Our Chemical Hearts / Krystal Sutherland / 2016 / Penguin Books / ISBN 9780143573906 / 313 Pages / Young Adult
Henry Page has never been in love. The slo-mo, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been on the cards – at least not yet. Henry’s too busy trying to get into a semi-decent college and become editor of his school newspaper, a dream three years in the making. The rest of his spare time he spends with his best friends, Lola and Murray, playing video games and advising them on their own sordid love lives. Then he meets Grace Town, the elusive new girl in school, who wears oversized boys’ clothing, walks with a cane, rarely seems to shower, and is hiding crushing secrets. She’s hardly who Henry expected his dream girl to be, but when the two are chosen to edit the paper together, sparks fly. After all this time, Henry’s about to learn firsthand just how disastrous the road to first love can be – and that sometimes it’s the detours that end up mattering much more.
I have heard so many wonderful things about this book and love the cover, so when I found it at my local bookshop I grabbed it without even thinking about it. If you haven’t seen the cover, it’s the cool one with the blue fish swimming on the front and back. Don’t be fooled by the innocent cover though, because this book will hurt when you read it. Your heart will ache, you will feel some sort of pain and all while you won’t be able to put the book down for one minute.
Our Chemical Hearts is about a boy, Henry, focused on his school work, trying to make editor of the school newspaper, surrounded by his Australian friend and lesbian loving best friend. Together the three of them spend most of their time in Henry’s basement bedroom playing video games and talking. Then one day out of the blue a new girl arrives at their school, Grace and Henry is immediately attracted to her. As they fight their way to friendship and then some, Henry and Grace learn the ups and downs of relationships, friendship and the hurt that comes along with grief.
So much happens in this book. It is narrated by the main male character Henry throughout which is a new fresh perspective on a usual topic. The addition of an Australian best friend in an American based book, is spectacular as it brings in so many Aussie slang words, it’s a blast to read. There is Henry’s best friend who stole his first kiss and then turned into a lesbian. And then there is the saga of Grace, the new girl. She is a mystery alright. And there is no hint to her problems until the end of the book where the number of pages is dwindling.
There were a few unexpected thing in the story line of this book, but all of them were great shocks to the system, just as the story was going into a bit of a lull. The writing is great, the text messages within the story are awesome and fun to read and the whole ending isn’t what I was expecting, but great none the less.
If you like a good young adult story that pushes the boundaries and like to read something from a different perspective even if it might hurt to read it, than this is the perfect book for you.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 booky stars!
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