By: Krystal Sutherland
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's/Teenage)
Published by: Penguin
Published: 03 Oct 2016
ISBN: 9780143573906


First love is an epic disaster. Henry Page has never been in love. The slo-mo, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love he's been hoping for just hasn't been on the cards—at least not yet. Henry's too busy trying to get into a semi-decent college and become editor of his school newspaper, a dream three years in the making.

The rest of his spare time he spends with his best friends, Lola and Murray, playing video games and advising them on their own sordid love lives. Then he meets Grace Town, the elusive new girl in school, who wears oversized boys' clothing, walks with a cane, rarely seems to shower, and is hiding crushing secrets.

She's hardly who Henry expected his dream girl to be, but when the two are chosen to edit the paper together, sparks fly. After all this time, Henry's about to learn firsthand just how disastrous the road to first love can be-and that sometimes it's the detours that end up mattering much more.

A brilliant debut that is equal parts humour and heartbreak, Krystal Sutherland's Our Chemical Hearts is a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.


This year has seen a proliferation of fantastic Australian debut YA authors and Krystal Sutherland is no exception.

She has written a classic love story without a classic ending. She deals with tragedy and the time it takes to heal broken things really beautifully with writing that makes you want to read more. Her characters have so much depth and quirkiness that you can’t help but be enthralled by them.

I don’t want to say too much about the story because I don’t want to spoil it! The brief summary is Henry Page is newly appointed editor for the school newspaper who has never experienced real love. But this is about to change... in a big way. New to the school, Grace Town, who limps and wears boys clothes that don’t fit and doesn’t care about how she looks joins him as co-editor and sparks begin. But so much is broken in Grace that it is unclear if she will ever truly love again.

This was movingly well written and insightful, and I’ve seen some other great reviews it has received. For what my view is worth, I found Henry to be an incredible character and he was really open about sharing his feelings (at least much more open that I was as a teenage boy—which is probably a good thing). The story was compelling, however I did feel that some of the expletives used were unnecessary.

Given this, it is best suited to those 15 and up.

Reviewed by Rob