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The Wonder of All Things

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From critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott comes a spellbinding tale of love, sacrifice and the power of miracles.

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, killing and injuring dozens. But when 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 miraculously disappear. Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight. People from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to glimpse the wonder of a miracle. But Ava's unusual ability comes at a great cost, her own health, and as she grows weaker with each healing, Ava begins searching for an escape. Wash agrees to help Ava, but little does she know he has his own secret he's been harboring, and soon Ava finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to save the one she loves most.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published September 30, 2014

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About the author

Jason Mott

20 books1,023 followers
Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Weekly listed him as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.

He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” The Returned is his first novel.

The Returned has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It will air in March, 2014 on the ABC network under the title “Resurrection.”

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5 stars
553 (14%)
4 stars
1,220 (32%)
3 stars
1,468 (38%)
2 stars
419 (11%)
1 star
119 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 620 reviews
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books105 followers
August 22, 2014
(I got a copy from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

A novel that raised interesting questions, but that in the end failed to deliver some answers. I don't mean THE answers, because I don't think there's any definite one. It's more a feeling on my part that it didn't go as far as its premise could (and should) have taken it.

The story deals with Ava, a thireteen-year-old girl who suddenly reveals a healing power. Unfortunately, this power comes with a price, and the more she uses it, the more her own health suffers. However, as news the event that revealed her existence spreads throughout the country, she and her family are confronted with the many opinions of many people about what she should do with her newfound ability... and those opinions are quite revealing of what drives human beings.

Ava's father, her stepmother, other people around her, are all tempted, at some point, to ask her to perform some healing, each for their own motives. Macon (her father) because he's at a loss, seeing his only daughter wither, and trying to find a way to put an end to it, even though this might mean pushing her through more healing at first. Carmen (her stepmother) because there's a baby on the way, and who knows what might go wrong? In a way, they're somewhat justified in their "demands", and one may wonder: are they selfish? Or are they only being people, with their own temporary weakness when confronted to something so awe-inspiring? At the same time, other people, such as Wash's grandmother, don't demand anything at all—and those who don't demand anything aren't always those who're the less in need.

I think The Wonder of All Things makes us question those hypothetical motives in ourselves as well. If someone with such a healing power was to appear, would we be entitled to demand they heal just about anyone, regardless of the cost to their own health? Would we deem them "selfish" if they were to keep their ability for their loved ones only, knowing that doing more would kill them? Would such a person have a "responsibility" to everyone, should s/he be expected to sacrifice his/her own future? Some may say yes, some may say no, some may not know. I don't know. Part of me would likely want such a power to be used; yet another part kept revolting, thinking, "Guys, this is Ava's life. You have no right to tell her what to do with it."

This is where, in my opinion, the novel could have gone further, and didn't. For instance, we know early on that news about Ava spread through the internet, but not once do the main characters try to use the same media to tell the world the truth about her ability: that it's hurting her. Not once do they force other people to face their own demands, if only by simply asking: "You want me to heal your child/father/spouse, but considering I can't heal a lot of people, tell me, why should I choose him/her over someone else? Tell me. Give me a reason that isn't a selfish one, you who're calling me 'selfish'." (This is definitely something I was expecting some character, any character, to do at some point.) In a way, they may have been too passive about this, maybe expecting things to calm down on their own—wishful thinking, that.

On the other hand, there was also a lot of beauty in this story, in how Ava and Carmen had the opportunity to find an unexpected common ground in a situation that could just have well have divided them even more. And the parts where Ava remembered her own mother were touching.

