Monday, July 06, 2015

MMGM- We Are All Made of Molecules

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

22926551Nielsen, Susin. We Are All Made of Molecules
May 12th 2015 by Wendy Lamb Books
Public library copy.

Stewart is the very definition of a nerd-- loves academics, socially awkward, eccentric. His father is a bit that way as well, but after the death of Stewart's mother, meets Caroline, a newswoman who works at the same station he does, and the two decide to combine their families. Caroline's daughter, Ashley, is an obnoxious, not-very-bright fashionista who refers to Stewart as "[Leonard's] midget-egghead-freakazoid of a son". Part of Ashley's trauma is due to the fact that her much loved father has left her mother and  moved into the guest house on the property... because he's gay. Ashley is afraid that her friends will be "gayist" and the fact that her father is gay will hurt her social standing. She ignores Stewart completely until he tells her he has spoken to Jared, on whom Ashley has a crush. Stewart manages to help facilitate their relationship, but Jared turns out to be a complete and utter jerk. Stewart is still dealing with missing his mother, but in a healthy and productive way. His mother lived a very different kind of life from Caroline's, but the two families, along with Ashley's father, manage to fashion a somewhat harmonious coexistence.
Strengths: Ashley is obnoxious, but for good reason, and she does change and grow. Stewart knows that he's a work in progress and attempts daily to become more social and to get along with Caroline. Seeing his thought process was marvelous. The grief is addressed in a healthy manner-- no one is so stricken that it's impossible to go on. What a relief! The story with Ashley's father was well done and very realistic. This is a great read for boys AND girls, and I adore that the cover has cross gender appeal. Bravo!
Weaknesses: The situation with Jared comes perilously close to being too young adult, but this is a great book for both middle and high school libraries, since Stewart is in 8th grade, and Ashley is in 9th. Brilliant how Stewart draws on a lesson from his mother to save Ashley from a bad situation. Several reviewers approached this book as Young Adult and felt Stewart was too young, and that the attempted assault made this definitely YA. For whatever reason, middle school students LOVE to read about problems such as this, and Stewart was spot on for an awkward 8th grader. The father's homosexuality could have been addressed more, but that wasn't really the focus of the book-- just Ashley's reaction to it.
What I really think: Not a huge fan of this author usually, but I adored this.


Kay said...

This book sounds really good--especially with the cross-gender appeal.

Kathy Martin said...

This sounds interesting. Here is my week. Happy reading!

Cheriee Weichel said...

Hi, It is interesting reading your comments about this book. I teach in a k - 7 school, so I'm a bit nervous about it, but I also think that I could give it to my grade 6 and 7's. Ashley irritated the heck out of me!

Greg Pattridge said...

By the cover I thought this was a non-fiction work. Glad to know otherwise, but wonder how many others will think the same thing. Anyway, sounds like an interesting story with appeal. I've added it to my list of books to read. Also enjoyed your other reviews this past holiday weekend. I was debating whether to read the Derek Jeter novel but will give it a go with your recommendation.

Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) said...

This book sounds great, and it was new to me--thank you!

Happy reading this week! :)

Rosi said...

You make this sound like a really good book. I think I will have to check it out. Thanks for the post.

Gigi McAllister said...

This looks like a great book. Maybe my middle school daughter might enjoy it. Thanks!

Lisa Robles said...

You're the second person talking about this book! Have to get it!


Ricki Ginsberg at Unleashing Readers said...

I love how you describe her as obnoxious. You always make me laugh!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Wow, this is the second time that I've seen this book reviewed positively this week. I should definitely check this one out. Thanks for sharing!

Katie Logonauts said...

Thanks for this detailed review!

thechroniclesofachildrensbookwriter said...

Another spot-on review! I'm always impressed by how much you read! I feel like a slacker!

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