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My Heart and Other Black Holes

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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 on 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.


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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 on 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.

30 review for My Heart and Other Black Holes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    trigger warning for suicide with this book. Where do I even begin? This story was at times hard to read, not because it was bad (it was AMAZING), but because it was so dark. I wanted to dive into this book and lead the characters in a different direction. I'm struggling finding words to express my feelings for this book. I'll just simply say, I loved it. trigger warning for suicide with this book. Where do I even begin? This story was at times hard to read, not because it was bad (it was AMAZING), but because it was so dark. I wanted to dive into this book and lead the characters in a different direction. I'm struggling finding words to express my feelings for this book. I'll just simply say, I loved it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steph Sinclair

    I came really close to DNFing this book at 96% on principle alone because I was fed one thing in the beginning of the novel, only to be force fed something entirely different by the end. My Heart and Other Black Holes had so much potential--a lot of novel accurately described what it feels like to be depressed. So I was expecting a novel about discovering yourself, overcoming depression and finding something to live for. I was excited for it because it's a topic that needs more awareness and und I came really close to DNFing this book at 96% on principle alone because I was fed one thing in the beginning of the novel, only to be force fed something entirely different by the end. My Heart and Other Black Holes had so much potential--a lot of novel accurately described what it feels like to be depressed. So I was expecting a novel about discovering yourself, overcoming depression and finding something to live for. I was excited for it because it's a topic that needs more awareness and understanding. And for about 60% of the book, I got just that, but somewhere along the way, My Heart and Other Black Holes got ridiculously lost and confused. What happened? Be warned: Unhidden spoilers and very personal feelings ahead. Aysel is battling depression in the aftermath of a public tragedy that befell her family. Her father murdered their small town's star athlete, and as a result Aysel carries a burden of guilt of the incident. There's also a part of her that wonders if she, too, will end up like her father. She suffers in silence, never allowing anyone in, even former friends that stood by her after the tragedy, convincing herself that it's for their benefit to not be associated with her. In fact, she's convinced her own mother and siblings would be better off without her, too, going as far to remind her younger sister that they are half-siblings whenever she can. Her pain is real, and as someone who has suffered from depression and social isolation for the past 7 years and anxiety issues for longer than I can remember, I could relate to the "black slug" that she continues to reference throughout the novel. Depression is a hard thing to describe to someone who has never experienced it, and until I personally dealt with it, I can honestly say that I had no idea. Even to this day, I find it difficult to fully explain it to my husband who, bless his little heart, tries his very best to be as understanding as humanly possible. Fully understanding would involve him feeling this heavy thing and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, let alone him. But it's great that he listens and it's even better that he's there and has that want to understand. So as I was reading, I found little quotes that perfectly described feelings that I've felt and I read them out loud to him. Depression is like a heaviness that you can't ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it's in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It's impossible to escape. Aysel's voice felt very true to her situation and worked well with a topic as heavy as this. It never felt like it needed more or less of that something for me to connect with what Aysel was saying because I completely understood where she was coming from. I've been there; I'm still there. What people never understand is that depression isn't about the outside; it's about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head. I also loved how Roman described how he felt about missing his little sister because it reminds me of how I feel when I think of my little brother. The hardest moments are when I miss her in the future. After my brother passed away, for a long time, I had moments where it was like a part of my mind was still in denial. I'd see a commercial and absentmindedly think, "Oh man, wait till I tell Steve about this" and then remember that I couldn't do that and have a long cry. Sometimes I still do that and it hurts so much because life has gone on without him, I've gone on without him, and that feels wrong and unfair. So I completely related to Roman's grief of losing a sibling. And strangely, even though, this book made me remember certain feelings, it never depressed me. It was more like a bunch of "I know that feel, bro" moments while reading. This is where Warga excels in My Heart and Other Black Holes and why the first 50% is so dead on. It's also why I said I was loving it around that marker. