Title: Our Chemical Hearts
Author: Krystal Sudherland
Genre: YA 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.
This story slowly peeled off layers of my heart and squeezed the life out of it. I read this book the day before my electrical exam (because that’s what any rational person would do, right?) and I had so much to study but I JUST COULDN’T STOP READING. My friend was texting me and telling me to study but I’m sending her messages of how my heart is breaking and she said I’m hopeless. I was. Oh, I was.
Let’s talk about the characters first:
- Henry Page has this ideal of love, and it necessarily isn’t completely impossible but that kind of imagination doesn’t co-relate with reality. Plus, him falling in love with Grace was completely the opposite of everything he expected. He’s a writer, and has worked very hard to be the editor of the school newspaper for two years.
- Grace has been through a tragedy and she lives in grief—no—she drowns in it. She’s this amazing writer who just can’t deal with life anymore and is like a ghost now.
- Henry’s friends Lola and Murray were so cool and their friendship is #goals. The three’s parents have become so used to finding others in their kid’s bedroom, they don’t even blink an eye at it anymore.
Henry: “He originally fell asleep at Lola’s. Possibly on the kitchen floor. Possibly with a kangaroo. Your son is a miscreant.”
Murray’s mom: “And that’s why we allow him to hang out with you a lot. Because you use words like miscreant in general conversation.”
- Sadie Page, Henry’s sister, is the BEST ever. She’s a badass, has been arrested for various things, has done everything illegal, and she’s a genius. The school always allowed her back in because they mostly didn’t want to dump their one shot at having a Nobel Prize-winning graduate, no matter how much trouble she was. She’s also an amazing sister, and is all the swag. I love her.
- Parents’ coolness award goes to Henry’s parents because OMG they’re just so cool!
Now.. the romance between Henry and Grace:
- The definition of screwed up.
- Literally, no other explanation required.
- I was pretty annoyed by their relationship growth in the beginning but I wasn’t really sure on making a decisive opinion because both the character’s personalities were totally unknown. Maybe people like that act like that?
She takes Henry on an adventure to an abandoned railway station filled with fish and then talks about the universe? Real people don’t do that.
Well said, Lola, well said.
- I’m not sure what else to say about their relationship without spoiling the whole thing.
I loved the book because it was so much more than just the love story between Henry and Grace. Because as much as they are the main focus, the other characters and relationships meant so much more to me. I give four stars not because I liked the romance (I didn’t) but because of how the story made me feel and to say that yes, it successfully broke me and left me without support.