Books·Canadian

We Are All Made of Molecules

Susin Nielsen's young adult novel follows two very different young teens whose worlds collide when their parents move in together.

Susin Nielsen

Thirteen-year-old Stewart Inkster is academically brilliant but "ungifted" socially. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Anderson is the undisputed "It" girl of grade nine, but her marks stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. "The Brady Bunch" it isn't. Stewart is trying to be 89.9% happy about it, but Ashley is 110% horrified. She already has to hide the truth behind her parents' divorce; "Spewart" could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, no matter their differences, they share one thing in common: they — like the rest of us — are all made of molecules.

Written in alternating voices, Susin Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation. (From Tundra)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book 

"Molecules are made of atoms. When someone dies, their molecules break down, but their individual atoms don't. So, say a carbon atom is part of a molecule in a person's leg. When that person dies, that atom could become part of a molecule in something else, like a blooming flower, or even another human being. Or an oxygen atom in your sandwich could end up in a molecule as part of your brain."

"Ew."

"Right now, as I'm talking to you, you're probably picking up a few Stewart molecules and vice versa."

She slapped her hand over her mouth. "Gross!"

"I don't think it's gross. I think it's kind of beautiful. Everything, and everyone, is interconnected."


From We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen ©2015. Published by Tundra Books.

Author interviews

The two YA writers on their new novels (The Truth Commission, by Susan Juby, and We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielsen). 15:58

now