Monday, February 8, 2016

We Are All Made of Molecules

It's just been Stewart and his dad since his mom died almost two years ago.  Stewart is small for his age and super smart, but he's been going to Little Geniuses where he fits right in.  He has his cat Schrodinger, and life is getting back to OK.  But his dad has been dating someone at work, and now they've decided to move in together, so Stewart is leaving his home, his school, nearly everything to move across town. He's decided to make the most of it.

Ashley is at the top of the social ladder.  She got there by being pretty and mean.  She's puts all her effort into looking good and belittling her friends, and almost none into her grades.  She is mortified when her mother's boyfriend and his geeky son move in.  To make matters worse, she hasn't told anyone why her parents got divorced.  What would having a gay father do to her social standing?

Things start out OK for Stewart until gym class.  That's where he meets Jared who is big, mean, popular, and athletic.  Jared seems to have made it his mission in life to squash Stewart like a bug.  Ashley also happens to have a crush on the totally handsome Jared and willing to forgive just about any personality flaw to make a relationship work.

Susin Nielsen's book is by turns funny and heartbreaking.  It's definitely a compelling read, and Stewart's unusual take on the world is endearing and entertaining.  My struggle is with Ashley.  She is not really likable at all.  She's mean to everyone, and it's challenging to feel sympathy for her.

Additionally, Stewart is very innocent for his age, but the book also contains profanity and attempted sexual assault.  It makes it difficult to place.  Grades 8 and up.

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