I liked this story, I did. I just wanted the characters to be more on the confrontational side, regarding other people around them.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books320 followers
March 18, 2015
Four and a half stars.
I came to this book not having read The Returned, this author’s previous book. For that I am glad. It meant I came to it fresh and not comparing it with what had gone before. I was into this story from the first line’ FOR ONCE, DEATH took pity.’
The story starts at an air show gone wrong. Thirteen year old Ava and her friend Wash are trapped beneath rubble. Wash is seriously injured but when Ava lays hands on him his wounds miraculously disappear. At the same time it takes a lot out of Ava. This healing also starts a furor in the small town of Stone Temple. People flood into the town, all wanting something from Ava. We learn a lot about people from what happens. Ava, Wash, Carmen, Ava’s stepmother, Macon and Brenda are all very real and likeable characters.
Some of the descriptions in this book are so apt, it was no surprise to learn this author also writes poetry. While Ava is in hospital trying to remember exactly what happened ‘there was only grayness in her mind, like a fog that hugs a lake under moonlight.’ In the description of Brenda, meeting with her son Tom who has been absent from his Son Wash’s life for six years. ‘There was a mixture of civility and hardness in her voice, like snow draped over a wall of ice.’ Or this other description of Brenda, ’She stood like a lighthouse, tall and stoic and full of warning.’
The one I loved most was one that perfectly summed up the reading experience. Wash ‘thought of all the books he had read, all the places he had visited in his mind, all the stories that swirled around inside of him each and every day, like an ocean he had been building up inside of himself over the years, page by page, word by word. The ocean was vast and limitless, filled with joy and sadness, terror and betrayal, the death of friends and the final fate of enemies.’ It was not just this description I liked but how reading helped him see things in his own life and family clearly.
The novel shows a lot about people. At the same time it raises interesting questions about miracles, faith and helping others at a cost to self. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It doesn't provide answers but gives a lot to think about. At first I wasn’t convinced about the ending but when I went back and re-read it I think it is exactly right.

Profile Image for Cym & Her Books 💝.
107 reviews16 followers
March 14, 2023
Book 18/100 for the 2023 Goodreads Challenge.

If I could sum up this book in one word, it would be tragic. From start to finish, my heart broke for the children and adults depicted in this novel. How does one reconcile the fact that they are able to perform literal miracles with the fact that it will lead to their physical destruction? Would you kill yourself in order to save the ones you love? Can children choose to consent to harming themselves in order to save others? Do children fully understand the implications of their actions? How young is too young to be in love with another person? How does one come to terms, mentally, that their child has this ability?

The greed of the church, the fright of the small-town community members, and the naivety of the children were all masterfully written. This book was stunning and heartbreaking. 4.5 rounded down.
Profile Image for Kristie.
869 reviews382 followers
February 16, 2015
I had a difficult time rating this book. I loved the idea behind the book, but I don't think it completely lived up to it's potential. It was still a good book and worth the read, but there weren't many surprises. Pretty much the story is laid out for you and you you know what is coming because each part is a bit cliche, even though I felt the concept of the book was fairly unique.

This is the story of Ava, a thirteen year old girl with a unique ability to heal people, and her family and friends and town. Her best friend is Wash. During an air show in their sleepy little town, the plane crashes to the ground. Ava and Wash are trapped beneath the rubble. It looks as though Wash is going to die...but then, Ava heals him. This is caught on camera, of course, and posted on the internet, which causes people with all different opinions to flock to their small town.

You might think this is where the story gets good, but you'd be wrong. This is where the story falls a little flat. None of the adults in this book can make a single decision that puts Ava's needs first. You realize, right away, that Ava gets very sick after healing someone and does not get fully better. Wash can see it right away. Why can the adults not realize this? The book says that people are concerned, but no one is able to stand up to the crowds. It was very frustrating. I'm sorry, but if it was my kid, I would have told the crowds that healing others makes her sick and appears to be killing her slowly and they can all take a hike. But, not the adults in this book, noooo....they're all "what should we do?"

Anyway, as it turns out, the two kids are the smartest in the crowd. Everything that you expect to happen as the book rolls out happens. Still a good story, just not edge of your seat. 3, maybe even 3.5, stars.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jinn.
87 reviews83 followers
November 30, 2014
Great premise that ended up going nowhere. Clunky writing and poor editing (particularly proofreading); great character sketches but the characters didn't ever quite connect with one another for me.
Profile Image for Jen • Just One More Page.
254 reviews90 followers
December 24, 2015

This review is also posted on my blog.

