Review: Our Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland

“John Green meets Rainbow Rowell”, this is how Our Chemical Hearts is described in the blurb. As a big fan of both of these authors, I had to add this to my TBR, and I am forever grateful to the wonderful Reg for sending me this book as a part of our #SFATW exchange.

A BOY-MEETS-GIRL KIND OF STORY

💭

“…Tell me you believe that our lives are anything more than a ridiculous cascade of random chances.”

This story is about Henry, falling in love with the new girl at school, Grace. Messed-up hair, wearing boy clothes and walking with a cane, she is far from looking like this perfect Malibu Barbie, yet Henry sees something in her, behind this unusual appearance. As the story goes on, they get to know each other and develop a relationship, all in a very contemporary and character-driven book style. Meaning, there is not much of a plot, and this is not an action-packed story. This is a story about its characters, what they are going through and how they evolve and change through the story as they get to know each other and interact with each other.

A CHARACTER-DRIVEN BOOK

“We were characters out of a movie. We were thoroughly alive. And we were absolutely beautiful.”

I love character-driven stories in contemporaries, especially when they are done well, and Henry was for sure an unusual character to follow. He feels like a teenager from page one, which I was very grateful for, because how often do you read a book and the teenager’s voice doesn’t feel authentic? Henry’s a bit naive, sarcastic, he looks up people on Facebook, and overall had a typical teenager behavior, which gave this book a very realistic dimension. Also, he was far from being perfect, which I appreciated. The story is told from his point of view from beginning to end, and despite this realism, I felt a bit distanced from the story and couldn’t quite connect to it, which made me sad. I’m thinking it’s probably a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, though.
Unfortunately, I felt the same about the other characters in the story. Grace was an interesting character and there was definitely more to her than it appears to be, however I couldn’t quite feel connected or understand Henry’s feelings towards her – which annoys me, a lot, because it prevented me from rooting for their relationship a lot more. The side characters had a lot of potential, from the Australia best friend struggling with his own relationships to Henry’s best female friend, first kiss and more in love with girls. They ultimately felt a bit one-dimensional to me, which I regret a bit because I thought they were interesting and maybe with a bit more exploration of their relationship with Henry, I would have enjoyed them a lot more.

COMPLEX CHARACTERS

💭

“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 its own. The greatest love story ever told doesn’t have to be about two people who spent their whole lives 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 is no such thing. All love is equal in the brain.”

One thing I really appreciated about this story, is how it didn’t seem like the typical boy-meets-girl, instant-love kind of thing, manic pixie dream girl of sorts and everything. Maybe it seemed like it a bit, but as the story develops and we get to know the characters better, especially Grace and what’s really going on with her, it appears that there is definitely more to the story than it appears. It’s a story about love, for sure, but it’s also a story about tragedy and grief, about seeing people from the outside, and really seeing them from the inside. This book is compared to John Green’s, probably because of the themes and similarities to the Looking for Alaska (boy meets girls he barely knows and falls in love with her, but there is more to her than there seems to be); however I didn’t find myself relating as much to the characters in this story. Also, there is something about the writing of both Green’s and Rowell’s stories that always capture my attention, and some sentences made me think so much they are actually stuck on my room walls. Despite the fun, easy writing and tons of Harry Potter and pop culture references, I don’t see that happening with this book.

OVERALL

Despite my feelings towards Our Chemical Hearts, and a little reservations about both the characters and the writing, I can’t deny that this book was a good read. I had fun while I read it and if I didn’t fall in love with the characters, I still wanted to know what would happen next. If you enjoy contemporary and unusual love stories, I’d recommend Our Chemical Hearts warmly, because it was still an enjoyable read.

Final rating:  3 drops!

Did you read Our Chemical Hearts? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?

 Share your thoughts in comments!


Krystal Sutherland, Our Chemical Hearts,  Published by G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, October 4th 2016.

 goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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.

