Sunday, 29 January 2017

BOOK CLUB: Our Chemical Hearts

During Christmas I entered a Twitter competition run by Hot Key Books and won a copy of Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland.

Our Chemical Hearts is set in a high school and follows Henry Page's senior year. He dreams of getting into college and becoming editor of the school newspaper and getting Mr Hotchkiss to give him a break. However all of that becomes a little skewed when Grace Town transfers into school. Grace is weird - she looks gaunt and ill and dresses in boys clothes but her writing ability precedes her and she has been asked to be joint editor with Henry this year. And so begins a year where love seems more prominent in Henry's life than ever. 

I quite enjoyed this novel - told from Henry's point of view the narrative is fast paced and witty. It also seems more realistic than most novels I have read where all the students have interaction and it isn't segregated strictly into cliques. Henry's friends and family also fall into the novel as supportive characters who want the best for him and Lola and Sadie in particular help him to strike balance into his life. 

On the other hand there were things that I couldn't gel with throughout this book. Grace's character was one that, despite what she had been through, I could not sympathise with. I feel like we barely got to know her as we only ever get Henry's perception of her and so we only ever hear good bits about her. Any 'bad Grace days' and brushed over so when she admits to Henry about her past (although it is easy to guess what has happened) you are left feeling a bit flat. Henry also started to grate on me a little bit with his obsessive need to be with Grace, it didn't feel healthy and left me a little uncomfortable sometimes. 

Krystal Sutherland's writing doesn't disappoint though. Her deep prose on the absolution of sin have stuck with me even though I have finished the novel and I look forward to her next book.

Overall I would say Our Chemical Hearts is a story of first loves, heartbreak and the survival of both that is told through characters you will both love and be frustrated by but nevertheless that doesn't detract from the story. 

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