Book Review: Our Chemical Hearts

When the news came out that this book was being adapted into a movie, I knew my review had to be up, eventually. I’m trying to make it a habit where I read the book before the adaptation and for once, I can watch the movie in peace because I’ve read this last year already!

Our Chemical Hearts is about the new girl, Grace Town, her walking stick and boyish clothes makes Henry Page curious, especially when she’s into writing—just like him. As the editors of the school newspaper, Henry is soon warped into Grace’s life and why she’s so withdrawn from the world. As he finds out, he must decide whether to accept Grace as she is or move on…

"I let her draw all the breath from my lips to save herself." - page 145

I tried to summarise with no spoilers. When I read this book, I recently added it to my ‘To Be Read List’ and I was still figuring out what I like to read. I borrowed it from the library, not only for its intriguing blurb but cute cover too!

I haven’t read other books by Krystal Sutherland but while reading this one; it felt like I read another version of John Green. The dramatic quotes and metaphors, as touching and beautiful as they were—sometimes they weren’t necessary. Although, it kept me curious every chapter as it didn’t reveal much yet made me turn the page to read more. Even if the chapters were long.

"When you hear that the milky way is made up of 400 billion stars, and you think "Oh shit, that's pretty big" but your puny brain will never really be able to comprehend how gigantic it is because we were built too small. That's what it felt like." - page 65

I liked the flow of the book; the plot was interesting and the emotions behind it. It had a good ending that wasn’t that cliche. Sutherland introduced us to Henry’s life and just an event so to say, that takes place. Once he’s gone over that obstacle or experienced it, we’re taken out but left with a satisfied yet understanding ending. As a writer, I found it as closure. The characters and their feelings wouldn’t change that much in a book. It takes time, and that’s what made Grace so realistic.

"Grace Town is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma." - Henry, page 70

Yet, I wasn’t a fan of the characters in the book. I liked the plot more than the characters. First, our lovely writer, Henry Page. Personality wise, he’s okay at the start but ended up needy and made it all about it. I know it becomes hard when you have a crush on someone and just want to be with them but Henry seemed like he could ‘fix’ Grace. It’s like he was obsessed with her. Yet in the beginning he described her as a heroin junkie, which by far is the worst description ever. Come on Henry, you’re a writer… think better. Then there’s Murray, a walking and living Australian stereotype which annoyed me. Lola felt queer-bating because she was just there. Henry’s sister who made little sense at all. Someone who went to Yale yet was suspended and caused ructions in high school? That doesn’t make sense at all. Even Henry’s parents are too ‘chilled’ to be actual parents. They let their kids drink and stay out. The author tried too hard to make her characters different. A few would work but all of them was too overwhelming. Grace Town was realistic to me but at one time I was like ‘Come on! Just show us already!’ Yet from Henry’s perspective he’s clueless compared to the readers who would’ve figured it out by the little clues already.

"Thinking of Grace Town and how, if people really were assembled from pieces of the universe, her soul was made of stardust and chaos." - page 113

I want to discuss the theme of this book but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. It was realistic and what made it better was that we saw it through a teenager’s perspective. It takes time and everyone goes through it differently, whether there’s physical or mental change… it’s something that isn’t overcome with overnight. It could take years or never to accept what’s happened, that’s why I’m happy with the ending. There’s more to Henry and Grace’s lives but that’s all we get. Unless there’s a sequel ;)

"I didn't want to say anything to the kid, but I thought as we watched her, that the more he breathed her in, the sicker and sicker he'd get." - Murray, page 126

I wouldn’t know how to rate this… there're some things I love while others I hate. Yet for the plot and the message it sent, I’ll give MCH a rating of three stars. A knock-off of John Green but still good.

#bookcover #prettycovers #reviewer #reader #paperback #characters #romance #contemporary #youngadult #grief #queer #plot #LGBTQIA

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Perth WA 6000, Australia