Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 256 pages
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise: The story follows thirteen year-old Stewart Inkster, who is gifted and brilliant, but faces challenges socially. His world collides with Ashley Anderson when his dad and her mom move in together. Stewart lost his mom and he was being supportive of his dad and actually excited at the prospect of having a sister. Ashley on the other hand, is still mad about her parents splitting up and worried about what her 'friends' might say when they found out the reason her parents split up was because her dad is gay. Ashley also is not ecstatic about her new step-brother and she is in a way the complete opposite of Stewart: faces challenges academically but is incredibly sociable. The story is told from both of their perspectives as they come together in this quirky and lovable contemporary read.
My overall thoughts and review: A fellow blogger friend of mine read this book a few months back and when I heard about it at the RHC blogger preview, I knew instantly that this was going to be a must-read for me. The premise sounded amazing and I was pleasantly surprised to find out when I read it that a love story was not central to the story. There is the love between Stewart's dad and Ashley's mom, yes. But I'm glad that Nielsen focused on Ashley's and Stewart's relationship as step brother/ step sister. It was so sweet to see how that all developed. The book also tackled issues of homophobia and bullying and did it in such a wonderful way. I'm really glad that Nielsen chose to go over such important topics and she did not lightly brush over them either. It is extremely important to speak about them and the way she handled it, tying it into character development and growth was amazing. Stewart was by far my favourite character. Seeing him grow as a character but also be comfortable as him made me extremely happy. I loved seeing how mature he was and his attempts constantly at a relationship with Ashley really made my heart sing. As an only child, I'm not sure how it feels like to go through what Ashley and Stewart went through, but it made me extremely envious of not having a step-brother quite like Stewart :P I was also incredibly curious about how the concept of ~molecules~ was going to work into the story and I loved all the scientific tie-ins, like Stewart's cat, but I just loved how sweet the molecules bit was. All in all, this was a beautiful young adult contemporary novel that focuses on friendship and family and tackles the issues that teens Stewart and Ashley's age would face in school. This is definitely one to add to your must-read list because it will not disappoint. It reminded me of Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You The Sun & Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. :D
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.