Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
My Heart and Other Black Holes
Jasmine Warga
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: February 10th 2015
by HarperTeen

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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.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-

My Heart and Other Black Holes delves into the lives of two suicidal teens who make a pact to be each other’s suicide partner. Yes, this novel is messed up and sad and shocking at times to think that someone would want a sort of motivational coach to make sure they achieve death, but suicide pacts do happen, especially with teens, so no matter how effed up this is, it is real and all too heartbreaking. Still, this book is supposed to be an emotional mess, and it really should be considering the subject matter and everything surrounding it, yet I found myself feeling a bit indifferent towards it all.

Suicide is a tough subject to execute in a novel, and while there are some realistic parts, the whole premise (which was basically a how-to on finding a suicide partner and then you add in the “love is the answer” bit..) made me fear for a troubled teen reading this book. I was even uncomfortable at times, especially when it came to the romance. You can’t help but NOT want to root for the romance – because how mismatched is that? Like for instance, Roman would get upset about her maybe not coming through to their promise to kill themselves. He’s supposed to be this character who we know will become a sort of love-interest from the start, and so we should like him, but he comes off as way too selfish! Sorry if you feel she maybe doesn’t want to DIE anymore so you have to do it yourself! Poor you! Plus, the whole “love is a cure” idea is sweet and all, but it didn’t work for me in this book. I felt as if Aysel’s realization came on too suddenly, especially having been told that depression had been with her for a long time. I didn’t see her climb out of the hole she was in, it was just like: boom, I’m not suicidal anymore because I’m in love!

Another aspect I disliked is how the “mysteries” are handled. Her dad is in jail for some major crime that happened. We know this is the reason she’s been depressed, but we’re only given hints of what exactly her dad did at first, making me believe there would be some kind of shocking reveal, here. But the reveal kind of fizzles out when it’s unraveled fairly casually – and there’s no twist, here, it’s exactly what you easily assume it to be. The same could be said about FrozenRobot and his story. I feel like there was some lost potential in both cases. More-so, I felt like hints were dropped to grab our interest but were not really followed through.

With that out of the way, this novel is still beautifully written with sensitive topics that pull you in. I didn’t find it as emotionally compelling as I expected it to be, but I do believe if the romance was not such a big part of her healing that I would have found myself connecting to it much more than I did. It seems like the majority of readers are finding it to be a much more emotional read than I did, so if you like these dark and difficult topics I do recommend you give this one a try.

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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16 Responses to “Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I liked this one more than you did, Giselle, but I completely understand where you’re issues are stemming from. I didn’t even know you could look for suicide partners online and I have to agree with you that it might give teens some horrible ideas. Ultimately, why I loved this one was because it was just so hopeful.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  2. Cynthia

    I just purchased this one and I am excited about reading it. I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it more, but some of your issues seem valid for sure.

  3. Allison

    Suicide is such a tough subject matter – it’s one that should be dealt with because people do struggle with suicidal thoughts, but you really do have to be careful in how you portray it, especially if your primary readers are teenagers. It’s too bad this one didn’t do a great job with the subject matter, and it sounds like the romance plot was totally out of place.

  4. Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger

    Well if the main character is a physics nerd, she would probably know that Energy can’t be created or destroyed . . . so wouldn’t the whole point of this book be for nothing? Lol smart ass comments aside, it sounds pretty good. I might attempt to read it, even though I’m not a big fan of suicide themes.

    • Giselle

      Ha! Actually that’s a pretty regular topic in the book! She wonders what will happen to her after death and she goes on about how energy can’t be destroyed etc so she’ll probably end up floating in energy land or something (I’m sure it made more sense than that but that’s how my science-ineptitude-self remembers it lol!)

  5. Regina Foo

    Thank you Giselle. Your review comes in handy when one of my customers requested to order the book.

    Suicide theme might be a trend in YA books now (same as LGBT) and I recently read All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven that is similar to that but talks more about depression. However, one of the main characters of the book is suicidal too.

    But I’m so shocked to know that there’s actually something called “Suicide Partner”! Wouldn’t it be horrible in giving courage to teens to kill themselves?

    Despite on the possible negativity elements I could get from the book, I would still want to get a copy. I hope by reading it, I could understand why kids want to kill themselves. It’s horrible to even imagine it if it happens to my son.

  6. Kelsey

    I haven’t really been wanting to read this one, and after your review I think I’ll let it wait a bit if I still decide to. I’ve already read some tough subject books this year and I need to read lighter ones for a bit. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hannah

    The ‘love as a cure’ idea is quite problematic, especially when it comes to issues of suicide and mental illness – because that’s absolutely not how it works in real life, and it’s definitely not something that should be perpetuated. But the book is on my TBR pile, so I’ll probably still check it out.

  8. JennRenee

    I haven’t read this book yet but I think I may have the same issues as you did. Love is not a cure to suicide when there is so much more than the lack of love that puts those in the spot to contemplate or choose suicide. Its hard to feel a romance too when the love isn’t right. Love would make one want the one they love to live, with or without themselves. But I am still compelled to read it. curiousity. great review.

  9. ShootingStarsMag

    I do think these topics are important to have in novels, but I don’t really like the “love is the answer” idea either since it doesn’t go along with anything else. Sure, finding a friend or falling for someone can help you, but it won’t save you.

  10. Jovon

    Nice review! Three covert is beautiful but I don’t think I’ll be giving this one a try. I don’t think I’ve read anything so dark but that isn’t why I went be reading. I myself am not an “instant love” fan. Probably because I don’t think I believe in it in real life so I think it would be hard for me to connect to the characters.

    Thanks for the review!

  11. Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

    I’ll be reading this for sure, however, I do not like the sound of the romance, or the fact that there is some at all. *shrugs* I read this book All the Right Places and, instead on focusing on the MC and his mental health, it revolves on the romance way too much, and that ended with me enjoying the book because, seriously, it was SO well-written, but not loving it. Great review, Giselle!! 🙂

  12. Benish K

    This sounds a whole lot like All The Bright Places .. I’m kind of fed up reading about suicidal teenagers and how they find love and they’re “cured.” It upsets me, although, I do appreciate your review. Thank you x