Tuesday, 31 May 2016

'We Are All Made of Molecules' review

'We Are All Made of Molecules' by Susan Nielsen
Review by Christopher Moore


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...

Stewart, as the geeky step-brother, is weird but refreshing. His theory on molecules, his cat, Schrodinger, and his inability to socialise mark him out as easy to sympathise with. In contrast, Ashley comes across as an absolute brat. Although there is more to her than meets the eye, it's very hard for the reader to disregard her self-centred, often cruel behaviour throughout the novel. Both characters are presented to the reader in a way that has potential to go down the road of becoming caricatures but Nielsen masters character and delivers two protagonists that shatter expectations and reveal multi-faceted people. On a side note, I love that the story is set in Vancouver (such a beautiful city!).

The only downside was Stewart's (13) and Ashley's (14) ages. I mean, yes, it was a great read but the narrative tones for both characters felt much younger than they actually are; Ashley referring to Stewart as "Spewart" and a "freakazoid" (and Jared as a "hunk" too) and the way Stewart goes on in general. If I read the story blind, aside from his abnormal intelligence, I'd place Stewart at about nine-years-old. For me, Ashley never really redeemed herself and the fact that she hung out with someone that repeatedly degraded and disrespected her (Jared) really didn't help this. We Are All Made of Molecules had the potential to be a much grittier, 5* read but it fell short on characterisation. If you're looking for something to read by the pool or the beach, it's a funny, contemporary, summer read.

Rating: 4/5 Stars ★ ★ ★

Christopher Moore:

Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-five year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.

No comments:

Post a Comment