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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,931 followers
July 18, 2017
One of those, "Why did I take so long to read this book?" This book broke my heart a little bit.



I loved Henry and Grace's characters so much. I loved Henry's friends so much. But, the story was just so freaking sad. I wanted to know, had to know, what happened to Grace to make her the way she was in the book. Why was she so unkempt, why did she wear men's clothes, why didn't she bathe that often, why did she walk with a limp? I had a couple of different scenario's and it finally came together I guess half-way through the book.

I get invested in my books. I feel things when I read them and I empathize with what is written. This book is no exception, it tore at my heart strings for three people that couldn't be . . . .

It was beautiful and sad and wonderful all at the same time.



Fin . . .

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Colin.
708 reviews77 followers
March 25, 2022
EDIT 26/03/22: WOW, apparently this is the third most liked review for this book on Goodreads? I haven't checked this in a while so I'm kind of shocked. Also, I just read this review again and I'm cringing at my writing from 5 years ago, so I've edited it a little. Enjoy!

---

All I felt while reading this was bored and annoyed. This book was just unbearable to read.

(And please don't mistake the fact that I read this in under a day as an indication that I liked it, as the only reason I read it so fast was because I couldn't wait for it to be over.)

It felt like I was reading a very poorly written John Green knock-off. And that's saying something. John Green's books, after you've compared them to all the other YA books you have read, is the definition of generic, formulaic, and cliche. It's like the McDonald's of YA. You know what you're getting, it's the exact same every time, it's bad for you but it tastes so good when you're in the right mood. But at the end of the day, his books are still somewhat good, or at the very least, readable. Because no one can pull off the John Green formula but John Green.

Our Chemical Hearts, it saddens me to say, is just a failed attempt to emulate John Green and his particular "method" of writing YA novels. I didn't like or care about any of the characters, the plot, or the writing style. The characters were nothing but caricatures. This book tried so hard to make its characters endearingly quirky that it failed miserably. Everything about them was so contrived and pretentious, and I kept wanting to facepalm myself every time I read about them. No parent is that lenient or okay with their children getting drunk, or having sex, or swapping houses when they get drunk from a party. And I keep remembering this one scene where Henry has Grace over for dinner and his parents are dressed in Star Trek uniforms for genuinely no reason at all except to embarrass Henry? What the fuck?

And the fact that Murray is some Australian stereotype a la Steve Irwin who, in one scene, dressed up in a trench coat and smoked a cigar in attempt to emulate some sort of noir detective even though it contributed nothing to the story just? Doesn't make sense to me. Like at all. And there was also one scene where he tried to "vanish" into a crowd but Henry and Madison saw him dash into the girls' bathroom. It's like Sutherland was trying to write scenes she wanted to see in a movie or TV show but... this kind of stuff just doesn't work in books. There are certain types of comedy that can only work visually, and does not always translate successfully into prose. This isn't how you write humour in novels. There is such a thing as comedic timing. I'm not trying to tell a writer how to write but since reading books is an integral part of most of the twenty years I have been alive on this earth, I know what works for me as a reader and what doesn't.

I also really hated Henry. He was selfish and just overall annoying. The fact that he described Grace's appearance as "heroin junkie" was a huge red flag I should have immediately picked up on. I know teenage boys are typically problematic and overall dumb shitheads, but seriously, what a really shitty way to describe someone.

The only things I liked about this book were a Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec reference (which is the first time I have ever read one in a book, ever), and there are a few lines that I appreciated, especially Sadie's speech to Henry near the end. But that's it.

Man, I really am in the goddamn minority on this one. I kept scrolling through the reviews looking for 1- and 2-star reviews, hoping to validate my feelings, but all I saw were 4- and 5-star ratings, with the occasional 3 thrown in. Seriously, what the fuck did I miss? I'm not one of those people who like reading bad books because they like writing negative reviews. I want to enjoy the books I read, especially if I bought them, and I actually feel somewhat upset whenever I end up disliking a book.

In the words of Simon Cowell,

It's a no from me.

Other books you might like:

Paper Towns by John Green
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
432 reviews1,792 followers
December 8, 2020
“Grace Town is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

Henry Page has worked hard to become editor of his high school newspaper, years of getting the right grades and being a model student. But then the new strange girl gets handed Co-editor status on her first day.

Unkempt, dressed in over sized men's clothing and walks with a cane — as Henry and Grace spend more time together working on the newspaper, Henry let's the mystery of why Grace Town is the way she is, consume him.

This is the simple story of a boy who wants to fix a broken girl... but knows he can't.

“I somehow knew, in that moment, that Grace Town was a jagged piece of glass that I'd cut myself on again and again if I let myself get involved with her. That the way forward would be pockmarked by sadness and grief and jealousy.”



I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Though I guess that's a good sign.

• The characters were easy to love.
• The friendship bonds were beautiful.
• The writing was great and kind of reminded me of John Green.
• The banter and pop culture references were perfect and not over-done.

I shed many tears for Grace and for the (unhealthy) relationship she and Henry have.

“I can't pretend to be all better because that's what you want.”


I'm glad this wasn't a ‘love fixes all’ type story. Both Henry and Grace know that she has problems that need fixing, it just takes them a while to properly realise that.