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there. Sometimes I just want to have a heart to heart with the book I'm reading. I want to invite it to tea and a spot on my comfy couch and tell them one thing: Look, I know you're a YA novel, but you don't always have to have a romance. With the introduction to Roman, a boy who Aysel finds on a Suicide Partners forum, we get romance. Now, this is partly my fault, because if I actually read blurbs like a normal person before starting a book, I would have seen this part and ran the other way: Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each others' 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. This is problematic for me on so many levels. 1. Romanticization I want to make this clear: I am not saying any of this is authorial intent. As soon as you introduce teenage romance to a a topic as heavy as this, you run this risk of it being romanticized. I saw moments of this when Roman started saying things like: "You're you. You get it. you get all of it. And you're sad like me, and screwed up as that is, it's pretty beautiful." He reaches over and brushes his hand across my face, touching my hair. "You're like a gray sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be." This gave me pause because one of the reasons why Roman liked Aysel was because she was depressed and wanted to kill herself. But I was willing to let this go because at this point it seemed like only Roman had these twisted feelings while Aysel was bothered by it. But he was wrong. It's not that I don't want to be. But I never wanted to be beautiful because I was sad. FrozenRobot of all people should know that there is nothing beautiful or endearing or glamorous about sadness. Sadness is only ugly, and anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't get it. I was further bothered when other characters started pairing the couple off, telling them they looked cute together. But I still had hope because Aysel hadn't completely lost her grip on reality... yet. If I have a boyfriend, his name is Death. And I'm pretty sure Roman is in love with him, too. It's like a love triangle gone wrong. Or maybe it's a love triangle gone right: we both get the guy on April 7. I would have much preferred if the romance was left completely out. What Aysel needed was understanding and a person she could talk to. If there's one thing I've learned about depression, it's that it can't be conquered alone. Having someone who can relate to your own situation, who knows exactly how you're feeling, without having to spell it out to them, is invaluable. I have a person like that in my life and she is amazing and thoughtful and strong and she's probably reading this review right now, wondering if I'm talking about her. (Yes, it's you, Kat.) I literally don't know what I'd do if I had never met her. She is my person. So I get the need for her to connect to someone. It does help, but this needed to be accomplished without romanticizing the situation and it wasn't. It's basically the same way I felt about The Fault in Our Stars : great idea, but the romance distracted from the central conflict and somehow made it all about their love. (Which is why I've been saying that Me, Earl and the Dying Girl is a much better alternative to The Fault in Our Stars.) Introducing this romance cheapened the story and the connection I thought I had to the characters. All of a sudden Roman is kissing Aysel, telling her how he wishes things could be different for them in another universe, but that she better not flake out on him come April 7th, that it changes nothing. It went from Aysel overcoming her demons and finding a reason to live to I'm in love with Roman, but he still wants to kill himself, let me save him with the new found love in my heart. And just no. 2. Love is the Cure-All There comes a point in My Heart and Other Black Holes where Aysel has this AH-HA moment (ironically, sometime after kissing Roman--gag me) and decides she really doesn't want to die after all. Apparently, all it took was someone telling her it wasn't her fault for what her father did and she magically gets over her depression. Why? Because someone she has grown to care about accepted her and changed her in less than a month. There was way too much change in her attitude and outlook on life and not enough catalyst to justify it. That deeply bothered me. I understand that she made a commitment to be stronger than her sadness, it was a great start. But depression is more than just sadness and is not something you can just decide to "get over" one day, especially if you've been suffering for years and are at the point where you are contemplating suicide. If the word "sad" were a bucket, depression would overflow it ten times over. Being depressed isn't a choice, it's a disease, a war within yourself. One where everyday is its own battle. It's not something that can be overcome by love alone. As awesome as that sounds, it's unrealistic. 