Review: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland


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John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

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.

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3.5/5 Stars 

Our Chemical Hearts is about the kind of love many people don’t experience until their much older, falling in love in the face of a great loss. Our Chemicals Hearts is quirky, romantic, and full of profound meaning. 

Love comes in all shapes and forms. Most of the time in YA, we’re faced with instalove, lust, friends to lovers, and shy guy/girl gets the popular. What makes Our Chemical Hearts so compelling is that it’s a romance built on loss. The main love interest suffered a terrible tragedy that robbed her of what she dreamed of as her happily ever after. Their love was a great love, the kind that you never get over. Our Chemical Hearts examines the fight to love someone who is in love with a ghost. We think of love as an all or nothing, not something measured in minutes or even seconds; Our Chemical Hearts challenges that idea. 

I lost count of how many times I highlighted and shared quotes from this book. The perspectives on life, love, and dealing with grief are beautifully written and hit hard with their bold simplicity. 

The cover is amazing. It’s unlike any other YA I’ve read. A little whimsical, a little mysterious, a lot gorgeous. 

Henry Page is unique in that he seems like an awkward nerd, but he’s funny, loud, and says the most outrageous things. His sarcasm game is on point. He’s 100%, completely himself and that is incredibly rare. Henry has no problem celebrating his weird collections, making Fight Club and Doctor Who references, and the pop culture references are insane. Henry is conflicted, confused, and drunk on the idea of love. His emotions are hazy, but powerful. The falling is slow and hits suddenly. It’s not pretty, it’s nowhere near easy, and yet, Henry knows what he wants and that dreamy feeling he gets with Grace, despite all the bad is enough to make him fight for her through her sadness.

Secondary characters are memorable and hilarious. From Henry’s parents, to his enigma of a sister, to his best friends-a pervy Australian named Murray and a feisty lesbian with mad design skills named Lola. They all have their own stories and bring a lightness to the plot. I loved each and every one of them. 

Grace Town is a contradiction. She’s nothing like she looks. She’s flighty, strange, and hides herself in her loss. At times she’s stunning, mesmerizing, and full of life, others she’s listless. Her grief consumes her and changes her-breaks her. It’s heartbreaking how this loss has changed her into something so lost, so beaten. And yet, she is, like the story references, a manic pixie dream girl. 

The chemistry is there. Grace and Henry just fit. Their interactions are a mix of bizarre, fun, and so awkward, but their conversations whip back and forth with an easy that mirrors a friendship build over years. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Thought provoking reading,

Jordan

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