Published by Harlequin on 30 September 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
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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.
Jason Mott introduces us to another fantastic idea. In The Returned he imagined a world where our dead come back to us. Now in The Wonder of All Things he explores the idea of a modern day miracle worker; a healer – and the ramifications that occur when the world comes knocking on this new ‘messiah’s’ door.
After an accident at an air show, thirteen-year-old Ava is caught on camera saving the life of her best friend, Wash. This unexplained miracle leads to thousands of people inundating the small town of Stone Temple – all hoping for a chance to see and possibly be healed by The Miracle Child. But healing takes a great toll on Ava: as she gives life, so hers drains away. With the thousands and thousands of people pleading for her help, who should Ava choose to save? And at what personal cost?
While the premise is promising, and the idea intriguing, I felt the story and writing fell a little flat. As with The Returned, I wasn’t invested enough with most of the characters (with the exception of Ava’s stepmother – Carmen). I also guessed the outcome of the story quite early on in the book – although that did not deter me. The premise wasn’t pushed far enough, I felt as though we just barely broke the surface of major moral dilemmas – social responsibility; selfishness; science vs religion and so on.
At its heart The Wonder of All Things is about the value of life and what motivates us. Is every life equally important? Or should one be sacrificed to save many? There are many ethical conundrums in this book, and it will beg the question: what would I do?