Size Doesn’t Matter (67): Our Chemical Hearts; The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (67): Our Chemical Hearts; The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon GirlOur Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Published by Putnam Juvenile on September 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository

John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

Our Chemical Hearts sounded like it was going to be a fluffy contemporary romance. Clearly I paid a bit too much attention to the Rainbow Rowell comparison in the blurb. What I should have taken too heart was the John Green comp, because that one was very much on point.

Krystal Sutherland is playing with the MPDG trope. It’s highly reminiscent of Emery Lord’s When We Collided, though the mystery girls suffer from different psychological issues in the two books. It’s a shame that I read them just a couple of months apart, because I cannot help but compare them. They’re both good books I think, but I think Lord edges out Sutherland on her consideration of the trope. Mostly because of the way the books end: View Spoiler »

Sutherland does do a very good job with characterization and banter, so I know I’ll want to be checking out her future books. One of the things that makes their dynamic work for me is the fact that Grace really doesn’t try to be likable; in fact, she tries the opposite. With John Green’s MPDGs, they like being the mystery and Grace does like keeping her secrets, but she didn’t ask for Henry to come after her. Grace is a curmudgeon, and I like her way more than most MPDG heroines, especially since she always calls Henry on his shit. She literally addresses the way he’s making her his MPDG, which was a bit on the nose, but it’s still satisfying.

This is one of those books that suffered a little bit because I’ve done so much reading, but it’s a really good read. Maybe just don’t read it too soon after When We Collided.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif i hope you like feminist rants new girl

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (67): Our Chemical Hearts; The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon GirlThe Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil
Published by Peachtree Publishers on April 1, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book Depository

Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends. The only problem is shes overlooked a few teeny details. Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared. And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails. Even her latest comic book creation is misbehaving. Also, the world might be ending-- which is proving to be awkward. As doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Albas life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, its the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

I enjoyed Keil’s Life in Outer Space, and, with a gorgeous cover like this, I was massively excited for Keil’s The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl. It’s a solid contemporary, funny and sweet, though I think it’s a bit too brief for how much it tried to do.

There are just so many characters in this slim contemporary novel. Alba has five best friends in her small Australian town. She’s close to her mother too, so she’s important as well. That’s already seven people, without the third leg of her “love triangle.” There’s a reason that a lot of YA heroines are loners with maybe one or two friends: it’s hard to develop such a large cast, especially in a brief contemporary romance. I don’t think Keil quite pulls it off. Each person does have a quirk or two, but I know most of her friends by one or two qualities and that’s it. The only ones who have a plot arc are Alba and her two boys. The rest of the massive friend group put the “support” in supporting, there to help push the ship along.

The plot’s pretty damn adorable though. Alba’s tiny little town, Eden Valley, is put on the map when a weird guy with a failing TV program goes viral for predicting an armageddon from which only Eden Valley will be spared. Obviously, most people take this for the joke it is, but a whole bunch of people begin rolling into the town to party and to survive the impending apocalypse (you know, just in case). This includes Alba and Grady’s former bestie Daniel, now a sexy soap opera star. Against the background of potentially impending apocalypse, Alba’s facing a definite emotional apocalypse, terrified of what happens at the end of this summer as everyone moves on to college or careers. Alba’s afraid of change, but the changes to her little town sort of force the issue. The love triangle plays out really satisfyingly, though it’s not the shippiest book in the world.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is a cute and fun contemporary novel, if made up of a slightly too large cast.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif welcome to the end of the world party

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (67): Our Chemical Hearts; The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl”

  1. Leah says:

    Your review of Our Chemical Hearts is spot on. I had been struggling to find the main reason why this book bothered me so much with the way the MPDG trope was used and you hit it on the head.

    I also thought Henry romanticized Grace’s issues, but I also enjoyed the banter and that it was unpredictable. Thanks for the review.

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