Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Publishing on October 4th, 2016
ARC from Penguin First to Read
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*mild spoilers ahead
It’s always a risk when a book is advertised as being ‘for fans of.’ In the case of Our Chemical Hearts, it was touted as being for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. I’ve never read a book by Rainbow Rowell, but the one I’ve read by John Green I loved, so yeah. I went into this read with high expectations. Sadly, I was disappointed. To be fair, there were some great things about this book. Henry had a wonderful sense of humor, and I loved his close-knit group of buddies. They were always there for each other when one was feeling down or they simply needed some sense slapped into them, and they had a lot of fun together. I also really liked Henry’s older sister, Sadie. She was hilarious and I always love it when someone you don’t expect (or the teachers don’t expect,) go on to be successful. And I thought the co-editors of the yearbook was a great premise. But to be honest – it’s sort of the premise that never was.
Henry’s been waiting to be bitten by the lovebug, and when Grace comes along, he thinks he finally has been. I’m not sure where Henry’s attraction to Grace stemmed from, but it didn’t feel genuine. If I had to guess, my money would be on his desire to fall in love. Who he fell in love with wasn’t nearly as important to him that he did fall in love. I’m not sure he ever saw Grace for who she was or even, as Grace mentions, someone he wants her to be. I felt like he just saw her as someone who was there, and she just happened to have all of this emotional baggage with her. And look – I’m not saying what happened to Grace wasn’t horrific. It was. But I felt like Grace lead Henry on in an attempt to not be lonely, and it just didn’t sit right with me. They were both in the ‘relationship’ for the wrong reasons, and maybe if I’d felt anything genuine from Henry, I could have rolled with it. But I just didn’t. Grace was never very nice to him, and I couldn’t understand why he was grasping onto her. It was unhealthy and belittling all the way around. To top all of that off, we find out that Henry’s standard for relationships, his parents, has been a sham all along, and he never had an inkling.
Overall, Our Chemical Hearts was a miss for me. And I do wonder if I’d enjoyed it more if I’d gone in with different expectations.
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