Genre: YA Contemporary
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Personal Rating: 3.75/5 stars
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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.
Spoilery Review by Yours Truly
I’m still not over Nuša’s-contemporary-phaze and this one sounded cool enough to pick it up, but to be honest, the cover was the biggest reason of why I did that. I mean, look how pretty it is. I did hesitate for a moment though because the summary itself says Our Chemical Hearts is a perfect book for people who are fans of John Green and I’m not in the mood for deaths. But you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
Our Chemical Hearts is one of those books where you put it down after reading it in one sitting because it’s so addicting (okay, I read it in 3 days and not in one sitting but let me be poetical) and you feel sad. But the good kind of sad, that is. I’m kinda fed up with ya contemporaries and their happily ever afters and always-and-forever poop. Dude, you’re 17, you don’t truly know what true love means, not really, not yet. So bless the Lord this book was not that – that gave it extra bonus points. It’s a story of first love and a first heartbreak and Sutherland portrayed the later very well.
”Love doesn’t need to last a lifetime for it to be real. You can’t judge the quality of a love by the length of time it lasts. Everything dies, love included. Sometimes it dies with a person, sometimes it dies on it own. The greatest love story ever told doesn’t have to be about two people who spent their whole live 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”
Funny characters and their way of interaction with one another with jokes and teasing and puns and to-write-on-my-wall-because-I’m-painitng-it-all-over-again-on-Christmas-break-anyways quotes made me like it so much. But there were moments when I just wanted to throw away my phone on which I’m reading because of Grace’s selfishness and Henry’s dumbness. By the end of the novel I prayed they won’t actually get together, it would ruin the whole book. Grace couldn’t let go of Dom, which is understandable, but she didn’t even try to and Henry was so blind and in love in an idea of a perfect Grace and that’s just unhealthy. They were both hurting each other, they were just too invested in their own feelings to notice it.
”I want to know real things about you. I want to know the sh*t stuff too.”
”There’s more beauty in mystery.”
”I don’t want you to be a mystery.”
”Yes, Henry. You do.”
Henry has never had the privilege to know what the word ‘love’ actually meant so when someday Grace walks in his life he thinks he found his soul mate and he thinks everything is going to go alright and there’s no one out there but her. He believed he could fix Grace and as though that feels like an ‘aww’ moment, it was kind of getting on my nerves. He was so focused on this new feeling of falling in love he didn’t notice that Grace had never meant to actually return the feelings. But other than his obsession with Grace he was a fun awkward teenager with an awesome taste for fandoms.
I did enjoy Grace for the first half though. I was all Henry-like and was obsessed with her mysteriousness. Also, yay, I’m not the only one who hasn’t read Harry Potter yet (soon, Maya, soon). But once the kissing came and with it the strange looks on Grace’s face afterwards as though she’d expected someone else to be there made me want to kinda hate her. I had to remind myself frequently she’s lost someone who had meant everything to her and it’s not even been a year and all that. But to be honest it was still somewhat interesting to read how Henry fell for her and she declined him at the end – that’s what can happen in real life too so I cope with it eventually. That whole John Green and death thing – yeah, I was 99% sure Grace would end her life at the end. That did not happen, of course, but still, what happened next? The ending was kind of in a rush and I really am interested of what became of her. Did she just disappear? What of her depression?
As for the side characters: Murray freaking Finch is everything. So is Henry’s sister, Sadie, but dude, Murray is my spirit animal. I laughed a lot throughout the entire book but Murray moments got to me the most. Puns + an Australian dude = perfection! I was a bit uncertain about La – at first I thought she was jealous of Grace and not trying to spare Henry the feelz. But who wouldn’t eventually fall in love with a feisty lesbian? And I totally loved Henry’s parents’ story.
”You don’t believe everything happens for a reason?”
Grace snorted. ”Look up at that, Henry. Look up at that honestly, and tell me you believe that our lives are anything more than a ridiculous cascade of random chances. A cloud of dust and gas forms our planet, a chemical reaction creates life, and then all of our cavemen ancestors live just long enough to bone each other before they die awful deaths. The universe is not the magical place people like to paint it as. It’s excruciatingly beautiful, but there’s no magic there, just science.”
To sum it up:
Until next time,