Can Love Heal the Broken?

9780399546563Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, Putnam, $17.99 – on our shelves now

This startling young adult romance totally grips the reader from the start – and it’s a devastatingly brilliant, darkly romantic read.

There’s a line between being charmingly eccentric and genuinely eccentric and Grace Town is on the wrong side of that line. But, to his own surprise, that doesn’t stop Henry Page falling for her, hard. She turns his head and his priorities around, including his good grades and ambitions for the school newspaper.

However, it soon becomes clear, even to the besotted Henry, that Grace’s quirks come from a much deeper place than any urge to be different. Once beautiful, popular and happy, she is now scruffy, isolated and, whatever Henry does, clearly unhappy.

Henry wants to put this broken Grace back together. But what Henry wants and what Grace wants are two different things. And why is Grace so broken, anyway?

There are many YA novels about falling in love with another person who is damaged in some way, physically or mentally, but this novel is an outstanding example. What Grace has been through is gradually revealed, and the events and how she is processing them are absolutely heartbreaking. Poor Henry has no idea what he has got himself into.

Tragic and difficult on one level, Our Chemical Hearts is also darkly humorous, particularly in Henry’s interactions with his friends and even Grace, who, despite everything, has a nice line in black humor. Recommended for older young adults. Have the tissues ready…


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