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Young Adult Fiction Blended Families

We Are All Made of Molecules

by (author) Susin Nielsen

Initial publish date
May 2015
Blended Families, Bullying, General (see also headings under Family)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2016
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


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.

About the author

Susin Nielsen got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards, as did her second novel, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, was published in August 2012. It went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, and a number of Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Author Wally Lamb named it his top YA pick for 2012 in his “First Annual Wally Awards,” and recently Rolling Stone magazine put it at #27 in their list of “Top 40 Best YA Novels.” Her books have been translated into multiple languages. Susin’s new novel, We Are All Made of Molecules, will be published in Canada, the US and the UK in Spring of 2015. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two naughty cats.

Susin Nielsen's profile page


  • Long-listed, Manitoba Young ReadersÂ’ Choice Award
  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Short-listed, Canadian Library Association - Young Adult Canadian Book Award
  • Long-listed, Carnegie Medal
  • Nominated, Georgia Peach Book Award
  • Short-listed, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
  • Short-listed, Snow Willow Award
  • Long-listed, OLA Best Bets for Young Adult Fiction
  • Winner, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz ChildrenÂ’s Book Awards

Editorial Reviews

On Canadian Children’s Book Centre YA January Reading List 2019
One of CBC's Best Summer Reads for Children and Teens, 2015
PRAISE FOR We Are All Made of Molecules

“This savvy, insightful take on the modern family makes for nearly nonstop laughs.” --Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

“Drama, humour, poignancy, and suspense are rarely found in such perfect proportions as in Governor General’s Literary Award–winner Susin Nielsen’s new novel about a teen odd couple forced together in a blended family situation. . . . We Are All Made of Molecules is chockablock with timely and weighty issues, yet it feels feather-light thanks in large part to some truly funny writing. Teens will be so busy turning pages they won’t even realize they’re thinking. This is stellar, top-notch stuff.” --Starred Review, Quill & Quire
“Stewart's analytical perspective and Ashley's sarcastic narration are as different as they are entertaining.” --Publisher’s Weekly

“By turns humorous and heartbreaking[,] . . . the contrast between the two characters makes for a compelling read, particularly as they begin to challenge and influence each other. . . . The book will appeal to fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and Jo Knowles’s See You at Harry’s. . . . This work of realistic fiction should find a place in most libraries serving teens.” --School Library Journal
“[N]o one–-absolutely no one-–captures the lovable flaws of the pubescent human creature like Susin Nielsen. . . . A joyful, effortless read with some squeal-worthy moments for Nielsen fans who will recognize character cameos from past books.” --The Globe and Mail

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