“The greatest love story ever told doesn't have to be about two people who spent their whole lives together. It might be about a love that lasted two weeks or two months or two years, but burned brighter and hotter and more brilliantly than any other love before or after. Don't mourn a failed love; there is no such thing. All love is equal in the brain.”



If you're looking for a YA contemporary that is both devastating and beautiful, then I definitely recommend.

I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author 🍃
Profile Image for Holly Bourne.
Author 24 books5,539 followers
August 13, 2016
A really thought-provoking book. I'm not going to lie, initially I was concerned because I wasn't sure what the story was trying to do. But then it slowly snuck up on me and, by the end, proceeded to gouge out my soul. A brilliant, cutting, moving (and yet hilarious) smack-down of Manic Pixie Dream Girls - and how you should love a girl, not just the idea of a girl.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,045 reviews1,050 followers
October 25, 2017
Have you ever read a book and felt like you wrote it? I know this sounds too egotistic, ambitious, haughty [insert other synonyms here] of me and I hope the author doesn’t condemn me but if I could write even just half as good as Ms. Krystal Sutherland, this book for me feels like I wrote it. As I was reading, it felt like my ideas, my thoughts, my references were all pouring out in the pages of the book which makes me feel both weird and amazed seeing that I didn’t write it.

Winning line to skip a class: “My teenage hormones have rendered me too emotionally fragile to be in a learning environment right now.” Lol!

Of course I don’t necessarily agree with the “chemical hearts” theory and that love can easily be explained by Science, but I could easily imagine creating these characters myself. I could practically imagine myself giving these characters their lines, their inner conflicts, their actions. Suffice it to say that I loved the writing and I felt very connected not only to the characters but to the entire story as well.

It’s so easy liking a story especially when told by a geeky but definitely not unattractive young man who for the first time in his life has fallen in love. It’s both sweet and heartbreaking and even though the main premise is quite very angsty and very, very sad (minor waterworks involved), it was written in a smart, funny and relatable way.

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy, Grace. Reading Harry Potter is what is right.”

I wasn’t a bit irritated because of its relevance and because half of the time, I’m cracking up over the quirks of the characters. This has been a very impressive debut novel, an important read and I’m certainly looking forward to reading the next books the author writes.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,830 followers
April 26, 2017

So this is certainly not a story of love at first sight.
But it is a love story.
Well.
Kind of.


What on earth was this book?? It made me feel all these strange, strange emotions and I’m still trying to figure it out????

description

Our main character, Henry, is a loveable child who is a total hopeless romantic ((basically me)) and meets this very odd girl, Grace Town, at school. She’s totally weird, and in the most fascinating of ways. She hobbles in the room with a cane and prominent limp, her hair is choppy as if she took a scissors to it herself ((while she was blindfolded)), she refuses to write EVER, she owns a car that she doesn’t EVER drive, and is so existential is kinda depressing.

But in her strangeness, she is beautiful.

Let me just point out that this was Krystal Sutherland’s DEBUT novel, like wow, lady, I’m impressed.

The friendships in this book, mainly Murray ((this sweet kid honestly)) and Lola ((her brotp with Henry is so much goals)) was honestly a highlight to my day. They’re hilarious and real and annoying and loving and basically everything you want in best friends.

Also, Henry’s relationship with his older sister, Sadie, is beautiful. Everything about this book is dismal and beautiful and hilarious just read it and laugh and tear up and be shook at all the events that take place.

((im kinda rusty on the details of this book bc I’ve been putting off this review for years so like forgive me kay??? Kay))

But love is scientific, man. I mean, it’s really just a chemical reaction in the brain. Sometimes that reaction lasts a lifetime, repeating itself over and over again. And sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it goes supernova and then starts to fade. We’re all just chemical hearts.

4 stars!!
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews312 followers
February 10, 2017
3.5 stars. I wanted to read this book because it was compared to Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park, two of my most favorite books of all time. I really wanted to love this book, but I just liked it. It was too quirky, bordering on silly, if you edit all that, this book would have been fantastic.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,093 reviews1,268 followers
March 30, 2017
While reading this book, I did a list of all the things that I loved about it, because I knew I would be too emotional in the end to write something. So here it is:

* lots of Harry Potter references
* tackle the ‘not like the other girls’ trope
* makes it really clear that you don’t choose your sexuality - hell yeah
* Grace & Henry’s conversations via Facebook are everything !
* Grace and I have the same favorite song ;)
* Henry’s parents are so dang cool, so is his big sister Sandie
* the trio formed by Henry, Murray and Lola is precious
* the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope is totally destroyed
* gender equality all the way !!
* so many references from amazing books !
* shows that mourning isn’t an easy process, because when you lose someone you loved to death, it’s not only her/him that you lose, but also the future you would have had with her/him
* shows that you can’t fall in love with an idea of someone and then expect things to be fine, either you love someone for who she/he is or you just don’t
* gosh reading what Grace thought about Dom made me cry so much, I can’t handle so much pain
* you can love someone as hard as you can, sometimes it won’t last forever, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real or worth it
* “All love is equal in the brain.”

In the end, I’m juste extremely grateful this book exists.

Update 30.03.17 - I don't know why but I keep thinking about this book... okay maybe it's because it just came out in French so every time I go to my bookstore I see it, but this book was just amazing and I need everybody to know it.
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
340 reviews270 followers
August 14, 2019
Wow. Like just. Wow. I did not expect this depth by the synopsis and the first few chapters. I thought this to be a light, fluffy YA romance.