I received a copy free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.
2,493 reviews516 followers
October 1, 2014

In the Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott, thirteen year old Ava, trapped under a collapsed structure with her badly injured best friend, Wash, lays her hands on his wound, closes her eyes and wishes for him to be healed. To the astonishment of witnesses, including Ava's police chief father, Wash's injury vanishes, and Ava collapses. As word spreads of the 'Miracle Child', the small town in which Ava lives is inundated with people seeking her touch, and Ava and her family struggle under the weight of expectation, even as it becomes apparent that Ava's gift comes at a grave cost to her own health.

The Wonder of All Things shares similar themes with Mott's debut novel The Returned. Placing a young, innocent child at the center of the maelstrom of controversy, the author examines issues such as faith, morality, loss, love, duty, and sacrifice.

For Ava and her family, father Macon and pregnant stepmother, Carmen the conflict centers around ensuring their safety and well-being, and the demands the community is making to 'share' the miracle. Mott also explores the response of friends and strangers to the event and exposes the conflicting emotions of awe and suspicion, selflessness and greed that it provokes.

As with The Returned, Jason Mott offers no explanation for the occurrence of a miracle. I understand this is a source of frustration for many readers but it isn't something I mind.

"And, sometimes in life, love and loving can still lead to an ending that we would otherwise choose. A fate with no blame to be taken. She understood that, in this world, there are unexplained wonders and faultless horrors both."

Though ultimately there is nothing particularly original about its premise or in the way it plays out, I thought The Wonder of All Things was nevertheless a moving and thought provoking story.
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,083 reviews1,412 followers
October 14, 2014

Would someone really be able to heal another person and have that ability and not know it? Does love bring it to the surface? Does it happen when a dire situation closely affecting the healer happens?

Ava didn't know she had the ability to heal, and it turned her life ​upside down ​and the entire town of Stone Temple as well. Folks were flocking to this unknown town after Ava healed her friend Wash.

​Most of the people coming to Stone Temple wanted Ava to heal them or a loved one, but she became ill when she healed someone so it was a difficult decision for her parents as well as Ava.

THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS will make you think about how you would react to the situation if you were the healer or if you were a person needing to be healed. The characters in the story "grow" on you, and you become attached to them.

​Ava was sweet, but aloof. Wash was very likeable. Macon, Ava's dad, was different. Brenda, Wash's grandmother will make you want a grandmother like her. Ava's mother, Heather, who had passed away,​ was different. Carmen, Ava's stepmother, was likeable and someone I felt sorry for. The Reverend was someone I wasn't too fond of.

THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS was mostly conversation and a book that had an interesting storyline like Mr. Mott's other book, but it wasn't gripping. I simply kept reading because I "had" to find out if they knew why Ava had this power of healing and what happened to this small town that was flooded with more people than it could possibly hold. I didn't find the answers out to those questions.

It was an odd-themed book, well written, but not that interesting. The ending was a bit vague, and the entire book was nothing outstanding. 3/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and without compensation in return for an honest review.​
Profile Image for Sharon.
379 reviews
October 27, 2014
I was so disappointed in this book . . . I felt like the story had such potential but it just never got there. There were some beautiful lines, but the characters were very flat and the dialogue stilted. There were a lot of "side" stories that were thrown in but then very little was done with them. And by the end of the book, the telling instead of showing was grating. I felt like the end of the book was supposed to be a kind of Jodi Picoult, leave-you-wondering, I-never-saw-that-coming moment but instead it just felt like the author didn't know how to end it.
Profile Image for Deanne.
87 reviews
September 16, 2014
I was really excited to receive an advanced reader copy of The Wonder of All Things though one of the Goodreads Giveaways. I really enjoy reading books written by local authors, and Jason Mott happens to be a fellow Carolinian.

