Review: "My Heart and Other Black Holes" by Jasmine Warga

91NEzpPXfTL._SL1500_Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Publication: Hodder & Stoughton (my edition, first published by HarperCollins)
Release Date: February 19th, 2015
Pages: 309
Spoilers: Maybe some hints, but no real spoilers. But yeah, you should probably only read this review when you’ve finished the book or when you’re okay with getting to know a couple of facts (and feels) about the book.
Rating: 5.0 Stars (5.0 / 5)

This book has been on my TBR for ages and ages – ever since it was released it has been looking at me, patiently, from my overcrowded bookshelf. Today I finally found the courage to pick up the book. It handles such a dark subject, I was afraid it would be too heavy to read, too personal, but in the end, I think the books offers a very unique perspective that, will give the reader hope. But be warned, I do not recommend anybody to read this novel in a public place.

“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.” [Goodreads]

 After reading the blurb, I knew this was a book that I would HAVE to read, no matter what. This book would belong to my obsession with mental health books for young adults. It’s not only an obsession, but also a fear. Luckily, this book lived up to its expectations, and left me breathless on a grey Monday evening.

Aysel, from the beginning, mesmerized me. She kept telling herself how much she wanted to die, but honestly, she didn’t. I knew from the beginning she wouldn’t go through with her plan. And that’s probably the only reason I kept reading. I knew I wanted to find out what it was that would change her mindset – her changing point. I felt so sorry for her, for what happened, and I honestly couldn’t believe how mean everybody was to her. Sure, her dad is a maniac, but why be an ass to Aysel? She was afraid of herself, the part of her that might resemble her father, his craziness, and thus had to kill herself to save everybody around her. I felt so sorry for her. I was heartbroken. At the beginning of the book, every single chapter ended with a passage that depicted how much better the world would be off without her. And that’s the thing. When you’re suicidal, you believe that single voice that keeps saying that, over and over again, filling you with sadness, making you believe that killing yourself is the only way out. The only way to save everybody from yourself – except maybe yourself. And Aysel embodied that feeling so well. Aysel felt so real.

After meeting Roman, cracks in her facade started to appear. Did she really wanted to die? Did she really wanted to jump off of that bridge, to end her life together with her ‘suicide-partner’? Or was it just planning it, thinking about it, talking about it, that made suicide feel so attractive? To her, I think maybe she would’ve gone through with it, if she’d met someone else. Maybe. But not with Roman. He made her feel human again. He made her see that the black hole inside of her is not all that is her. Somehow, he made her see there’s hope for her. But… not for him.

Achingly, I watched their partnership, turn into a friendship and finally turn into love. I was scared for Aysel to say the wrong thing to Roman and screw everything up. Roman was a ticking time bomb, and like Aysel said, she was just buying time. Their plan was to die together, but in the end, they both betrayed each other.

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The story line of the novel is very well balanced. You will follow Aysel and Roman over a couple of weeks, and their relationship is growing very naturally. Not forced, not cheesy, but in a good way. You could see the dilemma forming inside of Aysel. Loving him and her desire to commit suicide together. What was even harder to watch, was Roman being so much more determined to do the thing. He was running towards his end with a lethal speed, Aysel barely keeping up with him. You will finish this book in one single read, no doubt. The pace is everything you want and more. You get details, but not too much. You get action, but not too much. You will get a lot of sadness, really dark, deep sadness. But in return you will get heartwarming scenes and humorous passages that makes you want to forget this book is about two suicidal teenagers, trying to commit suicide together.

As for the writing style, I think it was real and raw, yet poetic whenever you needed it. I love the use of physics in the novel. As a nerd myself, I loved reading about Aysel turning E=MC^2 into a story about love, friendship and life itself.

This book will probably cause you to feel like you have a black hole inside your chest yourself. This is the kind of book that will leave you breathless, feeling as if you will never be able to pick up another book ever again. “My Heart and Other Black Holes” is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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