Our Chemical Hearts
G.P Putnam’s Sons
October 4, 2016
Star Rating:4/5 stars
Why I Read: I read a really funny and hooking chapter sampler for the book.
Spoiler Rating: None outside of indicated spoiler parenthesis and some quotes
Our Chemical Hearts is Krystal Sutherland’s debut young adult book about first love. It was an interesting, thought provoking, and emotional read. Though I did have a few problems with it, I still thought it was a refreshing book.
Our Chemical Hearts follows seventeen year old Henry Page who has lived a pretty scandal free life. He has never gotten into that big of trouble, never broken the law, and never been in love. That was before Grace Town arrived at his school. Suddenly Henry is doing things he never thought that he would do with the help of Grace. He might also be falling in love with her even though she will never feel the same way about him.
Our Chemical Hearts was delightfully original. The characters, themes, plot, and end were so different from anything I have ever read before. (///Spoilers in Parenthesis: It was also nice to see the main character not end up with a love interest because she was not interested in him. There was a love triangle, but it was a reverse triangle where the love interest did not choose the main character.///) Another refreshing aspect of this story was that it was told through a male perspective instead of a female or dual perspective, which is done so often in young adult books. Something that many young adults don’t do that Our Chemical Hearts did was use and embrace pop culture references. The one problem I had originality wise had to do with the writing style. It was funny, but it reminded me way to much of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Becky Albertalli’s writing. I just wish that the author and a more unique writing style.
The characters in Our Chemical Hearts were all pretty much likable. I liked and rooted for Henry and his friends. Henry’s family was hilarious. I did not love Grace because of how much she seemed to use Henry (even though Henry knew she was using him. He really needed to stand up for himself). “Grace’s eyes flicked open slowly to find me staring at her. She looked momentarily confused, like she genuinely thought she wasn’t kissing Dom.” (p. 207). The problem I had with the entire cast of characters was how over the top they all were. Not one of the characters were that realistic because of how exaggerated they were (especially Henry’s best friends Lola and Murray).
Because of my deep love for it, I would like to discuss the theme of expectations in Our Chemical Hearts. Probably the most obvious example of this theme was Henry expecting Grace to recover and be a new and happier person. The theme of expectations was introduced on the first page when Henry talks about what he expects love to be like. “I always thought the moment you met the great love of your life would be more like the movies. Not exactly like the movies, obviously with the slow-mo and hair blowing…But at least I thought there would be something you know? A skipped beat of the heart.” (p. 1). A more subtler example was where all of Henry’s teachers expected him to be like his much older sister Sadie. The moral this theme provides was that your expectations of people and events are usually going to be wrong.
In Our Chemical Hearts, the pacing was nearly perfect. I was never bored while reading it. Even though it could be a heavy story, there were funny and lighthearted parts to balance out the sad ones.
Overall, Our Chemical Hearts was a wonderful, original, and thought provoking book with just a few flaws. I read it fairly quickly, and would definitely recommend it for anyone who thinks it sounds interesting. Have you read Our Chemical Hearts? What did you think of it? If you have not read it, are you interested in reading it? I would love to know.
Currently Reading: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer
Goodreads: Lucy’s Literature