The story is about a 13 year old girl, Ava, whose healing powers are discovered after a tragic air show accident in a small North Carolina town. She somehow manages to save her best friend Wash's life simply by placing her hands upon his wound. While it's never really explained how she came to have this ability or why, it is quickly apparent that healing others comes at a great detriment to Ava's own health. Each time she performs an act of healing, she becomes weaker, both physically and emotionally. As word of her healing talents spreads across the country, people from all over begin arriving in the small town where Ava and her family live, and they all seem to want either for Ava to heal a loved one or else just want to catch a glimpse of the "miracle child."

This book alternates among different characters' points of view, and in doing so, makes the reader question what he/she would do in each of their sets circumstances as they relate to Ava's gift. Of course, there are never any answers, but there are definitely some interesting points to ponder, and I enjoy reading books that make me think. The Wonder of All Things reminded me a little of some Jodi Picoult's novels that tackle some sort of ethical or moral issue, but this book was not quite as compelling as most of Picoult's novels. She is a master at writing from alternating points of view and you somehow find yourself completely involved with all of her characters. I think that if Mott could have spent more time fleshing out the characters rather than simply giving the briefest of back stories on each of them, I would have felt a little more connected to them and been able to savor the story a bit more. As it is, it read a bit choppy (particularly the dialogue between the characters), and I felt like I was being rushed through to the conclusion.

I wish I could give this novel 2.5 stars. It was better than OK, but not quite as good as a lot of my 3 star rated books.
Profile Image for Elaine.
604 reviews235 followers
September 28, 2014
In the aftermath of a tragedy at an air show, 13 year old Ava and her best friend Wash are trapped under rubble. Wash is gravely injured and whilst they are being dug out Ava is captured on camera “healing” him with her hands. In the days that follow, the power of the internet means that the whole world is aware of what happened, almost within minutes of it happening and when Ava and Wash are released from hospital they find a media circus on their doorstep – journalists, religious groups, ordinary onlookers and the sick and their families.

It is a story of ethics – does Ava have a responsibility to the sick to heal them with her gift, even if it means she is putting her own health at risk? Questions are asked – where did this gift come from? Why hasn’t she used it before? Heal me! People are getting angry, believing her gift has been kept secret on purpose.

It is a very intriguing book, one which really drew me in as I watched Ava and her family cope as their lives were turned upside down. Ava has never really accepted her father’s second wife Carmen, they have always had a very strained relationship, but here we see them finally building bridges and Ava learning to accept Carmen in her life.

The story is interspersed with flashbacks going back to Ava as a very young child and her mother who died a few years ago. Whilst to some extent these did answer some of the questions I had about her gift and how it started, it still left some unanswered at the end. Ava has never understood what events led to her mother dying – and she finally understands those events, but they are revealed in a very ambiguous way and I was still left in the dark. The flashbacks also revealed a couple of very surreal moments, which may have meant something to the story, but which were never followed up later.

All in all, it is not a bad read at all, but it is one that doesn’t tie up everything in a bow at the end. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Profile Image for Sarah.
603 reviews10 followers
October 17, 2014
I really wanted to like this book. I enjoyed Mott's first book, The Returned, and I didn't mind the ambiguity of that book's main plot line or it's ending. The same was true for this book. What drove me bonkers though, and what I've yet to see another reviewer note, is the problem that began right from chapter one of The Wonder of All Things. After an accident with an airplane at a festival, 13 year old Ava and her friend Wash, are trapped under the rubble from the silo they were standing under. Ava is in an air pocket while Wash is impaled by one of the support beams. Ava's father, the small town's sheriff, is there speaking to her through the hole in the rubble. He cannot fit to get to her but he can see what is happening with her and Wash. Ava removes Wash from the beam and then heals him by putting her hands over the wound.

The rest of the premise from the book is that the whole world now knows that Ava has the power to heal people and all of the consequences that come from that. My problem is HOW DID ANYONE ELSE KNOW??? I even went back and re-read this section, thinking maybe the hole was big enough for the crowd to see what had happened, maybe someone made a video, something. But no, the only one who saw was her father; he was the only one who knew what had happened. We are not explicitly told that he was the one who told everyone but WHY WOULD HE??? The little blip in the story threw the rest of the plot off for me and it never really recovered.