But in actuality it freaking gutted me. And in all honestly it was triggering. I’ve been battling with depression lately, having more bad days than good and the deep, deep depths we sunk to with Grace took me a little far into my own dark path.

But the fact that the author was able to do that. To move me so compellingly. To portray such pain and feelings of a secondary character through the view point of a main character in a debut novel was exceptional.

I’ve been on the hunt for YA books told in a male pov and I haven’t been let down so far. I created a shelf specifically for this if you’re interested as well (see link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list... ). It’s a nice break from the more female dominated narration in the genre. I like being inside a boy’s head.....even if they’re mostly written by female authors. Ha. Recommend me some if you can!

Anyway don’t judge this book by the first few chapters or the synopsis alone. It sat on my shelf as a library borrow that I renewed at least 3x for 3 weeks per renewal until I finally picked it up. And then I read it in almost a day. It surprised me so much. I laughed, I cried, I angered, I related, I suffered.

It was brilliant.

Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
March 11, 2017
I really loved this book. It was funny and cute but it also had a lot of meaning. I loved how everything was balanced and it wasn't just a fluffy contemporary and it wasn't one of those books that will leave you feeling like you got ran over by a train. It was the perfect mix of funny and serious.
I loved the characters so much and even the secondary characters were really amazing and well written. I thought the characters had interesting and different perspectives. They weren't like any characters that I've read about before and I really appreciated that.
Overall, Our Chemical Hearts is a great read. It's so well written and original. If you're looking for a new favorite contemporary, definitely pick up Our Chemical Hearts.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,471 reviews1,889 followers
April 19, 2018
"Mother. Father. I have news."
"You've been conscripted to the war? What decade are you speaking from?"
"Ugh, fine : Home-Daddy, Mama P., I got a live tweet coming at you. Better?"
"Oh God, go back to World War Two, please."

There hasn't been a sad book that has made me laugh so hard, so helplessly, in.. a long time. Thank you, OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS, for giving me a well-rounded devastating and charming and sweet and awful and hilarious experience.

"Who's the sheila, mate? Saw you going off after her like a raw prawn."
"Roll back the slang, Kangaroo Jack."

What makes this story by Sutherland so special, or rather what makes it work for me, is that this is not a romance. It's a love story, yes, but the kind without a happy ending in the traditional sense. It features a male YA protagonist that felt authentic, we had no standard tropes or clichés (not that there's anything wrong with that), and it deals with a heartbreak so devastating that I honestly want to cry just thinking about it. It's about love, fascination, destructive behaviours, friendships that are serious #goals, and a painful honesty about life, love, grief, and one's self.

"Madison Carlson legit asked me the other day how bad a kisser you must be to turn a girl off mankind forever."
"I hope you politely explained that sexual orientation is predetermined and that you were already a lesbian when you kissed me."
"Oh no, I told her you have a crooked penis and after I saw it I could never contemplate seeing another."
"Thanks, bro."

But I mentioned the funny, right? Because it is. So damn funny. Like, too funny to keep from laughing out loud on public transit, staring at your phone while grinning like an idiot, kind of funny. If you saw me today, hi! Yes. Welcome, welcome. I have no shame.

"Leave her alone, Henry. Trust me. You don't want to get mixed up in that."
"Now come on, Mads. Don't be a cliché. You know your reluctance to divulge information is only going to make us more inquisitive. Help the plot move a little faster and spill the bloody beans already."

I can see why this story doesn't work for a lot of people and I totally get it. Maybe in another time, in a different mood, I would've been frustrated or angry or sad for different reasons about how this story went about. But instead it feels.. precious. Needed. Real and raw and wretched (it's an r-sound, it counts!). OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS is gorgeously diverse with representation of all kinds, with shooting-traight-from-the-hip dialogue about grief, obsession, and the infinite potential for love in all shapes, sizes, and spans of time.

4.25 "bedrooms are like crime scenes. so many clues to be uncovered" stars
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.4k followers
February 6, 2017
This is the second book in a row that I've read that I thoroughly enjoyed, but still had a handful of problems with it. I loved the writing and the humor, but the whole 'trying to cancel out the manic pixie dream girl by calling her a manic pixie dream girl over and OVER' thing was too much. Same thing with the racism. The main character calls out the racism.... but then continues to call a character named Seeta Ganguly, Sugar Gandhi instead of her actual name. Those two things really rubbed me the wrong way and took away from what I think was otherwise a phenomenal debut novel and an amazing insight into first love and love lost. Would have been 5 stars, but I'm taking off a star for each issue. Here's hoping I find her next book a little less problematic because this one had SO much potential.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
915 reviews163 followers
July 26, 2017
This was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read! The story is a coming of age one that brings you on an emotional journey that will have you so engrossed in SO many emotions. The dialogue in this book is some of the funniest exchanges! This is a short book so if you do not want a long drawn out read I highly recommend you pick it up. Was so good!
Profile Image for Warda.
1,204 reviews19.7k followers
February 6, 2017
This book was heartfelt, hilarious and left me slightly broken. It's such a great contemporary, with YA cliches, but used in an unique and meaningful way. I loved the main character (Henry, my love), the friendships, and the subtle hints at feminism that randomly popped up.

