Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Published in: 2015
Genres: romance, contemporary fiction, realistic fiction, mental health/mental illness
“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.”
Aysel is obsessed with planning her own death. Ever since her father was convicted for murder three years ago, her life hasn’t been the same. Now she’s depressed and just ready to end it all. But she’s unsure whether she’ll actually be able to go through with it. So she finds a suicide partner on a website called Smooth Passages, which is website for people who want to commit suicide. Her partner is FrozenRobot (his real name is Roman) and he only lives in the next town over. They meet and start planning their suicide, which will take place on April 7th. But as Aysel begins to spend more time with him, she begins to find reasons to live. As the date gets closer and their suicide pact becomes more real, Aysel questions whether she wants to die or instead convince Roman to live.
Aysel is a depressed 16 year old girl who’s father committed murder three years ago. Ever since then everyone’s kept her at a distance and hasn’t wanted anything to do with her. Even her own mother is distant. Aysel is convinced that she might be like her father and become violent like he is. She’s so afraid of this happening that she wants to kill herself before there’s even a chance of that happening. She’s also hopeless and doesn’t think things can get any better. She thinks that what happened in the past will be the future and can’t think otherwise. As she calls it, a “black slug” lives inside her and destroys any bit of hope or happiness she might have.
Roman is haunted by a tragedy that happened a year ago. On April 7, his younger sister, Maddie died and he blames himself for her death. He thinks its all his fault because he was the one who was supposed to be babysitting her. But he wanted to be with his girlfriend instead. So when Maddie asked if she could take a bath, he said yes, only thinking that it would give him and his girlfriend some alone time. The thing was Maddie got seizures and wasn’t supposed to take baths alone. Even since then, Roman has felt really guilty about it despite the fact that his parents have told him repeatedly that it isn’t his fault.
The plot was centered around their meetings to plan their suicide and look like they’re close so Roman’s overprotective mother will allow him to leave the house and spend the day with Aysel on the first anniversary of Maddie’s death. As the story progressed, it also became a romance. But while Aysel began to find hope and decided she didn’t want to die anymore, Roman still very much wanted to die. Every time she brought up living, he got angry at her and accused her of being a flake. Then three days before April 7th, he tries to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.
The book ended on a hopeful note with Aysel visiting Roman in the hospital and him deciding to stay alive, at least for now. Aysel also had told her mother about wanting to visit her father and about her sadness.
My Heart and Other Black Holes is an interesting realistic novel about depression and suicidal thoughts. I recommend it to anyone looking for a novel about depression and suicide, mental health, or a realistic/contemporary novel.
Rating: 4/5 Stars