Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 302 Pages
Published February 2015
Summary: 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: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) 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. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
I actually picked up this book when it first came out last year, got only a few chapters in, and got a little too disturbed, so I put it down with no intention of picking it up again. However, I recently decided to give this book another try, and I'm glad I did, because I actually did end up enjoying it.
I think what throws me off about this book a little bit is how casually the concept of suicide is thrown around. I've never been suicidal myself, so I guess that I just find it a little bit unsettling to see a character thinking/discussing a topic like this with such a casual, matter-of-fact air. It's a little strange to me, but also interesting in the same way.
Aysel herself was a very interesting character. She was dealt a pretty crappy hand in life, having to deal with the divorce of her parents and then her father committing an unthinkable crime that officially makes her ostracized by everyone else in their community. Even though she had nothing to do with what happened, every small town needs a scapegoat, and Aysel is the perfect fit.
Of course, all of this unnecessary isolation, the loss of her friends, and the tough life that she's living doesn't help her mental state at all. It doesn't take long for Aysel to decide to end her life, and she also decides that she's going to find a partner to do it with her.
Cue Roman. I thought he was an alright character. He was very touchy and emotional, and at times I didn't like him at all, and I had no idea what Aysel saw in him. But as the book went on, I realized that Roman's own horrors that he had to endure in his life didn't help his mental state. So he started to grow on me.
Mild spoilers ahead, skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read the book yet! The ending of the book definitely threw me a loop. I wasn't expecting Roman to do what he did at all. Especially the way he did. I had to go back and reread that chapter because everything happened so fast and I got so confused. But definitely props to Warga for that plot twist, because I most certainly was not expecting that one.
All in all, My Heart and Other Black Holes was a book about losing those you love, finding friendships, and learning that no matter how dark your life may seem, there are always things to live for. As cliche as it sounds, it's totally true, and I'm very glad that I decided to give this book a second chance. I'd recommend this book to anybody looking for a book about hope and coming back from horrible events in your life, because it is possible -- this book proves it.
Great work from Jasmine Warga! I'll definitely be reading more of her work in the future.