I'm surprised that of all the people who read this book before it was published, no one had an issue with the area that I did. I think I'll probably read Mr. Mott's next book but I wish there had more time spent on this one.
Profile Image for Angigames.
1,270 reviews
July 13, 2017
Che magone! In questo momento mi è difficile inghiottire, ho un peso allo stomaco e, a stento, riesco a trattenere le lacrime…
Jason Mott mi ha regalato qualcosa di unico, una storia speciale, che insegna e apre nuovi confini. È una riflessione profonda e sentita sulla bellezza, le difficoltà della vita. Sulla forza straordinaria dell’amore, sul sacrificio, sulle scelte difficili e laceranti che durante l’esistenza siamo costretti a prendere. È un bellissimo libro di formazione, profondo e poetico, un esempio di scrittura eccellente ed estremamente evocativa, potente, bella. L’autore mi ha dato il colpo di grazia scegliendo come protagonisti due ragazzini, amici da sempre, con tutta una vita davanti, con un futuro da costruire e un giovane amore da coltivare. Un cammino luminoso, fatto di sogni, speranze e possibilità.
Invece no. Il destino è in agguato e Ava, la straordinaria protagonista, scoprirà di poter guarire le persone. Dono? Miracolo? Nessuno lo sa. Per Ava, però, ogni guarigione è un dolore, è un pezzo di se che se ne va, non è vita, è sangue e gelo. E la piccola Ava dall’alto dei suoi 13 anni, capirà che non sempre gli adulti fanno scelte sagge, anche se in buona fede. Ava sceglie, sceglie per se, sceglie col cuore e decide di utilizzare il dono che la sta prosciugando per salvare le persone che ama di più…
Un libro bellissimo, sulle responsabilità, che parla di scelte, senso di colpa, ma anche di equilibro, fragilità e responsabilità. Ogni gesto che la piccola Ava compie è un gesto per l’Altro. Un gesto d’amore.
Ho la sensazione che il cuore mi sia stato strappato dal petto… e, ovviamente, ho finito l’ennesimo pacco di fazzoletti!
Questi autori sadici! GRRR!!!
Profile Image for Lisa B..
1,296 reviews6 followers
October 19, 2014
My Thoughts

Thirteen year old Ava is a healer. The only problem is, each time she heals someone, it takes a great toll on her physically. As a result of using her “gift” she is constantly cold and losing weight. Sometimes she is unconscious for several days.

This story brought up an interesting ethical dilemma. Should Ava be forced to use her gift, even if it brings her harm? If your loved one was sick and dying, would healing them at the expense of another matter?

I thought this was an interesting story line - simply told yet very thought provoking. The author let’s us in on each character’s inner thinking - how they feel about Ava’s gift and how it should or shouldn’t be used. It was hard not to worry about young Ava. She wants to help the people she loves, but she also understands the harm it will bring her.

This is the second book by Jason Mott and I am fortunate to have read both. He writes with heart and tells unique stories. I look forward to more stories from this very talented writer.

My thanks to Harlequin, via Netgalley, for allowing me to win this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Profile Image for Brett Benner.
500 reviews94 followers
November 5, 2014
What a disappointment. After being surprised and quite moved by Mott's first book, 'The Returned' I was anxious to see what the author would do on his second. Sadly, what starts with a promising premise, for me dissolved into a somewhat sappy Hallmark movie that retreads some of his previous ideas about loss and grief, but this time through the hands of miracle worker Ava Campbell who after an air show accident saves the life of her best friend Wash. The books strongest suit is the budding love story between the two thirteen year old kids, which is also my beef with the novel, which is that if you remove some objectionable language this feels on par with many young adult books on the market today. That's fine if it's marketed for that audience, but Mott has loftier themes at play here, and including a collection of other unforgettable characters with their own crosses to bear, add up to a novel that just doesn't carry any of the emotional or dramatic resonance of his first book.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
135 reviews6 followers
July 10, 2018
I picked this book up at Chapters from a ‘Buy 3 for $10’ sale. I had no idea how it would be, but the blurb on the back drew me in. I figured it would be an entertaining beach read...