But I think the main thing that stood out and mattered was how damaging unhealthy relationships can be, but how that also can lead to a journey of self discovery and healing. It was raw and needed.
Profile Image for Maria.
105 reviews69 followers
November 1, 2020
Grace Town was a chemical explosion inside my heart. She was a star that’d gone supernova. For a few fleeting moments there was light and heat and pain, brighter than a galaxy, and in her wake she left nothing but darkness. But the death of stars provides the building blocks of life. We’re all made of star stuff. We’re all made of Grace Town.

Henry Page! Can we cry together?
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,725 reviews864 followers
July 14, 2022
I'm so conflicted. I do not know what I feel about this book. I definitely did not enjoy it wholeheartedly but I did appreciate some of what it was trying to achieve. The ending was by far my favourite aspect of the story. It would have been so much more gut-wrenching and impacting if I had found the romance even remotely shippable before that… but I did not, unfortunately.

I struggled with Grace’s character so much. I found the portrayal of her mental illness incredibly problematic. I cannot believe that she was barely acknowledged as needing help, despite clearly suffering from PTSD. It really bothered me that she was not only not receiving professional help but that everyone just ignored it. She was obviously in great distress and the fact that everyone just… let her be like that really bothered me. Henry even fears for her safety at one point. I know that the situation is tricky but I would have loved to see him step up and a) talk to her about it or b) talk to an adult about it. Henry’s entire attitude towards Grace was actually quite problematic. He thought of her as being broken, as not good for him to pursue, and I just found that so problematic.

On a more positive note, I adored Lola. She was literally me the entire book. She told Henry whenever he was being idiotic to cut it out. She called him out for being a douche when he selfishly jeopardised her own grades by goofing about with Grace instead of working on the newspaper. She was supportive and tried to piece everything back together for her friends because she is a saint. Most importantly, though? She told Henry not to date a girl who had not read or seen Harry Potter… I’m smiling just thinking about it. Life advice right there. It is just so me.

Extra Thoughts:

• I adored the writing style. It did not go overboard as I feared. It was nicely poetic and it definitely made me want to read more of her books in the future.
• I was disappointed that this book was Americanised. I have no idea why it was not set in Australia. Is there a reason?
• Speaking of which, I am so disappointed in Murray’s character! The one Australian character in the book overused (old/bogan) Australian slang to pick up girls. This has to be one of my least favourite tropes of all time!
• The fact that all of the characters had such ‘cool parents’ felt a little over-the-top.
• Sadie was pretty awesome, though.

Please note that #OwnVoices reviewer Alaina Leary @ Disability in Kidlit found both Grace’s disability and mental illness portrayal problematic. Please check out her discussion to get more information on the representation in this book.

Trigger warnings for .

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Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,791 reviews485 followers
September 23, 2016
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I liked this book but have found that it is a rather tough one for me to rate. I was initially grabbed by the awesome cover and after reading the description, I just had to read it. There were things that I really liked about it and other parts that just didn't do a lot for me. I have been wavering between 3 and 4 stars and have finally settled on a 4 star rating since it was a rather enjoyable read overall. It was a really quick read that took a few turns that I didn't expect.

I loved the characters in this book. Henry was great. I loved him and his group of friends. His parents and sister were also quite amazing. I wasn't as sold on Grace. From the beginning of the book, it was very obvious that Grace was keeping something major to herself so it is no wonder that her character was more of a mystery. I did enjoy the interactions between Henry and Grace when they were together.

The main focus of this book is really solving the mystery that is Grace and Henry builds a relationship with her. Grace does have some tragedy in her past which is greatly impacting her present. Henry is patient and tries to be there for Grace even though he wants to move forward and focus on a future with her. For Henry, Grace becomes his total focus often to the detriment of other things in his life. In addition to being a story of first love, Henry learns a lot about himself, his family, and his friends over the course of the story.

I would recommend this book to others. I do think that this book is appropriate for older teens. There are some elements to the story that younger teens may not be ready for including drinking and sexual situations. This is the first book by Krystal Sutherland that I have read and I plan to look for her work in the future.

I received an advance review copy of this book from G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers via First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one. It was a little different than I had expected with great characters.
Profile Image for Yna from Books and Boybands.
756 reviews344 followers
September 10, 2019
"They've poisoned you with this 'love is patient, love is kind' bullshit since you were a kid. But love is scientific, man. I mean, it's really just a chemical reaction in the brain. Sometimes that reaction lasts a lifetime, repeating itself over and over again. And sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it goes supernova and then starts to fade. We're all just chemical hearts. Does that make love any less brilliant? I don't think so."


📖 Read as an audiobook. 📖
📚 Series:  No.
📚 Genre: YA Romance.
📚 Cliffhanger: No.

⚠ Content Warnings:  Death and dealing with death.
⚠ Read if: you are a fan of John Green and manic pixie dream girls. 😅 Also if you enjoy first love and first heartbreak.

I finally got to finish a book this month! September was such a hard reading month for me. But hopefully I'll get to squeeze in more reads.

Our Chemical Hearts was a surprisingly good read for me. Going in this book, I was expecting typical YA plotlines, especially since the blurb is similar to books published that time.

Having finished this read, I can say that I somehow agree, but this fact does not make me love this book any less.

If you are looking for a hilarious yet heartfelt read, then this is the book for you. The book is funny, quite self-aware and self deprecating, but also so so sad.

