Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes - Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes book cover
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 1, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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--Roman, a teenage boy 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.



If there is one thing that I can highlight as a takeaway from My Heart and Other Black Holes, it is the way that this story endeavors to encourage readers to believe that there is a way out of the “black holes” in their own lives. Many of us, in varying degrees, have felt beaten down, burned, oppressed by the circumstances that we face daily, and Aysel’s story is a reflection of that part of human experience. As a person who constantly strives to remain positive + hopeful in the face of anything negative, this story resonated with me on a very personal level.

There are certainly great moments in My Heart and Other Black Holes, and most often they are the simplest of interactions – a touch, a line, a thought – between Aysel and Roman. Warga crafted two characters with different backgrounds, brought together solely by the sorrow that encourages them to commit to ending their lives. While at first I was hesitant about getting to know these two, it’s undeniable that there is something in both that feels so familiar. They are regular people, filled to the brim with all sorts of emotions; their different backgrounds set them apart from us, but their emotions, their pain, their joy – those things are very universally experienced.

Overall, I feel positive about My Heart and Other Black Holes. It’s got a great underlying message, but doesn’t cross the line that would have made it a preachy novel (though I do think it does toe the line of cliché). It’s not necessarily a novel that I can see myself revisiting in the future. But it certainly was worth a read, if only for the way it left me feeling optimistic at its end.
What gives you hope?

Whenever I feel down in the dumps or particularly hopeless, I have a tendency to fight back by indulging in the things I enjoy. (Take, for instance, the way I fought against despair by reminding myself of good things.) But while empowering songs, inspiring stories and gratitude lists are all very helpful indeed, there is nothing that gives me more hope than the faith I hold so dear. It's because I believe that there is a God who loves me, grants me strength, grace and abundance to persevere that I continue to remain hopeful in all circumstances - and will always stay hopeful.

4 comments:

  1. This is one book I've been wanting to read but the story seems like it has very dark tones. However your review makes it sound a little more hopeful, so I will certainly check it out.

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  2. Just by reading the synopsis it reminds me a lot of The Pact by Jodi Piccoult which is about a teenage boy and girl who make a suicide pact. But the story follows the aftermath of the suicide pact when one lives and one dies. This book sounds more encouraging with a light at the end of the tunnel. Great review :)

    Crystal @ Books Unbound

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  3. Yes! I read a few other reviews that had more of a negative feel but I'm so glad that you loved this one! I really want to read it and I STILL want to read it! I really like the idea of a good message without being too strong even if it is cliche. In contemps, I'm a lot more tolerant on the subject of clichés

    Rad review! <33

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  4. This is such a lovely review, Alexa! I loved this book so so much because just like you, the story, the characters and their emotions just resonated with me! And Jasmine's writing was just beautiful!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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