical Young Adult novel. I think mature Middle-Grade readers would really enjoy this book and so would Young Adult readers who were ready for a change.


  1. Ooh, this one sounds excellent! I love the science-y title, and I love how you described it as humorous but not necessarily *funny* - that seems like such an excellent balance. I'll have to pick it up sometime after I finish my huge stack of BEA books. (Thanks for your comment on my BookExpo wrap up post, by the way!)

    1. Thanks for stopping by Emily! The title is "science-y" but the best part is the rest of the book isn't necessarily so.

      Enjoy all your BEA books!

  2. I read this book a couple of years ago and I remember quite enjoying it. It is definitely one that can be enjoyed as a YA or middle grade book, but I do agree that the themes are a little bit too deep for those not mature enough to comprehend them. I may have to give this one a reread one of the days, as it does have some important concepts that aren't seen in many books for teens.

    1. Exactly- it's different and similar to YA books at the same time. It's a really unique novel with two unique perspectives!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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