We are very excited to share a guest post from Krystal today in celebration of Our Chemical Hearts, but before we do that, how about we tell you about the book?Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Penguin on October 4th 2016
Genres: Friendship, General, New Experience, Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
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.
5 Epic Tales of Heartbreak
I’m catastrophically bad at explaining what my book, OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS, is about, except to say that it centers on the terribly tragic and awful experience of falling in love for the first time. 10/10 do not recommend. (Falling in love, I mean. Not the book. I totally recommend the book.)
In honor of me (hopefully) ripping your still-beating heart out through your kneecaps with my tale of woe, here are some of my favorite, most epic and/or disastrous love stories of all time. OF ALL TIME.
(Spoiler alert, duh.)
- The Fault in Our Stars
Damn you John Green, you cruel, cruel man. When the story of Hazel and Augustus hit the shelves back in 2012, there was mass flooding in almost every country the world across due to all our collective tears. Kids dying of cancer and writing each other’s eulogies and Gus’s funeral and all the beautiful metaphors and… *sobs* God, can we all just agree that John Green’s next book should be happy? Okay? Okay.
- The Notebook
The tale of Noah and Ally will go down in (my personal) history as the story that finally thawed my cold, dead heart and taught me how to love. And then it took that newly warmed heart in its hands and CRUSHED IT INTO A PASTE. The Notebook ultimately serves as a reminder that even if you get your happily ever after, everybody still dies in the end.
- Brokeback Mountain
If there’s anything worse than having your heart broken, it’s not being allowed to love the person you want to in the first place. Brokeback Mountain is a sobering reminder of the insidious obstacles the LGBT community face – even today – when all they want is the same damn chance at love as everybody else. There’s a famous line near the end where Jack says to Ennis, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” We wish society would quit being such jerks.
The granddaddy of all gut-wrenchers. Even the addition of Celine Dion’s flute nightmare to the soundtrack couldn’t stop this from becoming the second most epic love story of all time. It’s got everything. A rich girl, a poor guy, a douchebag fiancé, and a murderous iceberg hell bent on destruction. No matter how many times you watch it, you’ll always believe that maybe, just maybe, Rose will scooch a little to the left on the frankly massive door she insists on lounging all over and let Jack climb out of the water.
- Your own
The above stories may stay with you, but they’ll only leave you raw and in pain for, like, a few days, maximum. Maybe a week for The Fault in Our Stars. *glares at John Green* Easily the most extravagant, disastrous and painful heartbreak you experience will be your own. It’ll give you wounds that’ll take months – sometimes years – to heal, and even then, the scars will be gnarly. Take it from me – it hurts like hell, but I promise it gets better. Just as you recovered from the above stories, you’ll mend after your own as well.
And, when you read about Henry and Grace in Our Chemical Hearts, you’ll recover when their tale is through too.
(Eventually. I’m, like, 90% sure.)
Henry has never really been in love… he’s never really been interested in the girls at his school instead he’s happy hanging out with his two best friends and worrying more about his grades and getting into college and FINALLY becoming the editor of his school paper than who he’ll be hooking up with or who’s party he’ll be attending.
When he finally gets called up to be editor, there’s a catch… he has been assigned a co-editor. It turns out the new girl, Grace Town, was an amazing writer at her old school, but when she arrives at Henry’s school she has little, to no care in the world of wanting to be a part of the paper much less anything else.
Grace isn’t what Henry would call his dream girl… she wears boys clothes that are obviously too big for her, she walks with a cane and has some very obvious baggage, but for some reason Henry just can’t seem to stay away. He’s intrigued by the mystery of her story, and he wants to know her more than he’s wanted to know about any other girl.
I think, like me, you’re going to find yourself both loving and hating these main characters. It’s almost hard for me to call this a romance … are there aspects of romance, definitely, but I feel like it’s more of a coming of age story that includes a bit of romance. It’s more a story of loss and dealing with guilt and sadness and how it’s different for everyone.
You’ll struggle to understand Grace. Her situation is sad and the way she acts at times is infuriating, and yet… it’s understandable. It’s coping, and you can’t fault someone for doing that in any fashion that works for them. But that kind of leaves you worrying about Henry and his feelings, which should probably be secondary to Grace, but Sutherland writes the story in a way that makes you struggle to pick sides, and that’s a talent.
Sutherland plays a bit with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope here, and it’s even brought up in the story so it’s definitely no secret… and it totally fits here. Grace is mostly a part of this story to help Henry realize a lot about himself and his feelings, which is a bit frustrating because she has a lot to add to the story. I kind of wish that Sutherland had delved a bit deeper into Grace’s mental health other than the surface bits we realize as the story is told.
I loved what Sutherland did with the ending. For as consumed as Henry was with Grace, the end is an honest and real way to wrap the story up and I think it’s something that as typical as it is in real life, doesn’t happen in YA books enough.
This book isn’t all heavy, there are some fun conversations about Harry Potter and a “Why You Should Date Me” power point that was pretty adorable, and Sutherland does a pretty good job of evening out the heavy sad parts with bits of levity.
If you’re looking for a character driven story with beautiful writing that’s at times funny and sweet, but also sad and frustrating then you’ll want to try Our Chemical Hearts. I’m excited to read whatever Sutherland writes next!
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.