Monday, July 13, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - We Are All Made of Molecules

This is one of my favourite middle grade reads so far this year!

Here’s the Amazon description:

Award-winning author Susin Nielsen has created two narrators who will steal your heart and make you laugh out loud.

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.

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen was first published by Scholastic Press, New York in 2015.

What I Liked as Reader: 

This story was funny, touching and even made me angry at times – and I love it when I can feel so much emotion as I read. I definitely felt connected to the characters. At first I was drawn more to the (nerdy) character, Stewart, but by the end I saw popular Ashley in a whole different light. I also really liked that this story includes some of the complicated situations that come up in everyday life. 

What I Liked as a Writer:

What a great example of a novel told by two voices! Both voices were distinct and, though I read fast and tend to ignore chapter headings, I was never confused about which narrator it was. I’d read this again to think about how the author deal with contemporary issues such as homophobia, without them taking over the whole story. The dialogue and humor was very natural. 

Opening Line:

“I have always wanted a sister.”


“I needed them to see things from my point of view for a change, and instead it was all turning into a big joke.”

“When I walked through the front doors of the school, it would have been perfect if it had been filmed in slow motion, with a wind machine blowing my long brown hair back, and a great pop song playing in the background.”

“I followed his gaze, and a truly awful day became worse. A single word was spray-painted in big black letters on the side of his laneway house for the world to see.”

“Sometimes my eye for fashion is a curse, because being at Borden Secondary is a daily assault on my eyes.”

Other Info:

Susin Nielsen lives in Vancouver, and is a television writer as well as an author. Some of the other books she's written:

Word Nerd

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

To learn more about the author, find out what inspired her books or see cute pictures of her cats, check out Susin's Neilsen's website.

If you're looking for more good middle grade books, visit author Shannon Messenger's blog for a list of bloggers featuring their picks for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.


  1. I do love funny books, but this sounds like much more than that. I have had trouble reading books in two voices, but what you describe makes me want to read this. I've put it on my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

  2. Sounds like a great story, especially with the two main characters being so different. Thanks for sharing it.


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