My Heart and Other Black Holes
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: February 10th 2015
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.