As Henry narrated the story of his senior life, I have felt a spectrum of crazy emotions and I felt a strong attachment to him and his friends. He was quite the naive idealistic hero that I just want to keep and protect.

Grace, on the other hand, is the not-MPDG wounded girl love interest of Henry. Learning about her is quite frustrating because I feel sad for her yet hate her at the same time.

I'm trying to find the right words to say how I feel while avoiding to spoil things. This book might be one of the saddest books ever. It was realistic and has shaped grief in a way that has reminded me of the painful things I have went through personally.

I have to commend the author for writing such an emotionally provoking novel. The author was able to pull me in with the way she wrote the book. I loved all the metaphors scattered around the story. The best scene for me is when Henry and his sister were talking about love and heartbreak. All the lines were bittersweet yet they were all very beautiful.

I also have to commend how Henry's friends made the story a little less sad and a lot more fun. Plus, the pop culture references can made it lighter and more fun.

There's so much more that I can rave about, but in finality, I can say, I would love to reread this in the future so I can annotate everything that I loved.

PS.
Audiobook wise, I would love to commend the narrator. He did such an amazing job. He was a great actor and I love all the accents he did! It made the story even more heartbreaking.


☁ THE CRITERIA ☁

🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Audiobook Production: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

☁FINAL VERDICT: 4.58/5 ☁

📚 Blog Bookstagram Facebook Twitter 📚
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,984 reviews681 followers
March 30, 2017
i am speechless. should i cry? should i laugh? should i stare into nothingness?? this book is explosive. in a good way. reminds me that when u love someone doesnt mean u live happy ever after.

i love this book. it deals with grief and letting go. justice and redemption in most meaningful way.

my heart and my soul explodes like a firework.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,174 reviews410 followers
October 17, 2020
2 Stars

There was nothing strongly disagreeable about this story, it simply wasn’t my kind of YA read.

Our MC, seventeen-year-old Henry Page, is caught up in fascination, in lust and, soon enough, in love, when a mysterious girl named Grace Town transfers to his school senior year. Grace has clearly been through a recent physical ordeal, based on her pronounced limp, and some sort of an emotional trauma, if her morose mood is anything to go by. Yet, Henry finds himself captivated, even when all signs suggest that falling for Grace would be an epically bad idea.

The story goes on to follow the semi-highs and extreme lows Henry experiences as he fights for Grace’s love and attention. Honestly, for me, it was more depressing than not. I wrongly assumed this would be some big sweeping YA romance, but very quickly I realised my mistake.

The story deals with some heavy themes, such as death, loss and depression, and most of it is handled very well, but I never found myself emotionally engaged with the characters or their emotional journey’s. In fact, I actively disliked Grace. I feel bad for saying that because she’d been through so much for her young age, but I didn’t feel she was written in a way that would make her lovable let alone likeable to the reader. This obviously then had an impact on how I viewed Henry, because if I didn’t care a bean for Grace then I struggled to understand why this boy would.



Beyond the relationship with Henry and Grace, I found myself really put off by the portrayal Henry’s best friend Murray. Murray is an Australian teen living in America but he was such a caricature of an Australian bogan than I—an Australian—was fairly offended by his stupid sayings and over-the-top behaviour. Finding out this was written by a fellow Australian left me stumped as to why he would have been written so laughably. I really struggled with this portrayal, along with the unrealistic, carefree, too “cool” portrayal of all their parents. Just no.

Initially, I wanted to give this a try because I saw there was a recent film adaptation released on Amazon Prime, and I like to read books before seeing their film versions where I can. But now, I honestly don’t even know if I’ll bother with the film. This was one of those books I couldn’t quite see the greater appeal in, let alone see how, out of all the amazing stories out there, it would be picked to be adapted to screen. Seems like an odd choice to me, but I’m clearly an odd woman out in my reaction here, as most of the other reviews will attest.
Profile Image for Rida Quraishi.
448 reviews73 followers
August 12, 2021
I AM SHOOK!!!

As I'm wiping the tears from my cheeks, I'm trying to align all the things I'm feeling but man! my thoughts are going to seem all over the place.

This was such an amazing book! The writing style was beautiful but the story in itself was the star. It was just so good. Each character was developed profoundly and I loved everyone of them, with all their faults and merits. I felt all the emotions these characters felt and lived as Henry through this story. The pain he felt, and yet his love for Grace, I understand it and I commend it. It is quite difficult to love someone who you know loves someone else.
Grace... Ah! You beautiful broken soul. I hope you get the peace you deserve.

“Grace Town is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

I loved this story, with all my heart, specially because, it felt so real! I'm so glad I read it!
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,447 reviews238 followers
July 5, 2017
Oh, this is such a beautiful book.

When I was at 60%, I was still feeling meh about this book, it felt average.

But then, oh my. This book is beautiful in a way like All the Bright Places is beautiful, but the book is still very different.

I like the point of view, from the guy, but that did not felt like this is how a guy would feel and think, but rather how a female want a guy to think and feel and all.