Now that I finished this book in a short 3 days, I cannot imagine why this book was so cheap. It was phenomenal. It should have been on the best-sellers rack!

Jason Mott is a writer I will definitley be looking for in the future. His writing is deep, thorough, descriptive, and flows beautifully. The story of Ava and her unique gift is one that was unexpected to me. It went into the “what ifs” of situations we day-dream about, and the plot played out in such a great unique way. This book is a heart-wrenching story that makes you truly assess the reactions of human nature, the pros and cons of the supernatural, and the result of what might happen if something fantastical truly did happen.

I highly reccomend this book, if not for the story, for the beautiful writing alone!
Profile Image for Jassi.
124 reviews
July 22, 2021
3,5 Sterne

Leider hat mich die Geschichte nicht ganz so packen können wie erhofft.
Profile Image for Vivian.
Author 2 books137 followers
October 1, 2014
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.
Profile Image for Kathleen Kelly.
1,349 reviews116 followers
August 20, 2014
After reading The Returned by Jason Mott, I was thrilled to get an advanced copy of The Wonder of All Things, his latest novel. Jason Mott is a fantastic storyteller and although I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending of The Returned (mainly because it just ended and it didn’t seem like there was an explanation), I understand that was most likely his point. Not everything in life has a perfect ending or explanation. Which leads me to discussing his latest book in which the storyline revolves around an incident and a phenomenon with no explanation.

A synopsis of The Wonder of All Things from Goodreads is as follows:

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, killing and injuring dozens. But when 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 miraculously disappear. Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight. People from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to glimpse the wonder of a miracle. But Ava's unusual ability comes at a great cost, her own health, and as she grows weaker with each healing, Ava begins searching for an escape. Wash agrees to help Ava, but little does she know he has his own secret he's been harboring, and soon Ava finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to save the one she loves most.

Just like his first novel, I enjoyed reading this one as well. The book is well written and less confusing than his other one, although it does jump around from present to past experiences, but for a good reason which the reader discovers at the end. The best part of this novel was seeing the friendship between Ava and Wash, and Ava and her family’s struggle with her “gift”. We all have best friends and families and sometimes we don’t know what’s best for us and neither do the people in our lives. Any reader will be able to relate to this family.

The most frustrating part of this book is there are certain things for which we readers don’t get an explanation. It’s human nature to expect explanations for everything, even things we don’t understand; hence the frustration. But I respect the fact that Jason Mott does not end his stories with traditional endings. Sometimes certain things in life just end with no explanation and we are left wondering how to make sense of it all.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who is a Jason Mott fan, or simply for anyone who appreciates a unique, well told story that leaves you confused and searching for an explanation, but ultimately satisfied at the end.
Profile Image for Eileen.
Author 2 books158 followers
September 25, 2018
A bittersweet tale of magical realism, a genre dear to my heart: a thirteen-year-old girl discovers (along with the rest of the world) that she has magical healing powers. The writing is quite lyrical; not surprising since Jason Mott is an accomplished poet as well as a novelist. I highly recommend to anyone wishing to escape into a "what if?" world for a while.
Profile Image for Mary Haney.
35 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2014
It's an old concept.

In a great crowd, a woman came to Jesus for healing and just touched the hem of his garment. Instantly, he asked, "Who touched me?" His disciples gave him the You've got to be kidding look, but he insisted, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."

That simple idea has enlivened fiction novels in many forms, and in The Wonder Of All Things by Jason Mott, Ava, a thirteen year old girl with the gift of healing, finds her own life force growing weaker and weaker as the gift drains her vitality. She must give of her own life to redeem the lives of others and she is no savior; she is mortal. This is the key truth of the novel upon which all else hangs.

