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Our Chemical Hearts ~ Krystal Sutherland

February 14, 2018

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Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
320 pages
ISBN: 9780399546563
Source: Barnes and Noble

Wow.

I know I am sort of the target audience for the tough-on-your-feelings stories but even I was blown away by Our Chemical Hearts.

The book blurb doesn’t do the story justice.

What is proposed as a “first love” story, pans out to be way more than that.

High school senior, Henry Page, starts off the year having never been in a relationship, much less in love. At the start of the year, he manages to snag the coveted school paper editor position which he ends up sharing with new girl, Grace Town.

Grace isn’t quirky in a, to quote the book verbatim, “manic pixie dream girl” sort of way but in a sad, dark, really heavy past sort of way. As her story unfolds, it’s pretty clear that Grace is anything but normal teen snark and very unexpected first relationship on many accounts.

Of course, my inner therapist was practically standing in applause for the way depression, grief, and healing were handled. You all know that I roll my eyes at the lack of effect usually shown in literature following traumatic events or the rapid regeneration after the fact. This pulled no punches on those fronts.

As it stands, this is definitely one of the books that will live on my shelf once I go into practice and probably be handed to many friends down the road.
Sutherland’s writing and teen voice, in my subjective opinion, trumps Green, Johnson, and other contemporary YA writers. She’s funny and honest and just seems to understand human emotions. Unfortunately, this was her debut so as much as I want to run out and buy everything she’s ever written, this is it, for the moment.

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