That point where this book grabbed me and touched me and made me cry (yep), oh gosh. The feels. I love this book.
Profile Image for Lost In My Own World Of Books.
568 reviews190 followers
August 1, 2017
"O amor não precisa de durar uma vida inteira para ser real. Não se pode avaliar a qualidade de um amor pela extensão, pelo tempo que ele dura. Tudo morre, incluindo o amor. Às vezes, morre com uma pessoa, outras vezes, morre por si próprio. Não lamentes um amor falhado, isso é uma coisa que não existe. No cérebro, todos os amores são iguais."
Profile Image for Hélène Louise.
Author 18 books82 followers
July 7, 2017
This book has many qualities but alas some crippling flaws... In the end it wasn't a good read and I still don't understand how the entourage of the writer (friends, editor, beta-readers) didn't point the evidences.
Well.

The good points are quiet numerous: a good writing, an excellent voice for the narrator (a boy of sixteen yo), some rather humorous scenes and plenty of personal ideas. A desire to show how a so called romantic relation can be in fact a toxic one.

But the execution lacks of rigor, drifts frequently and even errs.
Pêle-mêle, from the minor to the worst:

- A diluted rhythm, with some lengthy parts (even if my read wasn't boring, thanks to the enjoyable narrator tone, at the half of the book I had quite enough). Some scenes were superfluous, breaking the story's momentum without adding anything to it.

- Some lack of show don't tell with some vertiginous ellipsis (for instance: Henry makes friend with Grace, through conversations and time spending together. He also have two besties, a girl and a boy. At some time of the book we have a sentence telling us that Grace ad the others become friends, and nothing more. There haven't been, and won't be much if any, interactions between the three during the story).

- Very very very weak intrigue's motors.
Ridiculous in fact.

To give an example (!!! spoiler of the very beginning only, the first chapter!!!):

A new girl arrives at school. She limps and use a walking stick.
=> questions anybody should be thinking about, even without actually asking them: is it a new injury, from an accident? or an progressive illness? or a handicap since birth? or else?

Later on she explains that she had a very serious accident and had to be kept in an artificial sleep for a month before beginning her convalescence
=> A question should immediately erupt in the brain of her interlocutor (note: he's a clever boy -_-)
I won't insult you by telling you witch one...

Very little time after this confession the boy learns that she goes to a graveyard each afternoon
=> Errrr... what could we possibly conclude?

Bonus: the car she rides, the phone she uses, the clothes she wears - are not hers. "Some friend's of mine" she says.

Against all odds, disdaining all these tiny little hints, our (clever) hero is utterly flabbergasted when he finally learn, some... weeks later, the truth.

(!!! end of the tiny spoiler!!!)

There are other exemples, particularly in the end of the book, when the author needs again a suspens and makes it with some totally impossible twist.

- I don't understand much the interest of a YA book about death and mourning if there isn't some positive things in the lot. I understood the author message in the end, but of what help could it be to anybody?...
Quite a lot a readers have loved this book, but I wouldn't recommend it to a depressive reader, especially a young one. There aren't any suicidal encouragements, fortunately, but there aren't any tips to soften the pain either. The morality is "when you're depressed and in mourning, you're depressed and in mourning and can't do anything about it". Well, there must be something else, but I couldn't find it anywhere.

To be honest those faults were just off-putting for a comfortable read.
But the other ones were much more toxic even if clearly involuntary so.

- The author is head over heels in love with her characters. And if I liked the narrator, Henry, who's wise and funny, the others were really too much.
The best friends were soooo cool they were caricatural. The girl is biracial, gay, exceedingly beautiful, kind, funny, badass, kickass and like to cuddle with Henry. The boy is Australian, and also big, boisterous, loud, invasive, a drama queen - and like to rough-cuddle Henry. There never show some kind of mundane behavior. No Sir, only the most showy cool attitude for the besties.
The parents are supposed to be extra cool and extra funny, but act like very poor actors. And when the author believes showing understanding and witty parents, she's in fact showing irresponsable, over indulgent, permissive ones.
The big sister is supposed to be reformed (very gifted, she used to do her worst when she was a teenager, with the teachers tolerance - nearly benediction - she was sooo clever and gifted), she has a baby of her own, but still accept to help her brother doing some very immature and even egoistic actions: for instance when he asks her to drive him in town to spy on Grace, to learn where she goes each afternoon (really? is it a sane respectful attitude?)
And when they see her entering a graveyard they all make witty comments (is she a ghost? a vampire? a mermaid?) to show their coolnessitude; it's only when they see her keeling near a tomb that the big sister, so gravely and wisely, says "We shouldn't be here".
Ohhh, really? o.O

The worst is Grace. The author isn't able to chose between her description of a very depressed teenager, unkempt, smelly, and a glamorous romantic tragic girl. She shows that she knows the difference, but the slips are too frequent.

She says that Grace is quite plain while saying she's fantastic and fascinating. She insists that last year Grace was very beautiful when she was dressed up, with some make-up, her hair shining and clean; and that nowadays Grace, who dresses with too big masculin clothes and doesn't wash and brush her hair enough is very plain.
What is exactly the message here? That to be attractive a girl must be not only neat but stylish?

She shows a very depressive girl who's need some serious help (the passivity of all the adults around her in another unbelievable narrative trick). This part is solid.
But on the other hand she can't resist to show her cleverness, her insight-fullness, her winning personality - her perfection.
Depressed people aren't perfect and glamorous. They're in danger and they need help, immediately.

