By Author / Illustrator
Romance & Relationships
Hot Key Books
Paperback / softback
A bittersweet story of friendship, first love and heartache, all rolled into one spellbinding tale. For fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart.
An Amazon Prime film of the book in 2020 starred Lili Reinhart. Henry Page, a hopeless romantic and film buff, is smitten as soon as Grace Town walks into his classroom. But Grace - who looks in need of a good bath, is dressed in guy's clothing, and walks with a cane - is unlike any leading lady he's ever obsessed over. And when Henry and Grace are both offered positions as editors of their high school newspaper, the mystery of Grace begins to captivate him. Why does she visit a graveyard every afternoon? What secret does she keep locked away in her bedroom? Above all, why is Grace Town so deeply sad? Henry is sure that he is the one to unlock her happiness. But Grace is capricious, changeable, infuriating, and, above all, damaged. Henry will need to be the strongest he has ever been to survive this particular love story.
I think the book was excellently written and the storyline was unique. I liked the format of the text messages against the formal chapters and I really enjoyed the mystery of Grace's character. Henry was an amazing narrator and I would recommend this book to students aged 14 and over. It made me smile and it made me sad but ultimately it truly entertained me.
Suggested Reading Age 14+
Henry Page is a good, but not brilliant, student in his last year at school. He's well-mannered, has buttered up the right teachers and aims to get into a good college. He lives with his cool parents who are laid-back, funny and totally in love with each other. He has two fantastic friends Murray and Lola; the trio always have each other's backs and are incredibly supportive.
Into this mix then steps the new girl, Grace Town. She's odd. She wears baggy boy's clothes, walks with a limp and a cane, often has unwashed hair and spends her afternoons in the cemetery. Henry and the mysterious Grace are selected as joint editors of the school newspaper and so end up spending lots of time together (though not much newspaper work gets done).
Henry slowly falls in love with this girl who he doesn't really know anything about. She has a car and lets him drive home from school each day, but then leaves her car at his house and walks off in the wrong direction. He is never asked into her house. They have some good times together, but whenever he starts to mention his feelings, or get close to her, she withdraws. As he slowly learns more about her tragic past and heartbreak, he comes closer to becoming heartbroken, too.
Our Chemical Hearts is a bittersweet loves story which explores the nature of bereavement and grief, as well as the consuming obsession of teenage first love. Destined to be a hit with all young romantics, it will soon be joining John Green, Jennifer Niven, Rainbow Rowell and Jandy Nelson on the shelves of many young adults.
313 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 14+