3. Loose Ends Aysel did have people in her life who was trying to reach out to her before Roman entered into the picture. Instead of the reader seeing Aysel get the closure she's been desperately craving, we get Aysel worried over Roman and his suicide attempt. Of course, this is why the romance felt so out of place and inappropriate to me: it monopolized the central conflict--Aysel's battle--and morphed into it being about Aysel saving Roman with love. What I wanted was more closure with Aysel and her family. I was hoping we'd get to see them visiting her dad, finally letting her sister Georgia into her life, reconnecting with her mother, seeing a doctor for her problems. Asyel's broken family life was one of the biggest things that led to her depression and I was very disappointed to see this not addressed in the end. (Side note: I am scratching my head at Aysel's mother's decision making. She willingly left her daughter with her father knowing that he had violent tendencies? Never reached out to her further when she got remarried and had more kids? And then she was shocked to learn about her depression? Shocked that Aysel didn't come to her? HUH?) By that time I was at 96% of the novel, I wanted to rage quit because I knew the book couldn't pull off what I needed it to. I was right because the final scene is full of Roman in the hospital after his failed suicide attempt and Aysel there confessing her love. "Because loving you saved me. It's made me see myself differently, see the world differently. I owe you everything for that." So much no. My Heart and Other Black Holes could have been amazing. It could have been the book I'd recommend to really help people understand what it feels like to be depressed. The descriptions of grief were spot on and genuine. But the glamorized-suicidal-romantic-teen-love-fest killed any hope of redemption. I love a hope-filled story as much as the next person, and oh how I wish depression could just be cured with a little bit of love. I wish loving my husband and kids and them loving me in return could fix me. Love is a lot of things, but it is not a magic pill. This is real life, and real life is a lot more complicated and messy than that. What My Heart and Other Black Holes does do is give off a false hope with the road it took to achieving it almost impossible to attain. And that, frankly, depresses the hell out of me. ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    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. 3 1/2 stars. This book was pretty much perfect until the big thing that made it not so perfect anymore. However, I still think it's a clever, addicting, sensitive, honest and insightful story about depression, especially in the beginning. It follows the pattern of other 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. 3 1/2 stars. This book was pretty much perfect until the big thing that made it not so perfect anymore. However, I still think it's a clever, addicting, sensitive, honest and insightful story about depression, especially in the beginning. It follows the pattern of other popular books that I didn't enjoy so much - like The Fault in Our Stars and All the Bright Places - but the characters felt more real and less annoyingly pretentious. Plus, I loved the philosophy/physics angle. My Heart and Other Black Holes starts very well. Having suffered with depression at times in my life and seen my mother deal with it too, I can completely relate to Aysel's descriptions of her sadness and inner struggle. Warga apparently wrote this book after the death of her close friend, in order to manage her own emotions and I think it's evident that she understands her subject. Like how the worst of it happens inside of you: What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside; it’s about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head. And the wish to be invisible that sometimes borders on agoraphobia: In these moments, it always feels like my skin is too thin, like everyone can see right inside me, can see my empty and dark insides. When Aysel decides she needs a suicide partner to finally put an end to her misery, she meets up with Roman. Both of them are very different and very realistic. Aysel might be a really smart physics nerd, but her "voice" feels like that of a real person; a real teenager. And Roman is proof that not all depression sufferers are nerdy outsiders and emos. I also really enjoyed the conversation between them - both the serious discussions and the darkly comic aspects. I wondered how the physics theme was going to play into the story and was skeptical about whether I'd like it. As it turns out, I did. I thought the weaving together of philosophy and physics was really interesting. The question about what happens to us when we die is an old one, but I found this take on it refreshing - if energy cannot disappear but can only be transferred, what happens to our energy when we die? My issue with this book started during the last 25%. Warga had built up a strong novel with strong characters who, though bitter, were extremely likable. She'd brought depression, death, life, philosophy and science to the table in an intriguing blend... and then Aysel, um, recovers. I don't know how else to explain it. (view spoiler)[Aysel finally admits she has feelings for Rowan and suddenly, overnight, it's like the depression has started to be washed away: He’s no longer the person I want to die with; he’s the person I want to be alive with. I find this to be many things - lazy, untruthful, even a damaging message. Depression is not something that can be cured overnight. As Aysel noted earlier, it's far more to do with the inner illness than the outer circumstances. I wouldn't go so far as to portray this as a "love cures all" book - personally, I didn't even think it was very romancey - but it completely misrepresents depression and suicidal thinking by suggesting that someone can flick a switch in their brain and decide to be happy and alive. (hide spoiler)] I don't like that suggestion and I needed it to be noted. But I still believe this is a good book. Enjoyable, dark, but funny too. Clever and interesting. I just wish the last 25% had been stronger. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  4. 4 out of 5

