We Are All Made of Molecules

June 7, 2016

Author: Susin Nielsen.


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.

My Thoughts:

The viewpoints were grating – Ashley may be going through a lot, but that doesn’t completely excuse her being the complete stereotype of the popular mean girl, down to her shallow thoughts and back-stabbing habits. Stewart was more interesting, but seemed much younger than his given age. The book tried to tackle difficult topics, but overall it was a letdown.

Content Review:

Sexual content: Character threatens to tell school classmates that her friend “stuffs her bra”. Smaller boy in gym class has to strip and shower with other boys, and worries about being teased because his private parts are not very developed. When questioned as to whether he’s lesbian, a teen boy says “all my fantasies are about females”. Character overhears boy complaining in crude language that his girlfriend will barely let him touch her (intimately). Some kissing. Girl and boy are alone in a bedroom, the boy tries to pull the girl’s clothing off despite her protests, but they are interrupted. Boy takes advantage of a girl’s drunken unconsciousness to start undressing her and taking pictures. (He’s stopped.)

Language: 13 instances of “Oh my God” as an exclamation, 7 derogatory terms, 6 scatological terms, 1 hell and 1 *ff*d.

Violence: A larger boy knocks a smaller one around in the changing room, forcibly pulls his clothes off to humiliate him. Boy tries to unclothe a girl against her protests.

Mature Topics: MMC’s mother died of cancer. FMC’s parents divorced when her father announced himself as gay; later there is some discussion of this, and her father visits a few times with a boyfriend.


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