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

49 thoughts on “Review: Our Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland

  1. I haven’t read this book, but its cover is so pretty (lol) and I have it on my TBR. I didn’t give it much thought to be honest (SO MANY BOOKS EVERYWHERE) but it sounds like a sweet read! Sorry to hear that you weren’t able to connect with the characters as much, that can be so important to enjoy a book aha. Lovely review! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohh, a contemporary book described as John Green meets Rainbow Rowell? I’m definitely intrigued, and I haven’t actually read many contemporary books that are character focused but the ones I have read I’ve really enjoyed so maybe that will be the case with Our Chemical Hearts, which I do already have on my to-read list. It’s just a shame you didn’t really feel connected to either Henry or Grace, I guess with character driven stories that’s something that’s really needed.
    Still great review Marie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you’ll decide to read it, and love it more than I did! I thought it was still a good read even if I couldn’t connect too much with the characters, I had a great time reading it 🙂 Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve not read this one yet but I really want to. I’ve seen mixed reviews for it so I just want to read it to make up my own mind. I’m on such a contemporary kick at the minute as well so hopefully I get to it soon! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely review, Marie, and I’m glad that you found the book enjoyable to read despite its flaws! I actually got it out from the library a couple of times but never manage to actually read it – something keeps putting me off and it feels too… er, John Green-y for me. Like, it’s trying really hard to be quirky and different, if that makes sense. Did you get that feel reading the book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Oh I get your feeling SO much, I had the same one when I read it. At some moments, some passages, it felt like the author was trying so hard with pop culture references and Harry Potter and just, trying too hard to squeeze in things to make the whole story more relatable and “hip” or something, haha. I think that’s what made me lower my rating just as well.

      Like

      1. Totally understandable! I didn’t read far enough to get into the references, but tbh the premise for me is already somewhat flawed – I really dislike the whole “not like other girls” trope and the blurb already hints at that. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, even if it was not the magical read you were sold! 🙂 Sometimes it’s true, it’s a case if “it’s not me, it’s you” I’ve had it with a couple of books, and I blamed this for my hate for Carry On, haha. I’m glad you found interesting enough character development to enjoy Our Chemical Hearts. And YES for teens acting, looking, talking like teens!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, oh well…I haven’t even read Fangirl so I can’t talk about Carry ON, but I’m glad to hear not everyone is head over heels for this book haha. Thank you my sweechie!! ❤ ❤

      Like

  6. Glad to see you ended up enjoying this book overall even though you didn’t connect with the characters, Marie! I read this one pre-release and loved it. I don’t think I really connected with the characters either but I thoroughly enjoyed the story so that aspect didn’t overshadow it. I actually made my mom read it after me and she’s a ‘must have a happy, perfect ending’ type of reader so she was so mad at me LOL. But I think what I loved most about this book was how it ended. It was really realistic. Anyway! Great review as always! 😁💕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like you, I enjoyed this but didn’t love it. I thought the ending was realistic and I really liked Henry, but I just couldn’t fully connect to it. (I LOVED Henry’s best friends though). And I really wanted to like Grace, but she was just so annoying and she should have just told Henry about all the reasons they couldn’t work out instead of leading him on, you know? But I liked the awareness the book had of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, and how the whole book worked. *nods*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH I loved Henry’s best friends so much just as well, I wish they got more…page time, if I can put it that way? Haha.
      Yeah exactly, I kind of was okay with her, but couldn’t love her too much because of that..I wish she was just honest right from the beginning. Thank you so much, Shar! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really wanted to like this book, but it fell flat for me. It just seemed like it was copying a bunch of different books and it didn’t bring anything new to the genre. I found it predicable and didn’t rate it very high. Wish it had turned out better for me! 😒 Glad you liked it! I would highly suggest Love Letters to the Dead, The Beginning of Everything, or All the Bright Places if you like this. I think they’re better written, but that’s just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand your feeling about it – I quite felt like it was “trying too hard” at some moments to look like every other contemporary out there. I still enjoyed the read, but I understand where you come from 🙂 And thank you for all the suggestions! I read and LOVED All the bright places and The Beginning of Everything so much! I need to read Love Letters to the Dead now then 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, definitely! It’s very similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower as well. If you like eccentric girls, like Grace from this novel, you might like the main character from Love Letters to the Dead. I like eccentric girl characters lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! If you like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you’ll like Love Letters to the Dead. I’m just a big fan of eccentric characters, like Grace from Our Chemical Hearts. Those kinds of books always get me to pick up the book. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s