Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review: The Wonder of All Things

The inside cover declares: "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." I thought his what-if premise for the first book was intriguing and he has done it again with another interesting idea. This time the reader is asked to consider what might happen if a young girl had the power to heal someone else by laying hands on them, but diminished in her own strength with each healing action.

The Wonder of All Things begins on an ordinary day, when an air show is taking place in the small town of Stone Temple. Suddenly something goes wrong and the plane dives to the ground, hitting spectators and field alike. In the rubble of the debris, two young teens are found huddled together, the boy, Wash, with a pipe through his side, and the girl, Ava, looking desperately alarmed. While someone films on a cell phone, Ava pulls the pipe out and puts her hands on Wash's side. Miraculously, the wound heals completely. As would be expected, the coverage goes viral. All manner of rabble descend upon the little town of Stone Temple.

Everyone wants healing from the little wonder girl. Questions are raised about her responsibility to utilize the gift she has obviously been given. The story follows the development, in one line, of the girl's relationship with her deceased mother, and in another line, of the girl's relationship with her beloved friend, Wash. While Ava's father tries to determine the best way to protect his daughter, Ava herself must determine when and how she will use her remarkable gift, despite the personal cost.

While there were many interesting concepts raised for contemplation, the story followed a predictable arc and it still left me not quite as sucked in as I would have liked. Of course, I'm assuming some of that might be due to my own focus on my intense writing schedule at the moment. When you are eating, sleeping, and breathing your own story, it can sometimes be hard to let go and fully get engrossed in another story. It was a worthwhile tale and I expect more great things from Mott.

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