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News & Reviews

Our Chemical Hearts cover

Our Chemical Hearts

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

Every so often a book comes along that spices everything up. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland is exactly that book. A simple story about a boy called Henry, who is striving to get into a college, whilst hoping to become the editor of the school newspaper, and find himself a girlfriend. But with the arrival of a new girl at his school, his whole world changes. The new girl, Grace, clothed in baggy, smelly male looking clothes, with unwashed hair and the face of a zombie, finds herself the centre of Henry’s world when they are both placed on the editorial team of the school newspaper. But as their friendship blossoms, so does Henry’s feelings for Grace. Meanwhile, Grace is still lost in love with her deceased boyfriend.

Krystal Sutherland has written a new and fresh perspective on teenage angst and first love in a gripping and heartbreaking tale about a girl and boy who are just right for each other, if only they met each other before. Before the accident, before Grace changed, before Henry knew what a broken heart felt like. This clever, witty, and lyrical story is a classic, but with fresh and modern twists and turns thrown in. This book is an almost perfect representation of how love can physically hurt us all.

If you like the kind of book that makes you feel, makes you hurt from the inside out whilst reading, then this is the book for you.

The Wonder cover

The Wonder

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

Emma Donoghue, author of the astounding novel Room, has written another gripping book based on the real life case of the Fasting Girls. This phenomenon saw the recording of girls who lived without the consumption of food for long periods of time. It was seen mostly in Western Europe and Northern America between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. The Wonder is about a girl, Anna, who lives in Ireland and does not eat. When a Florence Nightingale trained nurse, Lib, is called in to supervise and determine whether or not Anna is lying or is really surviving without food, questions of belief and of parental abuse are raised. Highly trained Lib is sceptical from the start, but when she spends hours on end with Anna, she begins to question her own beliefs.

This is a tough book to read, filled with family heart break, famine and many religious passages. The Wonder makes you question your own beliefs. There are many twist and turns to follow when reading this book and many shocking developments to wrap your mind around, but getting to the end is where you will find all of the good stuff and the truth is finally revealed. The writing is gripping and suspenseful, making you want to know what is going to happen and wonder after the last page.

If you like the kind of books that make you wonder about your own life or how other people live or lived, then this is the book for you.

The Secret Recipe for Second Chances cover

The Secret Recipe for Second Chances

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

Debut Australian author J.D. Barrett has hit the nail on the head with this food filled, ghostly themed book, The Secret Recipe for Second Chances. Lucy Muir is looking for the next thing to do with her life after her cheating, sleazy husband and co-owner of their famous inner city restaurant takes her house, favourite chair, and her restaurant where she flourishes behind the bench with knives in her hand. When fate finally decides to deal Lucy a good hand, her whole life changes for the better, bringing new, exciting and interesting people into her life, including a ghost called Frankie. With touching moments between Lucy and Frankie, the story doesn’t just focus on Lucy’s love for food, but also her desire for happiness with Frankie.

When you buy a book written by an Australian author there are two things to expect – one is wonderful scenery descriptions, and the other is great Aussie slang. This story is filled with both of these and so much Australia that you can almost smell the Jacaranda in the air as you read the book. J.D. Barrett has done a phenomenal job in blending aspects of Australian food, romance, new beginnings and even the idea of ghosts and unrealistic possibilities.

This is definitely a book for anyone who is a fan of Australian writers, reading about Australian suburbs and food and the idea that love is possible even if you may or may not be dead.