Annike: Hey guys, I am back here again with another review on a young adult contemporary book called Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland. I had been seeing this book around a bit and in bookstores but I only actually started reading it when I got it as an ibook and while it took me a little while to get through it was definitely enjoyable. Let’s go!
Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.
Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.
So I know this book is quite popular and a lot of my friends on Goodreads have given it really great scores. However, to me I thought this book was a little bit underwhelming and didn’t stand out particularly. I do really want to draw attention to the beautiful writing and language from Krystal Sutherland because that was easily my favourite thing about the book.
As a little bit of background information. The story revolves around Henry Page who is a teenage boy struggling with his first major crush on Grace Town – the new girl at school. Henry was a great character with a love of reading and writing. I don’t generally read books with male protagonists but this one was really good and Henry’s voice was hard not to love. He was witty and smart, a hopeless romantic and just an overall really good guy with a bunch of amazing friends.
On from that, I think another one of my favourite parts about this book was actually the many great supporting characters. Henry’s friends were really great and Lola was definitely a breath of fresh air when it comes to best friends. She was smart and confident but at the same time she also was not up for dealing with any BS from Henry and was a very stubborn in that retrospect. Then there were Henry’s parents who were hands down my most favourite parents. I loved the way they joked around and were just so funny when it came to their son and daughter. They weren’t perfect as individuals or even with one another, but even with these flaws they were really excellent characters who definitely need to be more widely represented when it comes to young adult fiction.
I guess I’m not too sure about how I felt about Grace in this book. When I think about it, I find this book very similar to When We Collided by Emery Lord. In both of these books I really fell in love with the male narrator and felt that the female love interest – with all her problems – often strung around the male character, in this case Henry. I couldn’t really see Grace’s appeal all that much but I did find great sadness in her situation and it was definitely something that brought deepness and mystery to the story.
Overall, I really did like this book and upon reflecting on it I feel like I should be giving it more credit than I have been. However, it fell a tiny bit flat and dragged on a little bit. I found it quite slow moving as contemporary novels generally are but the characters and the writing was really well put together so definitely one I would recommend. On that note, I really am yet to see a negative review on this book so it’s definitely a good young adult read to pick up. Krystal Sutherland is truly a great author and I hope to be seeing some more of her stuff sometime soon.