We received an ARC of this novel via an event at Barnes and Noble. Phoebe read this herself, so the review is all hers! If I feel the need to editorialize, I will add those comments in square brackets. I have edited the review for clarity. Potential spoilers ahead!
I read Our Chemical Hearts, by Krystal Sutherland, and liked it, but there were things I didn’t like about it as well. The story is about Henry Page and Grace Town. Henry Page is starting his senior year of high school, and he gets the job that he has wanted since before he started high school—editor of the school newspaper. Grace Town transfers one week into the school year, and she is different from anyone Henry has known before. She wears boy’s clothes; she doesn’t look like she bathes often, and she walks with a cane. She doesn’t talk to anyone, but she is offered the job of assistant editor, so she would be working alongside Henry. When she was first offered the job, she said that she wouldn’t do it, but Henry is able to talk her into it–he didn’t want anyone to turn down such an amazing opportunity. The book was about Henry and Grace falling in love with each other.
This book has a lot swearing, which sometimes made me uncomfortable when I was reading. [There were frequent F-bombs as well as other R-rated swear words] I also didn’t like that the characters in the book have sex. [Using condoms is also discussed] But besides those couple of things, the book sent a great message. Grace Town was in a car accident with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend died in the accident, and she severely injured her leg. She transferred because her old school reminded her too much of her old boyfriend. The great message in the book is that just because someone is different, that person shouldn’t be avoided. Henry made the effort to get to know her; he wanted to be friends with her, and he succeeded, and Grace Town didn’t seem so alone and unwanted anymore.
Since finishing it, Phoebe and I have talked about the explicit parts, and she doesn’t think that reading it was a bad choice–that she was too young (she is thirteen). She just might have preferred a warning about some of the things that are in there.