One of the recurrent theme of the story is Grace explaining that she will never be a kintsugi vase - an art which consist to fix broken ceramics with gold, to make it better than new. It's a beautiful idea but if Grace is convincing in her words, the author always spoil it all by putting some numerous admiring lights on her.
It's difficult to explain but the best example - and the biggest fault of this book by far - was the insistence, three times exactly, to speak about Grace's beauty, when she's all dressed up, as "the beauty of a heroin-junkie who have nearly died of an overdose"
How, HOW, nobody has realised that this kind of inappropriate shocking irresponsible comparison should have been flushed out of a YA book ?!

To conclude a lot of personalities, an interesting message (the end is clever, in its substance if not in its form), a will to do well, but some very clumsy technique and a sorry lack of an external eye to sort the wheat from the chaff. Alas the road to hell is paved with good intentions...
Profile Image for Mafi.
1,114 reviews202 followers
June 20, 2017
Há amores que não são feitos para dar certo, por muito que se ame.

"Além disso, como é que ela pode ser a tua alma gémea? Não me disseste que ela nunca tinha lido o Harry Potter? Queres mesmo passar o resto da tua vida com uma pessoa dessas? Quer dizer, pensa nos teus filhos, por amor de Deus. Em que tipo de ambiente é que eles iriam crescer com uma mãe assim?"

(...)

O livro começa logo por ser diferente dos típicos young-adults por ser contado pelo ponto de vista do rapaz e não da rapariga, como é habitual. Aqui temos Henry Page, um jovem normal, com uns pais hippies e uma melhor amiga lésbica, e com poucas experiências amorosas na sua curta vida e todas elas traumatizantes. Até ao dia em que chega Grace Town. Ela é esquisita, veste-se com roupas masculinas e usa uma bengala como apoio e não parece ser muito sociável e Henry apaixona-se por ela, embora não tenham nada em comum.

(..)

Convém dizer que o livro tem inúmeras partes de comédia, eu fartei-me de rir com os pais do Henry e com a melhor amiga dele a Lola. Estes momentos também deram um melhor equilíbrio à narrativa o que me agradou imenso, não ser só focada no Henry e na Grace.

É um young-adult diferente, fala sobre luto, sobre dor, perda, mágoa...mas também fala sobre a primeira paixão e como não é necessário arriscar tudo quando não vale a pena.

Fiquei agradada com esta estreia e adorei todas as referências a Harry Potter, aconselho pela diferença neste tipo de livros.

Opinião completa: http://algodaodoceparaocerebro.blogsp...
Profile Image for Fleurine.
93 reviews75 followers
November 3, 2016
JA JA JA JE MOET DIT LEZEN. Nieuw favoriet boek erbij. Ik heb net Krystal ontmoet en ze is zo onwijs lief en mooi en omg. Het boek is zo mooi en rauw geschreven. Het was lastig om het droog te houden. Lees dit! Als liefhebber van waar het licht is van Jennifer Niven, is dit echt ook geweldig. 1000 hartjes hiervoor.
August 28, 2019


I have a lot of thoughts.... We'll see if I can put them all together. Keep scrolling for an annoying, rant-y review, in which I rip another book to shreds based on my personal opinion that is honestly irrelevant. YAY! Seriously, scroll at your own risk because this book upset me on so many levels and this is NOT a positive review.

UPDATE: Imma go on this rant already, because I'm at work and have nothing better to do for the moment. And I haven't done a legit book rant review in awhile. So buckle up, folks.


SPOILERS ARE AHEAD, though. So read at your own discretion, friends. But honestly, this review could save you from reading an awful book. So do with this info what you will.


Anyways... I didn't like this book. And that makes me fairly sad to type, because I actually enjoyed the first third of the book. Also, I really liked Henry Page for that portion of the book. He was quirky and cute, Grace Town was also an interesting love interest riddled in mystery, and his friends had a good rapport and all was swell.

But then shit hit the fan.


And that's honestly where my list of likes ends. So we're off to a great start, my dudes. Let's just list all the BAD at once:

1. Grace Town is a manic pixie dream girl. And Henry's friend Lola points this out to him CONSTANTLY but Henry is in denial, because of course he just wants to fix her and have her be an interesting and qUiRkY plot point to his own personal romance.


2. This book WANTS you to know it's "hip" and "with it." It endlessly references movies and pop culture (The Strokes, Fight Club, ASOS, etc.). I hate to spoil the party, but it was too much. That's a personal opinion, so I'm not gonna harp on it. Also, I hated Fight Club, so the Tyler Durden references made me want to pull my damn hair out straight from the follicles.


3. Grace Town is a demeaning character. She's rude, she's hot, she's cold, she misleads Henry on every one of these shitty pages. Listen, she's grieving, though. So I get it. Because to a certain extent, a grieving character would likely enjoy positive attention that detracts from the constant grief. But she was INSUFFERABLE after the first third. She literally told Henry he didn't know what love was, all because her boyfriend dies. YOU CAN'T JUST TELL PEOPLE WHAT THEY DO AND DO NOT FEEL. YOUR GRIEF DOES NOT MAKE ANYONE ELSE'S LESS VALID. We all grieve in different ways, but it's no excuse to be an awful human being to literally everyone around you. And you know what? I could've forgiven this aspect if she at least grew as a character. But she didn't. Everyone was literally content to let her waste away into nothingness, even though every damn thing she did was a cry for help. But Henry just gives up when he realizes he can't project his feelings onto her. And she just disappears and everyone is cool to let her suffer on her own.


