Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on October 4th 2016
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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,
Ignoring the whole John Green/Rainbow Rowell comparison made in the synopsis, I went into Our Chemical Hearts not really knowing what to expect but with an open mind. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily like those comparisons because it can give people unrealistic hopes. That wasn’t the case with this one because I definitely think that fans of the two authors will enjoy this one though Krystal Sutherland brings her own flair to the story.
- Henry: Henry was a very mixed bag for me. He had his good parts and his bad but I honestly think that is why he is in the pros column. He was really well developed as a character. He’s not your typical boy. He’s very focused on school, worrying about getting into a good college, and becoming the editor of his school paper to help with that whole good college thing. He gets the editor position but it’s got a co-editor attached and that’s Grace. Grace isn’t really his idea (or many people’s) of a dream girl but Henry is very intrigued and quickly becomes quite enmeshed in her life. Grace has a lot of baggage and Henry finds himself wanting to know everything about Grace and wanting to basically help fix her. He was a little obsessed with Grace (to me) but you could tell his heart was in the right place so it’s easy to get past that.
- Realism: This is not your romantic, happy ever after, high school love story. Hell, I’m not even sure I’d call it a true love story because it focuses on so much more than that. The romantic feelings that Henry has for Grace were an important part of the story but not the focal point here. Grace and Henry both have their issues and maybe putting them together wasn’t the smartest idea but they were both able to help each other. I feel like Grace taught Henry a lot and not so much Henry teaching Grace. However, both Henry and Grace’s stories were really true to life and that’s what I loved about them.
- Grace: While I liked Grace, I didn’t feel like I really knew her. The hardest thing for me was only ever seeing Grace through Henry’s eyes. He didn’t always think great things about her and when he did, it was sometimes almost idealistic. I wanted to know more about Grace from Grace’s perspective. I feel like there was so much more to her character that I never really got to see. I just couldn’t see her as a fully formed character while only getting Henry’s thoughts on her.
I also kinda want to add the ending to the cons list but I’m not going to because I think it’s just my thoughts influencing it. I liked the ending, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not what I had hoped for. I think it’s a great ending and such a realistic one but boy was that not what I wanted.
Overall, Our Chemical Hearts (I keep wanting to say My Chemical Heart. I’ve got My Chemical Romance on the brain.) is one that I think will really shock readers and make them think. Like I said before, Rainbow Rowell/John Green fans will find this one right up their alley but I just love what Krystal Sutherland brought to the table. I can’t wait to see what this Aussie author does next.
Be prepared for a little of this or maybe a lot!
What others are saying about Our Chemical Hearts:
Mollie The Reader’s review: “Overall, Our Chemical Hearts was a unique, fast paced and quirky read, I would really recommend this to those that love John Green (to be honest its heaps better than his books oOPS DONT HURT ME) and also to those that love quirky characters with a really deep and meaningful plot.”
The Innocent Smiley’s review: “Although I do believe that fans of John Green would love this, it’s the opposite of a John Green novel. It is everything you expect it not to be.”
While I could go on and on, I really don’t want to overwhelm you, so have just a couple favorite quotes from me! I wanted to include Henry’s humor since Our Chemical Hearts really isn’t quite as heavy as I made it out to be but I couldn’t pass up the quote about love either. It’s so gorgeous!
(All quotes are from the ARC and could differ slightly in final versions.)
“You could say I looked something like a male Summer Glau crossed with Severus Snape. Subtract the hook nose, add in some dimples, and hey presto: the perfect recipe for one Henry Issac Page.”
“You know I’ve made it through seventeen years of my life without being peer pressured? My parents warned me about it in elementary school, but I never experienced it. I was starting to believe it was a myth. And, like, it’s a really accurate description of what it is. I’m feeling very pressured by my peer right now.”
“The greatest love story ever told doesn’t have to be about two people who spent their whole lives together. It might be about a love that lasted two weeks or two months or two years, but burned brighter and hotter and more brilliantly than any other love before or after. Don’t mourn a failed love; there’s no such thing. All love is equal in the brain.”