cover image Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts

Krystal Sutherland. Putnam, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-54656-3

Anyone who has felt the ache of first love will relate to Henry Page, a bookish high school senior unexpectedly swept off his feet. Henry, who has never had a girlfriend, isn’t immediately attracted to new student Grace Town, who enters the school with a conspicuous limp, “dressed head to toe in guys’ clothing” (“I’d seen junkies that looked in better shape than she did that morning,” Henry says). Yet after Grace and Henry are asked to co-edit the school newspaper, his interest in her grows, fueled by Grace’s on-again-off-again flirting. As romance blossoms, secrets about Grace’s past and current situation emerge, and Henry begins to think that Grace may be beyond his help. Eloquently conveying the complexity of love and grief, debut novelist Sutherland creates a story filled with intriguing and memorable characters. Henry’s quirky friends, dry-witted parents, and rebel-turned-neuroscientist sister (who offers sage advice on matters of the heart) add touches of brightness to this dark romance. Ages 14–up. Agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)