Our Chemical Hearts is an insightful young adult novel, written from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Henry, a self-described ‘weird lanky kid’. While in his final year at school he hasn’t had a girlfriend as such, and is not looking for one.
Then Grace Town starts at his school and they are appointed -co-editors of the school paper. She dresses in boys’ clothes, doesn’t seem to have high levels of hygiene, walks with a cane and it is clear that ‘a small part of her soul was cracked’, but Henry is attracted to her anyway.
He wants to know more about her, but she is a closed book. Gradually he discovers a bit about her, that makes her behaviour understandable. But she can’t give herself to him in the way he wants her to. He persists, despite her running hot and cold.
Krystal Sutherland writes beautifully about teenage love, devastating loss, guilt and unlikely choices. It questions whether we can really love someone when we are so broken, and if love itself breaks us, can we ever be repaired. Highly recommended for mature teenagers and adults.