I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Published by Harper Collins on February 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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.
The subject matter in My Heart and Other Black Holes is very dark. The two teens find themselves on a site that pairs people who wish to end their lives, but don’t want to do it alone. So, Aysel finds Roman on a ‘suicide partner’ message board. Aysel’s life has been turned upside town by a huge mistake her father made and has retreated emotionally to a place where no one can really touch her, for better or for worse. Her depression was very real, but I also saw that this was someone who, deep down, felt that life was worth living, even if it really, really sucked at the moment. In contrast, Roman’s circumstances really broke my heart. He was in a huge amount of pain, and as you get to know him, you can really feel his hopelessness and his belief that his family would be better off without him. Their pact brought them together and while I felt that there were some scenes that seemed a little awkward from a storytelling perspective, they complemented each other as characters.
As the days to their planned suicide approach, they both start to see things differently. As the jacket copy tells you, Aysel’s doubts start to impact Roman. Their friendship ends up being very healing for both of them, but it can’t fix either person’s pain. I really loved that part of the story. I don’t think that you can truly fix another person and I have certainly read books, many YA books, that make it sound like all you need is a romantic partner or BFF to fix you right up. While their relationship helps them both, it does not fix them. Roman’s choices are ultimately his own and while I cant expand too much on that without spoilers, I’ll just say that I thought it was pretty well done. While this was not a perfect book, I felt that there was a certain realness to the voices and the situation that made this book both emotional and entertaining. Despite the dark subject, it remained a hopeful story, and one that I think will speak to a lot of people.