Title: Our Chemical Hearts
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Publication Date: October 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
Our Chemical Hearts has been one of my most anticipated reads since it came out and I kind of knew that I was going to love it from the very beginning. This review focuses on the many reason I fell in love with Henry and Grace's story and why it matters! It's more common for me, as a reader, to enjoy the majority of Contemporary novels that I read, as opposed to other Genres, mainly because of how relatable they can be. In a more literal sense, if you will. The difference though between other Genres I enjoy reading - mostly Fantasy - is that it's kind of more difficult for me to be blown away by them. Hope that cleared things up and did not confuse you further!
The point of that little introduction was that, I was really blown away by how many feelings went through me while reading Our Chemical Hearts. Simultaneously might I add! The story line itself was heartbreaking and I have never related to a main character more than I related to Henry! I really wanted to mention this from the very beginning of this review, since it played a big part in how the story progressed and how much it managed to make me feel and experience while I was reading it! Everything was so vivid in my mind and the fact that I could relate to it, made the experience of reading this book even better! It's definitely not on the light side of Contemporary novels and I appreciated how the author didn't try to sugar coat things.
What really intrigued me from the very moment I started reading this book, was the fact that it's told entirely from Henry's perspective! How many Contemporaries told exclusively from the male main character's perspective have you actually read? NONE! That's right. One of the main reasons I was so fascinated by this novel and was extremely curious to see whether the difference would be noticeable. It really wasn't! I loved reading Our Chemical Hearts from Henry's point of view as much as I would have loved it if it had been written in Grace's point of view.
Henry was such a likable main character! I could perfectly understand his struggles and how intrigued he was as soon as he laid his eyes on Grace! I have a habit of been drawn to tortured and mysterious souls as well so, that made him even more relatable and I really felt for him throughout the novel! Grace was such an interesting character, even though she had her own demons to deal with and didn't know how to keep on living life itself anymore. Her circumstances made what happened even worse for her, which led to some poor choices and a lot of heartbreak. I fell like for her, being with Henry pierced the darkness of her soul a little bit and her moments with him, brought back what she'd thought she'd lost forever. It's okay for us to have our hearts broken and grief for the loss of those we loved more than ourselves. It's okay to even lose ourselves for some time, in order to pick up our pieces and reassemble them in the best way possible. Grace was basically the definition of grief and through Henry's feelings, we got a glimpse at her trying to piece herself back together. I'm a firm believe in things getting worse before they have a chance to get better. And they both prove that!
I also fell in love with the secondary characters! Krystal Sutherland has the uncanny ability to bring to life her characters and give them depth and dimension through her writing. Which was impeccable, by the way! They were the sort of people I would give anything to have in my life! Lola and Murray were caring, loyal and supportive through all of Henry's troubles and heartbreak. I'm still kind of envious of their friendship and the strong bond that tied them together throughout this whole novel! Not something you can actually find that easily nowadays!
In creating a character like Grace, Krystal Sutherland managed to convey an abundance of feelings and show us that grief is an integral part of life that should not be sugar coated. It's important to realize that, it's okay to live through things that change you and it's also okay to allow yourself to feel the pain of those changes but, not to let it entirely consume you. Our Chemical Hearts really moved me and I cannot recommend it enough! The characters had so much depth and I was really impressed with how three dimensional they became as the story progressed! They also felt extremely real and I could almost touch them through the pages of this wonderfully written book! Saying goodbye was really hard and my heart broke to pieces multiple times with the ups and downs that took place throughout the novel! I immensely enjoyed it and I'm so glad that I finally decided to pick it up, after so much time!
Until the next post,