Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

I am going to tell you right now, this is possibly one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read. You have been warned…

This book was sent to me for review by Hot Key Books.

From the blurb:

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 thirdTuesday 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.

Henry Page has always wanted to fall in love, and fantasised about the perfect girl, so he was a bit shocked to find himself becoming obsessed with Grace. Grace wears boys clothes, she has a limp, she smells slightly like dirty teenage boy, and seems to hate people. 

Henry is a bit gutted to find out that he will be co-editing the school paper with Grace, but finds himself convincing her to accept the role when she turns it down. Henry becomes intrigued by Grace; the more she pushes him away, the more he wants to get close to her.

He Facebook stalks her, and the girl in the photos online is completely different to the Grace he knows. As they become friends, Henry sees flashes of the old Grace, but there is something broken, something just below the surface stopping them from becoming the perfect couple Henry dreamed of being part of. 

This is, as I warned, a heartbreaking debut novel.  I love Henry and Grace’s in jokes – they give each other Russian nicknames for some reason- make references to lots of old films, and are generally adorable. You get the sense that there is something not right with Grace all the way through – she is holding herself back and acting generally strange.  

Henry’s friends are hilarious, especially his Australian best friend Murray, and his first kiss Lola, who came out almost immediately afterwards.  

This novel isn’t simply about first love, it explores friendship, sexuality, depression, and grief. It is a book I will read many times, and highly recommend it. Just be prepared to cry. 

Let me know what books you are reading in the last week of 2016 (eek). 

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx 

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