[679]: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

28186273 Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
G.P. Putnam’s Sons | October 4th, 2016
Source: Publisher | ARC Paperback
Young Adult Fiction | Contemporary
Rating 3 out of 5 Stars

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 himβ€”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 girlβ€”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.

It could’ve been so good; there were flashes of brilliance, sure. But they were quickly dulled by half-formed characters who deceptively sounded larger than life. Moreover, these characters easily fit in the pages of a John Green novel: quick-witted, obnoxiously smart however physically flawed. But the story took forever to come to life, and I wouldn’t have minded it if the book offered more.

Grace Town is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Truthfully, readers don’t really get to know Grace Town. Her past defined her as a character and we don’t see anything else but her visceral, all-encompassing grief. She didn’t apologize for not being able to give more of herself or her heart to Henry, and because Henry was so smitten, he didn’t ask for what he deserved. If you haven’t read this book, be warned that this is a disastrous kind of love story. Though, that’s hardly a spoiler since it said so on the back of the book.

On the other hand, Henry narrating the book might be the reason why we don’t get to know Grace. Grief and debilitating guilt are all we know about her. But it’s really tough to connect to a grieving character when we don’t their history. And that is what I struggled the most about Our Chemical Hearts. I think I spent most of the time waiting for the story to develop. The majority of the book focused on Henry and his inexplicable attraction to Grace. He was drawn by her enigma and the more she kept him at arm’s length, the harder it was for him to resist. Overall, this was not an insightful book about grief. I think it would be more effective if this was told in Grace’s perspective.

  • A shame you couldn’t connect to Grace, it is hard when you don’t get that characters perspective. Sounds like an interesting read though.

  • Lovely review Joy. <3 I'm glad you liked this one πŸ™‚ But ugh. So sorry it had tons of issues : I think that cover is so so gorgeous. But not really interested in the book, haha πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing. <3 Hugs.

  • I actually kind of loved the way this book gave us an unrealistic love story (since Henry put Grace on a pedestal she didn’t deserve and couldn’t live up to) and then made it realistic because of the way it all played out. It felt like reality to me— a lot more than a typical John Green novel does.

    • Sigh. I’m a happily-ever-after kind of girl, I guess. πŸ™‚

  • I think I liked this more than you, but I definitely agree that because Henry was narrating the whole thing, we didn’t end up knowing much about Grace. And yeah, definitely something you would see in a John Green novel.

    • I wish I did. It had all the trimmings of a Green novel.:/

  • Jazmen

    I keep seeing this book. I think I’ve seen it more than anything else, but I can’t seem to find myself interested in it. It doesn’t sound like a must read, even though it doesn’t sound terrible–either. Thanks for this review!

    • I thought it would’ve been a good contemporary and it definitely had its moments. I’m just sorry it didn’t come through.

  • I’ve been seeing this book a lot and I kind of like that minimalistic cover. But I feel that it’s not really something for me. Gotta pass on this one. But still, great review, Joy πŸ™‚

    • I love the cover, too.:) It just sucks it didn’t live up to the hype.

  • Thank you for your honest review. This is not the first time I am hearing that it could have been good but…

  • Oy, I can’t stand John Green so I will definitely pass on this one. Great review!

    • Hahaha! I’ve only read one book of his. I enjoyed Gus and Hazel. πŸ™‚ His other books leave a lot to be desired, however.

  • shootingstarsmag

    Thanks for your honest thoughts! I’m a bit mixed on this one, mainly because I keep hearing mixed things. hah


    • Well, I hope you’ll give it a try, anyway. You could enjoy it, too. πŸ™‚

  • Yup, definitely the JG similarities. The chick doesn’t sound bitchy though…

    • Lol. Mostly, she’s in her own world. I did feel for her most of the time, though.

  • Sucks that the book didn’t work out better for you. Come to think of it, a hard to relate to love interest makes me wary to try this one out now. I’m sure I’ll want to read it myself eventually but I’ll probably not jump to it too fast. Thanks for the review, Joy!

    • Yeah. I think there’s a lot to be enjoyed about this book but since the issue is about grief, I thought it fell short in that regard.

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    Oh, I hate when a book has so much potential and just falls short. :/ I’m sorry this was such a disappointing read, Joy, but thanks for taking one for the team–I’ll definitely be skipping this one, even though I am glad that you found aspects to recommend. Wonderful, thoughtful review, dear! I hope your next read is more rewarding!!

    • Thanks, Keertana. πŸ™‚ I love the thought that I took one for the team – as you have done so many a times for us as well.

  • Those fish looks weird, freaky

    • Lol. Especially when you know where the fish came from in the novel.

  • It’s disappointing to read a book with so much potential, but it falls short. I think the beauty of books and telling a story is having the opportunity to go into depth about a character. With women having way more issues with love than men, it seems like the author would’ve explored her more.

    • Yeah. I think Grace would’ve a lot more insights if grief is the topic the author wanted to tackle. As it was, I felt disconnected with her while I was reading this book. A second account of her struggle didn’t nearly give as much impact, to be honest.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Interesting. I wonder why the author made the decision to tell the story from Henry’s POV instead of Grace’s? Sorry this one didn’t end up being what you hoped! It makes it even worse when there are such strong moments, but then the whole doesn’t come together with the same brilliance.

    • Yeah. I think it would’ve made a greater impact had the readers know exactly the kind of mental and emotional state Grace was in.

  • kindlemom1

    Nothing worse than a book that has so much potential and it falls flat. So sorry this was a bit of a stinker for you.

    • A little bit. But it had its moments, too. πŸ™‚

  • Hmmm…yeah…the lack of characetr development would definitely make this a hard read for me too.

    • It’s a thorn on my side whenever I read a contemporary fiction. I always expect a well-evolved characterization because their stories create more impact in that way.

  • Yeah as soon as you compared the characters to John Green characters, I was out. It’s weird how this is supposed to be a story about grief but it’s told in the guy’s POV. It also doesn’t seem like I would enjoy Henry very much.
    I’ll skip!

    • Henry was a character that could’ve been as remarkable as any YA boys that made an impression on you. If he wasn’t so lax about demanding a bit more from Grace, I think he’d been well on his way to being a very likeable one. I did enjoy reading some aspects of his characterizations. I loved his relationship with his parents and his older sister. πŸ™‚

  • Well I guess this isn’t going to be one I run out and buy! Sorry it couldn’t have been better especially since you were trying to get four books done!

    • Perhaps a borrow from the Library would suffice. πŸ™‚

  • Eeh, I don’t think this is going to be a book for me. You lost me when you mentioned the characters sounding like those from a John Green novel. I’ve read two Green novels so far, and both of which I couldn’t like because of the plot, but mostly because of the characters. Which makes me think this just won’t be one for me πŸ™

    • I’ve only read TFiOS, so perhaps I’m being unfair when I assimilate Henry and Grace to ALL of J Green’s characters. I think I associated them in a way that Gus and Hazel are both smart and were always asking existential questions about life.