Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

L is for Literary Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

June 10, 2020

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland ~ a Review

by Alison DeLuca

Weeks into quarantine I hit a reading slump. Our Chemical Hearts was loaded on my Kindle, but I felt like cooking/cleaning/disinfecting had taken over and left no energy for books.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

Ridiculous, right? But when I sat down to read, I usually ended up falling asleep. That all ended when I started Our Chemical Hearts.

cover of Our Chemical Hearts novel by Krystal Sutherland
I got the book because I'm awaiting the Prime movie in August. The short descriptions of theplot - boy falls in love with new girl who wears boys' clothes and uses a cane - sucked me in.

And when I started reading, the novel enthralled me. I'll admit I ignored dishes and mopping while reading yet another chapter.

Grace Town is a great character. Sutherland sets up a central mystery around Grace. Why does she use a cane? Why does she wear male clothing? What happened to her? And why does Henry Page, the main character, say this is "love story. Sort of" right at the beginning?

This YA book gripped me and wouldn't let go, the first new book to do so since March. The writing is smart and fresh, glittering with references to music and books and media. But there's also heartbreak and heartache and yearning, served up in a compulsive read.

Our Chemical Hearts is problematic in a few areas. While Grace is an amazing creation, Henry is a bit faceless. Perhaps the first person POV erases him a bit, since we don't get outsider perspective. Or, maybe the author wanted to serve up an Everyman, the kind of kid that exists in schools and neighborhoods across the country but rarely makes it into books as a main character. Certainly he's no Holden Caulfield.

Henry's best friends, Lola and Murray, are almost too perfect. I loved the friendship between the three of them, but I found Lola and Henry's backstory unbelievable. Plus Henry ditches his interests when he starts to meet Grace frequently. Homework and even the editor position he dreamed go by the wayside so Henry can spend time with Grace.

I'd complain about that if the genders were switched - and I'm not sure it works this way either. Sutherland seemed to want to set up a final scene that cutesy but doesn't truly work.

However, these quibbles don't take away from a really compelling read. If you're looking for a summertime book, Our Chemical Hearts is a great beach or poolside book. And don't forget to look for the movie coming in August!

Buy Our Chemical Hearts at Amazon

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today!. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. i love the cover and it does sound interesting. glad you enjoyed it
    sherry @ fundinmental