Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga


My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
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.
Publishes in US: February 10th 2015 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Genre: ya contemp suicide
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Series? no

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   I wanted to read My Heart and Other Black Holes because the issue of mental illness is one that I struggle with as well. I can relate with either how the character is feeling from times in my life where I have been in a similar state of mind. I think that suicide is so important to talk about instead of letting it be so mysterious. I think that the message that teens-- and anyone really-- getting help is possible, and that the after math for the family is catastrophic. I have been in the position of a daughter losing her dad to suicide as well as my best friend's husband who I was also college friends with taking his life. Both have effected me and I miss them both. 

     Anyways, Aysel is a genuine and realistic character. The author has either experienced or did deep research because her depression is spot on. She has repetitive thoughts, she is down, and feels like it is something ingrained in her and that she can't fix it. Though her dad was arrested and she is on the outside of the social circles, she has never quite felt like she fit. She wonders if he passed anything to her, if the sadness was just the precursor to insanity and the murderer gene as she thinks of it. 
    She is worried though that she would chicken out, and doesn't want to be a failed attempt at taking her life, ending up paralyzed or even more isolated than she was before. Which is why she finds a site with forums and one lets you get a suicide partner. I was curious about Roman from the start, and even though they don't even talk online at the beginning of the book, I wanted to know where his depression and tendencies come from. 
     I aired the friendship that formed between her and Roman. They had a kinship and just accepted the other... weirdness, sadness, complicated pasts and all. Ayzel began to see that happiness can be changed. She was fascinated with physics and began to imagine that she could be great scientist in this life instead of theoretical possibilities. The way Roman saw her and the way she started seeing things from a new perspective . And with the possibility the sadness may not colour every day and experience. 

      She wanted to help Roman see these things... the possibility, being able to look at guilt and deal with grief and live in a way that can honour bcc what he had lost. While I think that friends and support can be a huge help and motivation, I also appreciated that she realized the desire and drive to overcome or at least battle the sadness and hopelessness was ultimately a personal choice. 

    The writing was gorgeous and flowed so well. I was flying through the pages and I wanted to know more, get deeper with the characters, find out their choices and how their past would effect them and how to make other choices. 

       There was a bittersweet but hopeful ending and I appreciated the author note and the realistic way she wrote the story. 

Bottom Line: emotional, powerful, realistic with flawed but easy to relate to and pull for characters.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever found support online?


  1. I think we rated it the same! :D It didn't leave as much as an impact on me as All the Bright Places did, but I think that's the point, while it does have the same message about mental illness, it's showing you the more positive side, if that makes sense. It's showing you that you can get help, you can get through it. My main problem was (why it wasn't a 5 for me) was I didn't have much of a connection to either characters, I liked them, I felt for them, but couldn't connect. :( Still, wasn't a huge problem. I haven't found any online in that sense, but talk to friends who don't live in the same country as me, online.

  2. Thank you for sharing that personal bit with us, Brandi. No wonder books like this feels personal to you. I gravitate towards novels with this type of theme out of fascination though. I like to explore the issue from a distance.

  3. Hmmm I don't know about this one. I am rading some great reviews, but I just finished Cynthia Hand's book on suicide and I can only handle so much of this. I will think on this one.

  4. This sounds like a really emotional read and it is one I want to read myself as well. It sounds like you have been through a difficult journey of your own :/ I admire you for wanting to read books like this and being able to relate to the characters so deeply. I can't wait to try this one myself.

  5. This sound alike a powerful story. It's so important to have books that accurately portray these topics. For everyone of course - but especially teens who often feel so alone in their despair.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  6. Wonderful review. I'm glad this one really spoke to you, felt real, and it was one you enjoyed quite a bit. This one definitely sounds like an emotional read.

  7. sound like a good book but not really my type of books, glad you enjoyed it :)

  8. Yeah, I'm glad you liked it too, but not really for me. And does blogging count, LOL? Or Goodreads? B/c it may not be the type of support you're talking about, but it's definitely support ;)

  9. I hate bittersweet endings but this does sound like a lovely book.

  10. This book sounds like a beautiful read Brandi, I'm glad that you were able to connect with the book in some way. Lovely review!

  11. I have this on my Kindle, but I haven't read it yet. Sort of nervous to be honest! I've just read a lot of sad books lately and need some cheery ones. Great review and I'm relieved to hear about the hopeful ending!

  12. This does sound like a powerful story. I will have to look this one up. Great review :)

  13. I'm pleased that this book delivered in all of the key areas that you look for in these types of reads. You're definitely a connoisseur when it comes to this genre, so I trust your judgment. I have found support online; the internet offers a level of anonymity that's tough to find anywhere else.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  14. Oh this sounds like a good one. Also sounds like a book that is needed especially in YA. I might have to give this one a try.

  15. This sounds like an interesting novel, particularly because of the issues it explores. I'm glad it didn't seem to trivialise anything and instead was a powerful read.

  16. I like the realistic take, it sounds like the subject matter is depicted well, which is important in a book like this.

  17. There was a time when I was younger that I probably would read this. I guess the older I get, the more I don't want to read books that are so real and emotional. I am glad you enjoyed the read though.

  18. I'm glad to hear that the author managed to create a genuine and realistic portrayal of mental illness - it is so, so important to talk about these things, so people know they're not alone and know that help is available.

    Bumping this one up on my TBR. Thanks for the great review!


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