Saturday, 24 September 2016

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 4th of October 2016 

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.

What I Have to Say 

I like this new thing of taking the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope and turning it into a very sick girl who a boy has over-romaticised, leading to a relationship that inevitably crumbles leaving a disaster zone in it's wake. 

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) trope and the mentally ill girl who is magically made better by a boys love, have always been tropes that are problematic in YA. Having a boyfriend has never healed a girls health problems and girls aren't just mysterious, quirky toys for boys to date. So naturally having these books written in response to these tropes is fantastic. I especially like the use of Kintsugi, the Japanese art form of repairing things with gold as a metaphor for Henry's fascination with broken things and idolization of Grace. 

Alongside being an excellent response to these issues, Our Chemical Hearts was also a really great story. The characters, especially Henry's two friends, felt real and easy to relate to. They had great humour and it was fun to read. 


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