Her gift is discovered when an airplane crashes during an air show and she is trapped with her best friend, Wash, who is severely injured. Distraught over his injury, she pulls a wicked piece of steel from his body and presses her hands over the wound. Miraculously, he is healed and she loses consciousness, a result unremarked given the circumstances. But the closing of his wound is the opening of another, a great maw from which pours hundreds of needy souls hungry for her healing touch.

The internet spreads the word of this miracle and her small town is inundated with reporters, preachers, the sick and infirm, all wanting something from her, but it is her love that chooses the recipients who will drain the last of life from her. In an ending reminiscent of the movie Far and Away , it is love that brings her home.

There is suspense here, built from the realization that this whole affair cannot end well. There is family conflict, and there are times when the reader would like to shake Ava when her treatment of her pregnant stepmother is self-centered and insolent. There is young love blossoming from childhood friendships. There are old tragedies and sorrows for the central characters, Ava, her father and stepmother, Wash, his father and grandmother. The reader can not escape the inflexible trajectory of life toward death, and it is this inexorable pull that creates the tension in the story. We see how this is going to end.

I could not put this one down. I cooked supper with the book propped up on the cabinet, read through the meal, and stayed up late to finish. The writing pulls the reader in, even as the ending comes closer and the descent accelerates. But, like the miracle gift itself, the ending leaves the reader to choose an interpretation, and accept or reject the possibilities presented.

Though I'm not a fan of the paranormal, I truly enjoyed this book.

Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,389 reviews51 followers
January 18, 2015
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

During a local festival of some sorts a small plane crashes into the people watching the show. In the events that follow, thirteen year old Ava is seen when she miraculously heals the wounds of her best friend Wash. The video spreads around the internet like wildfire. Although it might seem wonderful at first, the healing doesn't come without a price. Ava's own body is wasting away and everyone - for their own interests - wants her to do more, more, more...

Interesting novel. The questions it raised are no easy ones and they don't have simple - if any - answers. Is it selfish to keep Ava's powers from the rest of the world, even when using them is killing her? If they should be used, who should she help them? For it's more than obvious she can't save them all. In the end no answers are given, but the book focuses mostly on people wanting help from Ava, even when it's her close family (who has their own understandable reasons but also know it's killing Ava). (I did however wonder where the people from the other site were, I mean there must have been people who're against doing this to a child (social services?). Or perhaps an important person like a president requesting help, someone who has more power to push someone into doing something than the good old guild-trap. I wonder how the characters would have solved something like that, it would force them in taking decisions more).

It reminded me of Jason Mott's first novel, The Returned, as it features another thing people might wish for, but that growing over their heads very soon and turning in a disaster instead. The writing was fast and easy to read. I thought Ava and Wash's relationship was cute.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Karen.
50 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2015
If I hadn't started reading this book at 10pm, it would have been a one-sitting read; as it is, I got halfway last night and have gotten nothing accomplished today except finishing it. That said, if I had made it through one more chapter last night, I would have just had to stay up till dawn.

Macon Campbell is the sheriff of a dying Southern town, remarried widower and husband to Carmen who is extremely pregnant and desperately trying to form the family she couldn't hold on to with her first marriage, and father of thirteen year old Ava. Disaster strikes in the first few paragraphs of the first chapter when a show plane comes crashing down on the annual Fall Festival and traps Ava and her best friend Wash beneath the remains of the now collapsed grain silo. Wash is badly hurt and likely dying, and when she tells her friend she has to stop the bleeding, she does more than staunch the flow of blood pouring out of the wound in his side: she heals him and the "miracle" is seen by on-lookers and captured on cell phone cameras.

