Du är Ett Geni (2000)
Du är ett geni (2000)
4.33 of 5 Votes: 1
9129694191 (ISBN13: 9789129694192)
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We Are All Made of Molecules is a funny and heart-warming story about a newly blended family, told from the alternating viewpoints of Ashley, the stereotypical mean girl and Stewart, the stereotypical nerd. The two of them are thrust together when Stewart's dad and Ashley's mom decide to move in together. You can't help but like the characters in this book. Stewart is adorably goofy, trying to live up to what his mom would have wanted for him while still staying true to himself. Ashley, the popular, pretty girl is kind of terrible at the beginning, but I couldn't help but like her as I got to see her vulnerable side. I think Susin Nielsen did a great job at portraying young teenagers, and I loved the different tone to the different viewpoints. This book dealt with some tough subjects, and I thought they were dealt with superbly! Susin Nielsen is a fantastic author and I can't wait to read her other books.I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks NetGalley and Tundra! Almost two years have passed since thirteen-year-old Stewart's beloved mother died of ovarian cancer. Her first symptoms were puzzling--she briefly believed she was pregnant with the sister that Stewart always wanted. Now, Stewart and his sympathetically depicted father, Leonard, are moving in with Caroline,whom Leonard has worked with for some time. Caroline is fairly recently divorced and has a daughter, Ashley, who is just a year older than Stewart. Ashley's father--an attractive, impeccably groomed man who has only recently come to terms with the fact that he is gay--has moved from the main house to a laneway house on the property--think: coach house converted into well-appointed apartment. Caroline and her ex are remarkably mature about the whole arrangement. Indeed, it would be fair to say that everyone in this early young adult story wants everyone else to be happy--with the exception of Ashley, the stereotypically fashion-conscious mean girl, popular only because other girls fear what being on her bad side might mean. Ashley has never accepted her parents' break-up. She is enraged with her father for ruining her life. She hasn't even told her best friend, Lauren, that her dad is gay as Lauren might use the information to usurp Ashley's position on the "social ladder".Stewart, Nielsen's newest lovable, gifted oddball, is trying to go forward in life with a positive attitude. Still, he spends a part of every evening under an afghan which his mother created, then used in her illness. He believes that he can inhale her molecules and be infused with her spirit. Recently, he has made a vow to his dead mother that he'll move out of his comfort zone and work on developing his ungifted side at a new school--the very school Ashley attends. Being odd and short, Stewart is an easy target for bullies. He only saves himself from fairly savage bullying at the hands of a sociopathic jock, Jared, by yelling out that Ashley Anderson is his sister. Since Ashley is "hot" and Jared is interested in her, he ceases and desists. For a short time, Stewart is a go-between until the two get together.While Jared is tall and handsome, it is darkness that is his salient trait. The author appropriately controls the amount of detail she provides about Jared for her younger teen audience, but she makes it clear that Jared is predatory and violently homophobic. Still, Ashley persists in her fantasy of falling in love with him. On New Year's Eve, what is supposed to be a small gathering of Ashley's and Stewart's friends at their house turns into every parent's nightmare: a wild drunken bash attended by multitudes. With the adults away, Stewart--again, inspired by his mother's spirit--has to do some quick thinking and make some very brave moves.Nielsen deals with somewhat dark subject matter with her idiosyncratic madcap humor. Characters are quirky, and dialogue and incident are snappy, moving the story along at quite a clip. All the odd-numbered chapters are narrated in the first person by Stewart; the even ones, by Ashley, further contributing to variety and pace.While I enjoyed WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES, and cheered at the bravery of the lovable Stewart, I felt the author missed the mark with Ashley. Stewart's potential stepsister is fully the stereotypical dumb blond--without the fair hair (she's a brunette). She is a caricature, not a character. I understand wanting to add humor to a narrative that explores an essentially serious topic, but too much fun is wrung out of Ashley, and I believe the novel suffers for it. Self-centered and literal-minded, the girl can't even use a hackneyed phrase without error: she takes a lot for "granite" in this "doggy-dog" world. She can never get the name of Stewart's cat, "Schrodinger", right even when the name is endlessly repeated. At the same time, Nielsen provides whole chapters, supposedly in Ashley's voice, in which the diction is sophisticated and the observations are astute and mature. The words and thoughts occasionally seemed inconsistent with the intellectually limited girl who is the butt of so many jokes in the book.While I don't think Nielsen's target audience of young teens will have some of the same problems I did with Ashley, I do think the story would've been stronger with more nuanced characterization. Stewart's conflicts with Ashley could certainly have been achieved with less over-the-top characterization. On another note: the words of the title make perfect sense in connection with Stewart, but they are strained later on in the text when used (rather forcedly by the author) in connection with Ashley.Readers familiar with Nielsen's other works will be interested to know that Violet and Phoebe of DEAR GEORGE CLOONEY, PLEASE MARRY MY MOM, Cosmo and Amanda of WORD NERD, and Farley of THE RELUCTANT JOURNAL OF HENRY K. LARSEN make appearances in this engaging and quick-paced read. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital advance reading copy of this text.I recommend the book with some minor reservations.Actual rating: 3.5 stars
What a heart-warming and heart - breaking book. I just loved it to bits.
Great story, but not that well written
l loved this book.
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