I was first introduced to Susin Nielsen’s books when I picked up The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen. I was pleasantly surprised by that book, and I ended up finishing it one sitting which for me is rare. With her latest novel, We Are All Made of Molecules Nielsen has done it once again, she’s made me love a story that I didn’t expect to.
Reminiscent of her last book, We Are All Made of Molecules also examines the issues of fitting in and bullying but what I enjoyed with reference to this book in particular was its focus on family. We Are All Made of Molecules is at its core, a heartwarming story regarding unconventional families and being true to yourself and the people you love. Also unlike The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is told from two perspectives, 14 year old Ashley and 13 year old Stewart. While Ashley comes off initially as your stereotypical, spoiled and bratty and selfish I couldn’t hate her since Nielsen is that fine of a writer and I could understand a bit, where Ashley is coming from. On the other hand, Stewart is so awkwardly adorkable. I admired how unabashed he was concerning being who he is and it was sweet to observe him truly attempt to make his unusual, new situation work. However, both Ashley and Stewart have their flaws and it was lovely to witness both undergo some character growth and development by the conclusion especially when it came to Ashley. Overall, the alternating viewpoints, interesting choice that works for this story as we receive two, contrasting perspectives to events that occur throughout this book.
We Are All Made of Molecules is an excellent book for an older middle grade audience as it has a number of mature content that may not be appropriate for the younger readers. Nevertheless, as it is a simple but emotionally powerful book I feel that it would also be a story that resonates with us adults as well as with those who consider themselves to be “young at heart”.
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.