Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

March 2, 2015 Book 24 ★★★★

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Genres: Death & Dying, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on 2015-02-10
Source: Edelweiss, Provided by Publisher
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four-stars

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.There's only one problem: she's not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel's convinced she's found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who's haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other's broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.

“Nothing about this is going to be easy.”

When it comes to books about suicide and depression, 2015 has started off with a couple of them. All the Bright Places, I Was Here, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, and now, My Heart and Other Black Holes.

What this book brings to the table, however, is a different way to commit suicide: using suicide partners. Seeing Aysel and Roman forming a connection over deciding to die together was definitely very different to what I was used to reading.

I will be honest and let you know right now: this book? It’s depressing. I was bummed out for the first 30-40% because everything was just so sad. I could literally feel Aysel’s depression as strongly as if it were my own. Her “black slug”, as she refers to it, is a constant presence, and I felt as if it were sucking up my happiness as I kept on reading.

I spend a lot of time wondering what dying feels like. What dying sounds like.

However that’s not to say that it was a bad book. On the contrary, it was pretty amazing. It doesn’t glamorize mental illnesses or depression, on the contrary, it showed how the wrong approach to these can have bad consequences.

Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful of literary or mysterious about depression. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and in your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape.

It was very impacting seeing how Aysel and Roman planned their impending suicide; the knowing that a special project was due for a date after the mutual suicide, the fact that they were slowly saying goodbye to family members and friends without being so obvious about it… It was damn heartbreaking. It makes a reader think “could I be able to see the signs if someone close to me was considering suicide?”.

But the thing is, our project is due on April 10, so in the end it doesn’t matter. I’ll be gone before we have to turn it in.

This book is beautifully written. It’s easy to follow, and Aysel’s voice, even while being completely messed up and cynical, is compelling to say the least. I like how physics and classical music were integrated into the novel; it made it all the more interesting.

Recently I’ve become so much more aware of the things we do that keep us alive- our inhales, our exhales, our heartbeats.

I thought this would have been predictable YA mental illness disorder book, but I’m glad to have been wrong. I loved being surprised!

My only complaint is that I wish I could have read from Roman’s POV as well. I don’t feel like we get to know him all that much through Aysel’s description.

Overall I really recommend this book; it brought something different to an seemingly saturated genre about suicide. It was brilliantly written and Aysel and Roman are characters that’ll stick with you even after finishing reading.

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Romance
three-half-stars
Overall: 4.1

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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • You are right, there are so many books about suicides these days that it’s pretty damn deep. I don’t know how many of these I can read. Suicide partners and saying goodbye, my gosh how depressing! I’m glad you enjoyed it though.

    • Yes, it’s actually even pretty humorous thanks to the protagonist 🙂 I think I’m all burned out on suicide books… and I still haven’t read The Last Time We Say Goodbye

  • You know, the very thing that stops me from reading this book is the idea of a suicide partner. It’s very wrong to me.

    • I think the book does a good job at showing how bad suicide in general is, but I understand how wrong it felt in the book. Like I said, I was really depressed at the beginning.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I am really curious about this one, as well as some of the other similar novels you mentioned. I’m always fascinated by these stories because it’s so realistic.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • Karen

    “It doesn’t glamorize mental illnesses or depression”

    Most books do and that’s why I usually avoid them. Glad to hear this one doesn’t. I will probably give it a try soon.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  • Hmmm this book sounds very touching and has incredible depth. The characters sound so detailed and broken. I’ll admit this story sounds too sad for me, but the beautiful writing calls to me. I’ve heard this one is amazing! Lovely review <33

  • I’m actually quite surprised with the numerous suicide books that are being released in the YA genre. Although, I’m happy with it, because it means publishers aren’t afraid of a true and sad topic that affects young adults around the world.

    This book sounds like it tackled the issue very respectfully, and truthfully, but also really sadly.

    It’s always a shame when there’s a character you wish you could know more, and it seems that Roman is that character in this book.

    I hadn’t really known much about this book before reading your review, but you’ve definitely swayed me. It sounds incredibly emotional, and I think I have to give it a go.

  • Nicole Hewitt

    I just recently read All the Bright Places and I agree that sometimes you can read a book that hurts your heart and yet is amazing. I’m interested to read this one as well – the whole suicide pact thing is kind of scary because there’s actually pressure to go through with something. It’s sad that this really does happen sometimes!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • I think the fact that you don’t want to let down your partner would certainly motivate the suicide more, which makes it the more depressing. I’m glad you liked All the Bright Places! I loved it <3

  • I just happened to find your book via a comment of yours, and I am so happy that I did! This review is amazing and I really want to read ‘My Heart and Other Black Holes’ – which I hadn’t actually heard of until 5 minutes ago (when I started reading this).
    Fabulous blog, by the way!

  • Hmmm I think I would like this one but I would have to read it slowly and maybe read a happier book alongside it. I like that it deals with darker issues though. Those quotes are gorgeous. Definitely going to pick this one up soon. Great review!

  • I’m about to start this one!! Wow, I did not know it was THAT depressive… but it’s good to know you still very much enjoyed it and that’s it’s beautifully written 🙂 I feel like there are so many suicide or mental illness books this year 😛 but it’s okay to have them, just an impression. Great review!!

  • Benish

    The number of suicide books in YA are depressing, now we have suicide partners :/ I want to read this one though, but I’m not sure if I’ll like it. Great review though & I’m glad you did like it for the most part. <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  • I am truly looking forward to reading this book!
    However I finished All the bright places a couple of days ago and God, it ripped my heart out. I wanna stay clear of books that talk about suicides for a little bit. But it is in my wishlist and hopefully I’ll be reading it soon! 🙂

    • Definitely don’t read this one so soon. I made that mistake and was DEVASTATED. I hope you enjoy it when you get to read it 🙂