Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Publish date: May 12, 2015
I had heard rave reviews of Nielsen’s newest YA novel, We Are All Made of Molecules, so needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity offered to review it myself.
Molecules tells the story of Stewart and Ashley, two barely-teenagers whose parents move in together and form a blended family. Of course, neither of the children are particularly thrilled with these changes, these in addition to Ashley’s dad coming out of the closet and Stewart’s mother dying of cancer. Stewart is a braniac who skipped a grade and left Little Genius Academy to get properly socialized, and Ashley is the Regina George of the school he transfers to, very concerned with social appearances.
I loved how complex the themes were in this book about these thirteen-year-old characters: coping with grief, dealing with change, family issues, safety in dating, but I find most importantly, learning how to embrace your emotions and express them to those who care about you.
When authors switch between character points of view, it worries me because it has to be done well. Each character has their own voice, and these voices have to stand apart. Nielsen accomplished this very successfully, as she was able to build her characters so well that they felt real.
Another problem with adults writing young adult fiction is that their characters often sound too mature, which ends up being problematic. But once again, Nielsen created Stewart and Ashley to be so realistic, I actually felt nostalgic – like I was thirteen again and wanting to date the cutest boy in school.
I could go on forever about how much I loved Stewart and Ashley and their family in Molecules, but it would really just be easier for you to read the book yourself. I devoured this one in a day, and I honestly recommend it, especially to anyone who has a blended family.