4. All the characters talk the same. They're all vulgar, crass, over-the-top, and super eccentric. And dare I say again..... qUirKy?!?! Henry, Grace, Lola, Murray, Sadie, and Henry's parents. THEY LITERALLY WERE CARBON COPIES OF EACH OTHER. The banter was far too witty and out of control. Literally everyone is this book talked and acted the same. I hated it. Nothing is more indicative of an author's inability to distinguish characters than this shit. Also, you don't just meet a girl and instantly have a perfect line of communication with her. No.


5. Henry Page was an awful protagonist. THE ABSOLUTE EFFING WORST. Not only did he project his dream girl onto Grace, he FORCED her to become what he wanted, made her feel guilty for not being that, and literally ALLOWED her to lead him on, and put up with it willingly. At one point, she tells him she sees her ex-boyfriend when he's kissing her. At another point, Henry finds out she lives with her dead ex boyfriend's family and wears his clothes and sleeps in his room. Does this cause Henry any concern? OBVIOUSLY NOT because he so badly WANTS to be the person that fixes her. When in reality, he should've recognized she needed actual help, not a damn boyfriend. He let his entire being be taken over by a girl he liked, based on his projected version of her. He let down his entire school newspaper because of this chick. I hate characters like that. I can't relate to them at all--never have, never will. (Just interrupting here to remind you this is 100% my PERSONAL opinion--take with a grain of salt and carry on). Like, he legit let his grades tAaAaAaAnk because of who he wanted this girl to be. Yet the only one who noticed and cared was his friend, Lola, and his English teacher. And his English teacher literally ONLY CARED because it meant the school newspaper was going down the drain. Like, WOW. Great support system. Great characters. Much support. Very shit.


At this point, you're probably asking yourself why I rated it 2-stars if I hated it so much. I did this for 2 reasons:
1. The first third was good until all the characters went to shit and Henry Page became insufferable.
2. I think stories about grief are very important because again, everyone grieves in different ways. But Henry Page turned Grace Town into a version of what he thought she was, and that pushed her to boundaries that made her character act like a total asshat.

Anyways, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
1.5 stars for this hot garbage.
Profile Image for Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword.
567 reviews435 followers
August 30, 2017
4 I may be just a side character of a bigger love story Stars

BONUS: Reminding me- Shawn Hook ft Vanessa Hudgens 🎶

"But love is scientific, man. I mean, it's really just a chemical reaction in the brain. Sometimes that reaction lasts a lifetime, repeating itself over and over again. And sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it goes supernova and then starts to fade. We're all just chemical heart"

First word that this book provokes for me is, confusion . I felt confused in terms of liking or hating this book, the characters, their actions, the pain, the ending. How to rate this book?
Krystal Sutherland certainly shone brightly in her debut in terms of writing, her creativity to write this atmospheric characters and situation they got in. I love the way she thinks about society and things in our everyday lives, I quoted a million things.

I need to give her an applause because she didn't hide away from a not so commonly satisfying ending, she went through the tough path and decided to write the story of many us, love stories that never work out. I really hated to love Grace Town, her pain so vivid, same goes for Henry with his hopelessness. The characters are so broken but you can help to feel for them, you want a happy ending for both, but you know the happy ending wouldn't satisfy both.

This book for certain is going to get mix reviews and is because the tension and frustration, will make some readers hate it, while others love it. The decision they make provoke you to want to tear your hair apart, but I liked exactly because of for that, it demonstrates we sometimes make the wrong decision when it comes to people we like. I ended up really enjoy ing it because it made me think like no other book in a long time. My only critic is that parental supervision, dear almighty when are going to get parents who actually act like parents in YA? They truly were the most relaxed parents I have ever met. But I love the lesson on the love they gave us, sometimes love is not everlasting, but you can still be good friends with the person.❤️

This is not a love story, or not your common one certainly, just be warned because if you are going in looking for that, you are not going to get it.

"Sometimes you don't know things are going to be extraordinary until they are."
Profile Image for Bec (becklebooks).
338 reviews199 followers
March 30, 2017
This was such a wonderfully (often hilariously) narrated YA contemporary that I did not expect to adore, but Henry was too honest not to love and his story made my heart swell.

You how tropes can run rampant to dominate a story? NOT HERE! It's like Krystal Sutherland skipped up to each trope, acknowledged it with a high five, and then walked in another direction. I loved her for doing that, it gave her book a backbone of hilarity and anticipation.

These characters felt real to me; from Henry's narration, to Grace's bone-deep sadness, I was thoroughly invested. As someone who doesn't usually read YA contemporary, I am glad I made the exception for this; maybe I need to rethink my reading tastes!

Don't get me wrong -- this isn't wholly a love story. It's about friendship, family, support and growing up as well. I wouldn't have enjoyed this book nearly as much as I did if Henry's friends and family hadn't also been present. They made me laugh as well, and it was encouraging to see them wholeheartedly support, or call out, Henry when he needed it.

Overall thoughts: I loved it, I cried, and it made me laugh aloud in public, so it's definitely worth your time. Add it to your contemporary shelf, your wishlist, whatever you've gotta do! Such a quick, easy and fulfilling read! It's out early October! Go go go!
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