The story begins at an air show in a small rural town in North Carolina. Ava, who is thirteen, and her friend Wash have climbed an old silo to watch the stunts and this is the exact spot where the airplane crashes. Now that would make for an interesting beginning to any story but the author adds a twist which is recorded on cell phone video and goes viral. Life makes a change, a huge change and the reader is right there, part of the experience, all the way.
Ava has pulled a steel rod out of Wash’s side, placed her hands on the wound and the flow of blood has stopped and the wound has healed. The Sheriff, Ava’s father, rescues the children from the fallen building and the video goes viral on the Internet. Ava is in a coma after the healing, Wash is studied and released from the hospital and thousands upon thousands of people wanting to see Ava descend on the small community.
Ava is tested and retested by doctors and others. Faith healers are wanting a piece of the action also. Ava just wants to go home and be in her mountain refuge away from all the people. Everyone wants something from her; something healed or cured. Ava wonders if she could have saved her mother from dying with her gifts of healing.
The ‘invasion of the town chapters’ of this story are surrounded by lovely “interlude” chapters with the back-story and adventures and events shared by Ava and her mother. This is definitely a story about being poor in the south – sacrifice and love. Wash’s early years are shared also as his father re-appears after disappearing when they were all in a car accident, that killed his mother. Wash has been living with his grandmother. Both teens have lost their mothers and yet have relationships with their fathers, which are strained because of the viral healing video.
The treatment of the doctors/experts and the religious folks is quite interesting in this story. The author plays with the reader’s expectations and the Southern experience. The manipulations and explanations are very similar but one comes in a lab coat and the other in a fine suit of cloth. Each experience of healing nearly kills Ava. She is quite powerful and understands that her “gift” also is killing her.
Ava knows what she must do and the story holds right to the dramatic ending and the reader can sigh a relief.
TLC Booktours sent me a Kindle copy of this story for review. I enjoyed the book very much and would recommend it as a good read. I would not have picked this book out for myself from the store shelf and I am happy that the tour sent THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS onto my reading list.
About Jason Mott
“JASON MOTT holds a BA in fiction and an MFA in poetry both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. In addition to the rare achievement of receiving starred reviews from all four of the top publishing industry magazines—Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews—The Returned was named a “People Pick” by People magazine, and was featured in Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, among others. Mott also appeared on numerous broadcast programs including NPR’s All Things Considered and Tell Me More, The Travis Smiley Show, the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Radio Show and many local television shows across the U.S. Mott lives in North Carolina. (from the TLC info page)”