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We are all made of molecules

Nielsen, Susin

Stewart is mostly happy when he and his father move in with his father’s girlfriend and her teenage daughter, although he’d like the situation more if his mother hadn’t died two years ago, and his new sort-of step-sister didn’t seem to hate him so much. Ashley, on the other hand, is appalled that her mother and father split a year ago, and she’s not sure which is worse—her glamorous mother moving in with a dorky guy and his loser son, or the fact that the reason her parents split in the first place is because her dad is apparently gay.

This is a fun, charming novel. Stewart is gifted intellectually, but lags in social skills. Ashley, on the other hand, is at the top of a precarious social ladder, even though she’s not great with words or, really, any of her school subjects. The two are total opposites, and that remains true throughout the entire book. They don’t change to become more like one another, but they are able to bond despite major differences in their interests and outlooks on life.

The story deals with some serious issues, including the death of a parent, divorce, the confusion and shock of discovering a parent is gay, bullying, and peer pressure that quickly pushes past the boundaries of consent. However, despite all of this, We are All Made of Molecules remains mostly upbeat. This is the tale of two very different teens navigating a new way of life together. It’s a story about, above all else, family, and while Stewart and Ashley do not always have it easy, their experiences definitely make for worthwhile reading.

Meredith (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)