We Are All Made of Molecules
by Nielsen, Susin






Thirteen-year-old Stewart Inkster is academically brilliant but "ungifted" socially. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Anderson is the undisputed "It" girl of grade nine, but her marks stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. "The Brady Bunch" it isn't. Stewart is trying to be 89.9% happy about it, but Ashley is 110% horrified. She already has to hide the truth behind her parents' divorce; "Spewart" could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, no matter their differences, they share one thing in common: they-like the rest of us-are all made of molecules.
     Written in alternating voices, Susin Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation.





Susin Nielsen got her start writing a spec script for the popular television series Degrassi Junior High. She went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit show and four of the Degrassi books. Since then, she has received two Canadian Screenwriter Awards and a Gemini Award. She has written for many TV series, including Heartland, Arctic Air, and Robson Arms, which she co-created. Her first novel, Word Nerd, won four Young Readers' Choice Awards and was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year Award, among others. Her second novel, Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom, won three Young Readers' Choice Awards and is a Winner of the Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers by VOYA and the Gold Winner of the Book of the Year Award in Juvenile Fiction by ForeWord Reviews. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, won many awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award, CLA's Book of the Year for Children Award, and three Young Readers' Choice Awards. It was also selected as one of the best fiction for young adults by the American Library Association and a Top Shelf for Middle School Readers by VOYA. Susin Nielsen lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and son.





When 13-year-old Stewart's father moves in with Ashley's mother, there are naturally some hurdles to be faced. However, Stewart seems to be much more excited at the prospect of having a sister than Ashley is about the new "freakazoid" in her life. Stewart has trouble adapting to his new school, a real change from his private academy for gifted learners. Finding friends is tough, but even tougher are the bullies, especially the guys in Stewart's gym class who seem determined to embarrass him. Stewart and Ashley narrate their stories in alternating chapters, a technique that highlights the very different perspective each brings to the story. For example, while Ashley is absolutely dazzled by Jared, Stewart knows that Jared's interest extends only to conquest. Ashley, meanwhile, tends to see only how the actions of others are an inconvenience for her. Sexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual development all play a role. Nielsen employs humor to ease tension, and despite the heavy topics, Ashley's malapropisms will cause some grins. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.





A nerdy boy and a queen-bee girl become stepbrother and -sister in this comedy/drama. Hilarity ensues when 13-year-old Stewart learns that he and his dad are moving in with Caroline and her 14-year-old daughter, Ashley. Stewart copes well enough, thanks to his outstanding intelligence, precocious emotional maturity, math skills, and the calm outlook with which he assesses his successes and failures. He's excited to have a sister. Ashley, on the other hand, couldn't care less about school and wants nothing to do with her new almost-stepbrother—who, to her mortification, has been bumped up a year and is now in her class. She's also terrified that people will learn her estranged dad is gay. Ashley scores big when she lands the handsome Jared as a boyfriend, but Stewart knows Jared is a bully because he's trapped in physical education class with him. The psychodrama is narrated by the two kids in alternating chapters, leavened with constant, wry humor that should keep reade rs chuckling even as the story grapples with serious emotional issues. Stewart comes across as absolutely adorable. He knows he's a complete geek with imperfect social skills. His disarming honesty about his intelligence and especially about his weaknesses holds the entire book together, allowing readers to take self-absorbed Ashley with a grain of salt as she goes through what her mother terms the "demon seed" stage. This savvy, insightful take on the modern family makes for nearly nonstop laughs. (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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