Review: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Friday, 24 July 2015
We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielsen
Publication: May 12, 2015, by Wendy Lamb Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

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.

My Thoughts:

2015 is actually full of those awesome sweet contemporaries that actually have no main point or premise, other than to entertain readers, and We Are All Made of Molecules is the perfect example of that book for this year. But hey, I'm not complaining. This is a great read that will leave you laughing, smiling and wishing that you had a brother, if you don't have one already, especially if you're all around the same age. Who doesn't want to be in high school the same time as their sibling, or should I say—step sibling? 

Ashley Anderson. Although I loved her character by the end, I must note that Nielsen has introduced one of the most snarky and evil queen-bee type characters whom I've read about in ages, and she topped the novel with her extra greatness by the end. Cheers to memories and nice characters, because this book practically had it all. I really enjoyed it and to be honest, it ended up being one of the cutest books this year. I can't wait for everyone else to read it, whoever hasn't already.

Let's talk about the molecules present.
Let me tell you about the molecules and emotions present in the novel, okay? This can definitely be compared to something by John Green, a masterful contemporary writer who knows how to perfectly grab all of the happiness and emotions from readers, leaving them breathless and unable to read anything else for days. Although I know that this wasn't a sad, gloomy read, I did feel nauseous with exploding my happiness out. It's the happiest read you'll be going through for a while, even by looking at the cover, forgetting about the beginning of the book, where Stewart deals with his mother's death toughly and explains the whole story in his perspective.

Susin Nielsen jumps between two perspectives, both of which I expected some sort of romance to come about with (thankfully nothing happened between them except a forcing friendship): Stewart and Ashley. A year ago, Stewart's mother died of cancer, and he still can't forget about what her presence was like. Now, his dad falls in love again with Caroline, and they move in with her and her daughter, Ashley. Ashley is a total stuck-up bitch (there, I've said it) and she's a year older than Stewart, but she discovers that he's in her classes at her local Vancouver high school because he's a gifted genius. 

The main premise is the bonding, mending relationship between Stewart and Ashley. I can't even blame them for disliking each other, because I have to say that they both have strange qualities in each of their characters that made me even dislike them at times. Was that essential and primary from the author's perspective? I'm not sure, but I guess they were points forbidding something to grow out of it all, as well as popularity. Did you find popularity to not be an issue when you did/are in school? This novel gives us all of the answers on that case, and what it's really like. It's not one of those cheesy novels where the clique walks down the hallway and everyone stares at them and wish to be them. No. They might be bullies and people might fawn over their beauty, but it's not like every single person knows them so well and would sell their soul to be them. This is a true contemporary representation of what it's like, and I thank the author greatly for doing her research (or even possibly using her own experience) to make everything click. Now this is contemporary.

You see, everyone's not starring at them.
This is a fucking hilarious book. It beats the stereotypes, like your typical popular blonde chick and nerd who picks his nose. These people can be so different than their stereotypes, you know? Ashley proved readers wrong by the end and we got to see her true personality after the whole New Year's fiasco. And Stewart isn't that socially awkward as we first pictured him as. This guy proved us wrong, too. Did you read about the huge squad that he had built up by the end, trudging through the hallways like an actual cool clique? They're all made of molecules, they're all normal people and the same. Cheers to fictional equality!

As you can see, I'm obsessed with the message that this book presented. At first, I was afraid that it'd be too middle-grade, but it proved to be a nice YA novel that I'll remember for ages. One of those inspirational ones that taught us a moral. Life lessons rule. The only thing that made me pretty stubborn about my overall opinion was that some think that this is pure middle-grade. NOOO! High school, drinking... I'm pretty sure it isn't if you ask me. I want to be Stewart and Ashley's friend now.

I actually feel pushed to join a mathletes team, watch Doctor Who (although I tried and hated it) and seize the day like Stewart's adorable character makes us do. This book will punch you in the feels, as well as show you the different relationships that one can make as you're introduced to new people, new experiences, and new family members. I'd say that this is the perfect fast-paced summer read that won't take much of your time to consume (and laugh with). Go ahead, see that your molecules are the same as anyone else's!

What are some YA books that you feel are mistaken as middle-grade or adult fiction?


  1. This book sounds really good. I want to get to know Stewart and Ashley now!

    1. Yes, you must! It's just one of those books that will cheer you up no matter where you are, you know? :D

  2. Stewart was my favorite by far hahah, though to be honest I didn't love this book as much as you did! I absolutely hated Ashley, but she did redeem herself in the end, so I'll give her that.

    I'm trying to think of some books I read that could've been MG, but I can't come up with any at the moment.

    Awesome review Michelle!

    1. Thanks Val! ^__^ I was afraid that this book would be too cliché but I'm glad that everyone's enjoying it somehow. YES ASHLEY. I'm so glad that I ended up like her character-development in the end though! I've read some reviews about Corey Ann Haydu's Rules for Stealing Stars possibly being written with some hints of YA here and there, so I'm excited to see what that one will bring!

  3. This book looks interesting enough, but to be honest I'm kind of put off by the plot. It just seems like your typical 'nerdy people and popular people can be friends!' plot that's existed for ages. However, you do say that the author manages to see past the stereotypes, so maybe I might be able to get into this one. The message does seem pretty admirable and you obviously enjoyed it, so I'll be watching out for this book in my library and I might give it a go if I see it. The cover's great too.

    Also it took me ages to write this because I spent most of the time air-drumming to A Certain Romance by Arctic Monkeys (which is definitely my favourite song from them if you haven't heard it).

    1. I get what you mean! :) I've read Nielsen's work in the past and she's that kind of author who just handles everything in her own way. At least it's not a nerdy girl and a jock-popular guy! *rolls eyes* It's such a cute read and I really hope that you'll go for it! OOoo Arctic Monkeys! I LOVE THEM. But I've never heard of that song so I'll check it out, haha! xD


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