The Wonder of All Things

The Wonder of All Things - Jason Mott Stone Temple, North Carolina is a typical small town, until one of their own returns home to participate in an air show and sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of two families. Ava Campbell was nothing special to anyone other than her family and friends until the day of the air show. After a horrific crash, Ava and Wash are trapped in a crumbling concrete silo. Wash is seriously injured and the only thing that comes to Ava's mind is that she doesn't want her friend to die. It is then that the miracle occurs and Ava, Wash, and Stone Temple will never be the same.

Ava and Wash have been best friends since they were five years old, and that feeling of closeness hasn't changed now that they are thirteen. Both Ava and Wash have lived through the deaths of their mothers, and Ava knows that she can't bear to lose anyone else in her life. Now that she is called a "miracle worker" and a "healer," everyone wants to know how she did what she did to heal Wash. Many people have come to small Stone Temple expecting her to perform miracles for their loved ones. Scientists and physicians want to study Ava to learn how she performed her miracle. Religious leaders want her to join with them and celebrate her gift from God. Others simply want to be healed. What these people don't know or seem to understand is that each time Ava performs a healing, her health is greatly compromised. After her initial healing of Wash, Ava lapsed into a coma for a few days. Now she's losing weight, can't get warm, and is throwing up bile and blood.

The Wonder of All Things is Jason Mott's second novel and is just as wondrous and captivating as his first, The Returned. I found The Wonder of All Things to be a fast-paced and engrossing read. There aren't any bad guys in the story, just horrible circumstances that force seemingly good people to place their wants and desires above all else. Ava is a typical thirteen-year-old. She's coming to grips with her father's remarriage and her stepmother's pregnancy. Ava's family lives in a small house, in desperate need of repair. Her father works as the town sheriff and her stepmother is a schoolteacher (I know shades of The Andy Griffith Show but it works). Her best friend Wash lives with his grandmother, and loves to read and sing. There are several smaller subplots at work within the major plot, including Ava's dislike for her stepmother, Wash and a life-threatening diagnosis and the reappearance of his father, and a well-respected and famous television pastor and his younger, brain-damaged brother. The only people that don't seem to expect anything of Ava now that she has these amazing healing abilities are her father, her best friend, and her best friend's grandmother. There were moments in the story that I simply had to put the book down and walk away for a bit simply because it was becoming too sad for me to go on. The action of the story seems to take place over a few short weeks, but Mr. Mott has crammed a lot into those weeks (again, it works). If you're looking for a story that deals with love and sacrifice, family drama, small town life, and miracles, then this is the book for you. If you're simply looking for something a little different to read, then this is it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Wonder of All Things (even if it did make me cry) and look forward to reading more from this author.