- Written by: Jason Mott
- Published by: MIRA, an imprint of Harlequin, September 30, 2014
- Length: 304 pages
- Source: Publisher for review consideration.
Summary: 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. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts: In this sophomore novel by Jason Mott we the readers are taken to a small North Caroline mountain town to get to know Ava and her special gift. As the tragedy of a plane crash is captured by onlookers with their cell phones and video cameras, some also witness what is called a miracle when Ava lays her hands on her best friend Wash’s wounds and heals them. It’s hard to keep a secret in this fast moving media driven world. Soon their small town is invaded by news crews, people looking to be healed and of course the religious faithful who see Ava as a healer who is supposed to heal all the sick and suffering.
Ava is a special thirteen year old. She lost her mother at a young age and while her father, the local law enforcement, has remarried Ava isn’t in love with her stepmother. Who she does love, in an innocent childlike way is her best friend Wash. He lives with his grandmother after he too lost his mother and his father fell apart, drinking and unable to keep a job. They became fast friends at age six and have remained inseparable all these years.
The book tells not only the story of what is happening now, but also the relationship Ava had with her mother. Her mother is portrayed as nearly mystical and teaching her daughter the beauty and wonder in nature of their nearby mountains. They shared a special relationship, and Ava’s mother knew of her daughter’s gift.
I loved Ava’s story, how she wanted to keep her small world the way it had always been, and how she sincerely wanted to help others, even though it was taking her own life from her. I detested the overtly manipulative religious figure the book introduces. The Pastor is a TV sensation and while I wanted to believe his intentions were good, he proved to be unreliable.
Jason Mott has taken yet another phenomena; this time healing and in his book The Returned it was loved ones returning from death, and he makes them seem plausible and yet each comes with consequences. The characters in this book are so flawed and damaged and yet loving and hopeful, it made me weep for each of them. Ava and Wash wanted so much to help each other, to give all they had it was beautiful.
I highly recommend The Wonder of All Things, it’s a book that will stay in my heart for years to come. Please visit Jason’s Mott’s website and follow him on twitter. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak in 2013, and he is a humble and brilliant author.