This isn't a story about an angel, sorceress, alien, or mutant; it's not a sweeping epic on the day the world changed. It's the story of a Southern family trying to make things work. Of course, there are questions of private rights of public figures, religion, and money, but it's mostly a story about what love does to us and what equally terrible and wonderful things it can make us do.
Profile Image for Donna Parker.
337 reviews13 followers
November 7, 2014
I started reading The Wonder of all Things because I had read The Returned, now adapted as a TV series, ABC’s Resurrection which got me hooked last season and yes, I’m still watching.
As I started reading this latest book I knew very quickly I may not like the ending, so it is with some books. But I read on, partly because I had borrowed the digital copy from Netgalley.com for the low price of an honest review and mostly, because I wanted to see how it ended, even if that meant tears.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, or perhaps I just made the association, but in the first couple of paragraphs Mott mentions the setting, the town of Stone Temple and about pilots…Stone Temple Pilots, if anyone likes the band they know what I’m saying. Interesting.
Without spoilers this novel is about healing, figuratively and literally and about the price we pay in society for wanting to know everything. We ride a range of emotions from grief to horror to fear to joy to anger…to wonder. It’s so easy to forget that life really is about the impossible, just life itself.
Reading it I couldn’t help but think Jason Mott enjoyed Stephen King’s The Green Mile, a lot, as I could feel many similarities in the story and the underlying emotion in this tale.
We want so much for people to fix and be fixed, that sometimes we forget so much of life is broken, perhaps for a reason.
Profile Image for Stacey.
195 reviews26 followers
October 16, 2014
I think what I liked most about this book was the questions it raised. Can you (should you) demand that someone help another when the cost is devastating? How do you decide who gets help if the "resources" are limited? Can a person be totally altruistic without that little voice in the back of their mind saying, "What's in it for me?"

The storyline is built on the foundation of relationships - Ava and her father, Macon; Ava and her stepmother, Carmen; Ava and her late mother, Heather; Isaiah and his brother, Sam; and my personal favorite, Ava and her best friend, Wash. Their relationship is so tender and innocent (they're both only 13), and yet also wise.

One of the things I relish so much about Mott's writing is his willingness to leave questions unanswered. It gives his readers the opportunity to hash things out for themselves - either singly or in groups. This would be a great selection for a book group, and I know I'll be recommending it to a number of my friends.
Profile Image for Vicki.
234 reviews57 followers
July 6, 2016
In The Wonder of All Things, author Jason Mott reflects on what happens to people when the miraculous occurs. When a tragedy occurs in the small town of Stone Temple, North Carolina, a young girl named Ava is able to heal her mortally injured friend, Wash. Neither Ava nor her family understand her ability to heal. They do, however, recognize that each time she heals someone it takes her longer and longer to recover. Meanwhile, the world clamors for more miracles no matter what the cost. The is a fascinating and thought-provoking exploration of the cost of miracles and what one "owes" to society. Highly recommended.

[Re-read Dec. 2015 for book club.]
Profile Image for Craig Allen.
291 reviews18 followers
October 5, 2014
I very much enjoyed this wonderfully written story about a young girl that can heal sick people and the media/religious attention it brings on her and the small town she lives in as others flock to benefit from her gift. Just like "The Returned", this book is so well written and I had trouble putting it down. I enjoyed the ending a lot as well. I had about 3 different ideas of how it might wrap up and I can only say I "sort of" called it--but not really. I loved this one a lot.
Profile Image for Jodi.
158 reviews8 followers
October 11, 2014
Crying. Will. Happen. As with the Returned, Mott deals with a miracle gone wrong and the world beating a path to an unprepared small town's door. When Ava heals her best friend Wash, she and her family learn that everyone else in the world desperately wants and needs miracles, too. A beautiful novel about how hope is universal--and so is ruining it.
265 reviews1 follower
October 9, 2014
Honestly I would give this zero stars if that was a rating option. This was one of the worst books I have ever read in my life, it was dull, meandering, and was poorly, POORLY written. Great premise, horrible execution. Save yourself the hours, don't read it.
Profile Image for RoseMary Achey.
1,374 reviews
November 7, 2014
This is both a beautifully written and heartbreakingly sad book. The premise is that a young girl has the power to cure the very sick but at a great personal cost. Author Jason Mott certainly has a talent with his craft.
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