My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they’ve been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month’s time, they plan to commit suicide – together.

Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn’t equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can’t figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all….and why he’s even more determined than she is.

With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman – a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back?

My Review

“Music, especially classical music, … has kinetic energy. …once the notes are in the air, they collide against one another. They spark. They burst. I spend a lot of time wondering what dying feels like. What dying sounds like. If I’ll burst like those notes, let out my last cries of pain, and then go silent forever. Or maybe I’ll turn into a shadowy static that’s barely there, if you just listen hard enough.”

You know when a woman says that she or something is fine then it really means trouble? Yeah??? Well this book was *fine*!!!!!!!!!

OUCH!!!

Aysel was a teenage girl suffering with depression. Her father had committed a terrible crime and she felt like a pariah. In fact she turned her best friend away from her because she thought it was showing kindness to her by saving her from being associated with Aysel. Her mother had remarried and Aysel had a half-sister and -brother. But Aysel never felt like she belonged with them. Her sadness was ever present. She would describe it as a black slug living inside her. It ate her alive, consumed her whole being until she could not take it any more and decided that she wanted to die.

And when we meet Aysel at the beginning of the book she has determined that she needs someone to be there with her in those last moments and so she seeks out a suicide companion. Enter Roman…

“The walls of our old frame house are thin, and I can hear Mom and Georgia rattling around in the kitchen. I imagine them hugging. Georgia wrapping her arms around Mom’s thin waist and Mom running her fingers through Georgia’s shiny ponytail. The two of them fitting, interlocking, like mothers and daughters are supposed to. Fitting in a way that I never have. My edges have always been too sharp, my grooves too deep. That’s what they should write on my tombstone: Aysel Leyla Seran, the Girl Who Never Fit.”

Okay! So there wasn’t really anything terribly wrong with the intentions behind this story. It was sweet, it was lovely. We had two very nice main characters. Neither were too annoying so applause all around!!!

I particularly liked all the cute little references to school physics. There were some lovely ideas relating kinetic and potential energies to living and dying. Aysel queried what happened to all that potential energy of a body when death occurs. It was nice to see a YA book bring a little physics and basic thermodynamics into the fold with questions arising from the law of the conservation of energy (that’s the one that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can be converted from one form to another).

“Does a dead body still have potential energy or does it get transferred into something else? Can potential energy just evaporate into nothingness? That’s the question I don’t know the answer to. That’s the question that haunts me.”

However, I never truly emotionally connected to the characters.

There was always something missing.

At the time I questioned was it because the information as to what crime Aysel’s father committed was held from us and used as a dangling carrot sort of plot device. Without that information early on it was just difficult to fully grasp the reasons why Aysel was so unhappy…

But on hindsight I’m not sure that this was the case. I felt sorry for Aysel because it’s a natural human emotion to feel that way when you read about someone else in pain. But I got the sense that this was a case of ‘backwards’ show and tell. We were told Aysel was sad but I needed to be shown the why. I needed to see more of her soul…. Gosh that sounds kind of creepy on my part YIKES!!!

But anyway for two thirds of the book I kept thinking that this was a nice, contemporary YA read and okay, I wasn’t really emotionally connecting to the book but I was enjoying it so I was not displeased that I was reading it! Three stars was beckoning on the horizon. And I was feeling generally good about life.

Note, not fine but good!!! Yaaaaayyyy *cheers*

Oh but then there was that final third and oh what a mess!!!!

This is a book about depression.

Please don’t trivialise such a serious illness!!!

There isn’t an overnight magic cure and waiting for true love’s kiss to take you out of your black little hole does not proper sense make. Sorry, guess I didn’t realise I was reading a reimagined fairytale!!!!!! *not amused face*

I fully appreciate what the author was trying to achieve.
Absolutely.
She wanted hope.
Light.
Good triumphing over evil and all that jazz.

If you are suffering from depression you want to believe there is hope. And you know what? There is. There is always hope. Things can change, you can find new treatment strategies etc. And you can meet someone who helps you by talking and seeing things through another perspective, or maybe you seek medical help and someone shines that light for you, or you can even read a book that rocks your world….

Things do change, and sometimes in the most simplest and surprising of ways, and life truly can and does get better. So the same aim could have been achieved but… That quickly??? That drastically???

This book was so unrealistic in this last third in the manner of how things came about!!

Bye bye contemporary fiction and hello fantasy la-la land with rainbows and unicorns and endless summer days!!! *sighs*

For Aysel to suddenly change her mind about wanting to live and not die because she fell in love with Roman and how he truly saw her… *eye roll*
Yes this was very sweet. Very romantic.

But could she not have changed these same things about her views through I don’t know… Eh friendship??? Medial treatment??? God forbid that we not always involve hormones… *sigh*

Or maybe she could have changed through a deeper understanding with her sister??? There was great potential in that aspect of the story. Two half-sisters, polar opposites. One with a happy, well adjusted Dad and the other without that safe sense of home. Such potential for connection…

Why does everything have to be because of romantic love?? Can we only truly want to live because we fall in love and meet our other half??? Because a knight in shining armour comes along and sees us so differently to how we see ourselves??

NONSENSE!!!

C’mon authors! There are so many variations of love out there, it doesn’t always have to be about that butterfly feeling! And so I am left utterly frustrated because of my issues with the unrealistic setup of the last third of this book. I know I wanted to experience some emotions because of reading this book… Yeah…
Anger wasn’t the one I was going for!!! *furrowed brow*

And another thing! I was at medical appointments this past week where I had to sit in waiting rooms for extended periods of time and yet I chose not to bring this book with me because I thought I would bawl… (And who wants to see a grown woman do that in public!!! #awkward) But not even a tiny glisten of a tear did I shed either…

DRY BARREN DESOLATE TEAR DUCTS!!!

Eh hellooooooooo?????????????? If you want someone to cry at your book then I am your go-to-girl!!!

I always cry.

ALWAYS!!!

It’s common knowledge. I will cry at just about anything. And you would have thought that there would be tears because of the emotive subject matter right????? Well not this time apparently!!!

Sheesh…. I’m fine. FINE!!!

Okay in summation, I didn’t hate *hate* this book… but I certainly didn’t love it or even like it very much either. There are other YA books out there that handle the topic of depression and suicide in a much better, more realistic and sensitive manner in my opinion.

“Maybe it’s all relative, not just light and time like Einstein theorised, but everything. Like life can seem awful and unfixable until the universe shifts a little and the observation point is altered, and then suddenly, everything seems more bearable.”

9 thoughts on “My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga – Book Review

  1. Oh yech. The last third of this book sounds like the perfect way to irritate me right now LOL it’s enough to make me sure I won’t be picking this up. Ugh. *major eye rolling ensues* lol thank u but next!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haven’t read this novel, and I’m definitely not gonna. I totally understand your frustration, I hate when people try to simplify mental illness. It’s usually those same people who say that say that it’s that person’s fault if they have depression and all they have to do is think positively 😠 Anyway, great review 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently read a book with the same issue as you for the last part. Ugh, why do they have to go and ruin it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a shame this one didn’t hit the mark for you. That convenient magical ending would make me so irritable! The all-mighty romance fix is particularly problematic in YA. I wouldn’t want my daughter to hang her worth on a lover’s existence. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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