Occasionally you come across a book that really resonates with you. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland does just that.
I’ve read quite a bit of this young adult genre of fiction recently but this book felt different. This book was exquisite.
The story is a simple one. It follows the main character, Henry, as he falls in love with a girl, Grace Town. But Grace Town is different. She comes to school in boys clothes. Not in a tom boy way but literally boys clothes that don’t fit her. She is unkempt and guarded.
It’s not a love at first sight kind of book or the classic boy meets broken girl and fixes her. It’s a story of truth.
Grace Town has suffered a tragedy. She was in a car crash with her boyfriend. He died and she lived. This is a boyfriend she has known since she was nine years old. He wasn’t perfect. But he was hers and he knew every inch of her. The good and the bad.
Since the crash she lives his life, wears his clothes, sleeps in his room. She feels him in every inch of her. She stays with his parents and helps relieve their grief. Because she feels responsible for his death. She was teasing him in the car before the crash. She distracted him. And then she watched him struggle to breath and die as they were both trapped in the wreckage.
When she meets Henry she has moments of happiness. But she’s not ready to be happy just yet. So they have this awkward half relationship where he wants her and she wants her dead boyfriend back.
Slowly Henry comes to realise that the Grace he sees is a shadow, a mirage. Just as the girl she once was doesn’t exist anymore the girl she is now isn’t real as well.
It’s a painful story where falling in love doesn’t necessarily mean happy ever after. When the brief interaction between two people is enough. Grace will become herself again. Not her old self but a new self not living in the shadow of her dead boyfriend. And Henry learns that sometimes you can’t make people love you back in the way you want them to. And that’s okay.
This is a fantastic story of loss, grief, life and redemption. Definitely not one to be missed.
Have you read Our Chemical Hearts? Let me know what you think below!
Want to read this book? Get it here! Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland