„We Are All Made of Molecules“ by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund

IMG_0405I have never had my feelings towards a character changed so drastically throughout a book. Where Stewart is caring Ashley is dismissive, where Stewart is open Ashley is stubborn and most importantly where Stewart is loveable Ashley is… troubling, but in the end Ashley is just as loveable as Stewart.
Ashley is one of two main characters, whose lives have been turned upside down recently.
While to Ashley her image was more important than anything, even her mother’s happiness Stewart, though a year younger, understood quickly that moving in together was an important step for his father and Ashley’s mother.
Ashley, being the image obsessed person she is in the beginning, hates the idea of this, not only because she despises Stewart, his Dad, their cat and all their strange mannerisms, but also because she fears Stewart transferring to her school will push her down the social ladder a few steps.
Her parents having divorced recently her spot on top is already wobbly enough, without adding the “freak” or even worse her newly out Dad to the equation.
While Ashley is the epitope of angry teenage daughter because of all this, Stewart is understanding.
He tries very hard to make things work with Ashley and is incredibly patient while she keeps on driving him away. Not only is he incredibly patient with her at home, he also respects her wishes regarding school and makes friends with Ashley’s Dad, trying to fix their relationship, which again is infuriating to Ashley.
Stewart does all this while facing his own struggles of bullying at school and having lost his mother at such a young age, in regards to which Ashley shows absolutely no sympathy.
Throughout the book both Stewart and Ashley undergo quite the development, although Ashley’s is far steeper and more impressive, to me anyway, seeing as in the end Ashley is just as loveable as Stewart, that’s quite the journey.
This book obviously combines many different issues but that somehow doesn’t feel overwhelming throughout the story, as it is well paced and told realistically by the two polar opposite protagonists.

-Ute

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