|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
On the heels of his critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned, Jason Mott delivers a spellbinding tale of love and sacrifice.
On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators. After the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds disappear.
Ava has an unusual gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. Now the whole world knows, and suddenly people from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to catch a glimpse of The Miracle Child. But Ava’s unique ability comes at a great cost, and as she grows weaker with each healing, she soon finds herself having to decide just how much she’s willing to give up in order to save the ones she loves most.
Elegantly written, deeply intimate and emotionally astute, The Wonder of All Things is an unforgettable story and a poignant reminder of life’s extraordinary gifts.
As a fan of Mott's debut novel, The Returned, I could not wait to dive into his latest creation, The Wonder of All Things. I just knew it would be as addictive, thought-provoking, and emotional as his first book - and I was right (to a degree). It was all of those things, but it was also predictable and rather relenting in its message regarding obligation/responsibility - if you are blessed with the power to heal people, do you have to heal people (even if it means that doing so will harm you?) Such is the question at the heart of this story. We have Ava, a thirteen year old girl who saved her best friend, Wash, by placing her hands over his wound. Of course, everyone finds out and wants to know how she healed Wash. Has she always had this gift? Why did she keep it a secret? Can she heal others? Soon, the tiny town of Stone Temple is taken over by religious zealots and people from all over, who have come to see Ava and ask for her help. Meanwhile, Ava is in hospital. After healing Wash, she fell ill and has been recovering ever since. Also, the doctors are curious about her, so they've been running tests on her and her father, Macon (healing could be genetic). However, Macon is getting fed up of his daughter getting poked and prodded, so he takes her home. On the way, Ava learns about all of the craziness that has ensued since the incident with Wash. It terrifies her to think that these people are here for her and knowing what they want from her. Her father, who happens to be the town's sheriff, tries to comfort her and promise that all the hysteria will eventually die down. Ava, knows that it won't. And so the drama ensues - people breaking into Ava's bedroom, her own stepmother asking for Ava's gift, the noise and cameras of the press surrounding her, her father's belief that she should help if she can, etc. So much is going on, and all Ava can think about is her mother. She committed suicide years ago and Ava was the one who found her. Ever since she healed Wash, she's been wondering if she could have saved her mother. Confounded with such deep emotions and questions, Ava retreats into herself. She can only bear to have Wash around. As things get more terrifying for Ava, she decides to run away and brings Wash with her. She realizes what she needs to do to end all of this drama surrounding her and her family.
Now, I won't go into specific details as to what happens with Ava, Wash, and Macon - suffice it to say, its one emotional read. The Wonder of All Things explores themes of faith, religion, medicine, obligation, responsibility, family, love, loss, etc. It questions whether we owe it to one another to help those in need, regardless of the consequences. Ava can heal, but in return she grows ill. Should she have to heal people and die for it? Why does Ava owe anyone anything? She's just a kid, who happens to have this gift - why should she be forced into such a huge undertaking? I couldn't help but grow frustrated with her father, Macon. He obviously didn't know how to handle the situation, but I felt he should have listened to his wife, Carmen (Ava's stepmom). She seemed to have Ava's best interests at heart (usually) - at least she noticed how sick Ava was getting. For Macon to agree to work with Reverend Brown, that was just disheartening and disconcerting. I felt that her father was a weak man, who didn't consider his daughter's health overall - until the very end, when he finally took a good look at her. In the end, this story captured the fever pitch of mania, danger, and uncertainty enshrouding Ava, her family and friends, and her town. It showed us the ways in which people can ignore the obvious and trudge on, hoping for the best. It described the greedy and selfish manner in which people wanted to control Ava. And, it highlighted a mother-daughter relationship that was happy and sweet, but fraught with underlying emotions of sadness and anger. The Wonder of All Things is truly a great read. In spite of any negatives I may have felt towards the editing or plot lines, I found myself utterly mesmerized and unable to put it down - I stayed up til the wee hours finishing it and loving every minute of it. This is definitely one book that I would recommend to fans of Mott and fans of contemporary fiction with a supernatural twist. I look forward to Mott's next book!
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Wonder of All Things