    NReads

    You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog! ____________________________________________ “You're like a grey sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be.” ____________________________________________ First of all let's appreciate the cover.And not only this one,but every cover that this book has.They are all so beautifully done,so great job on that. My Heart and Other Black Holes is a contemporary novel,about Aysel and Roman who are different by person You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog! ____________________________________________ “You're like a grey sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be.” ____________________________________________ First of all let's appreciate the cover.And not only this one,but every cover that this book has.They are all so beautifully done,so great job on that. My Heart and Other Black Holes is a contemporary novel,about Aysel and Roman who are different by personality but have the same goal,to commit suicide,and they decide to do it together.As things start to change,feelings start to spark and grow,some minds start to change too,but are they really that hopeless,and is there a way for them to see the light again? I loved this book,as you can see by my rating.I don't give away 5 stars very often,but I had to give it for this one.At first I was not very drawn by the idea.Two teens planning to commit suicide together,I thought it was dull,but lord I was wrong.This is is completely different.Different from other YAs,different from other book who talk about suicide and stuff like that.You have to read it to live it. The characters are down to earth and felt real,real like there are people like them right now in the world,doing the same things as they did,and that's alerting,for me,at least.And I thank the author,so freaking much,for writing this book,because it is a window to the world outside and a message to all the people out there who are thinking that there is no life left for them here.There is,there always is something you can hold on,there is always light left. I don't what to talk more and more because I am afraid I am going to give spoilers away,but please read this.If you are not attracted by the cover(If you are not I don't know what you are) read the book,because it is simply beautiful.So read it:) *Pictures from the review are not mine, I took them mostly from Google images or Tumblr*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    I really enjoyed this. The whole idea of suicide partners provided a very different look at mental illness. I loved the striking honesty and the hope woven throughout the story. Really a great read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Becky Albertalli

    I don't even know where to begin. This is such a special, weird, complicated, beautiful book. I'm a clinical psychologist who spent several years doing therapy almost exclusively with kids and teenagers. This is the book I wish my clients could have read. Aysel's voice is vivid and sad and quietly snarky - she's just so messy and real. She flips the switch from heartbreaking to hilarious in the span of a paragraph. She's sullen and brilliant and frustrating and gorgeously imperfect. Warga nailed I don't even know where to begin. This is such a special, weird, complicated, beautiful book. I'm a clinical psychologist who spent several years doing therapy almost exclusively with kids and teenagers. This is the book I wish my clients could have read. Aysel's voice is vivid and sad and quietly snarky - she's just so messy and real. She flips the switch from heartbreaking to hilarious in the span of a paragraph. She's sullen and brilliant and frustrating and gorgeously imperfect. Warga nailed her portrayal of clinical depression, but even more so, she created an achingly familiar, completely realistic teenage character who isn't defined by diagnostic labels. And then she shows us all the messy, dark stuff that truly is a part of reality for so many kids. I think it's so difficult and terrifying to talk about suicidality in a way that connects with the lived experience of these teens. Warga goes there, fearlessly - and I think this authenticity is so sorely needed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    3.5 stars ⭐️ “Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole - it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.” This was an honest look into teenage suicide. Aysel and Roman meet on an online forum designed for people to find ‘suicide partners’, a person they plan to commit suicide with. It took a while for me to like the main characters, it seems I’m that way with all characters - I can never like someone immediately. After a few chapters I b 3.5 stars ⭐️ “Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole - it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.” This was an honest look into teenage suicide. Aysel and Roman meet on an online forum designed for people to find ‘suicide partners’, a person they plan to commit suicide with. It took a while for me to like the main characters, it seems I’m that way with all characters - I can never like someone immediately. After a few chapters I began to understand their personalities. “This must be a sign from the universe - if the only time you get lucky is when you’re planning your suicide, it’s definitely time to go.” We follow Aysel and Roman as they makes their plans, and we learn about their histories and why they both want to die. Earlier this year I read All The Bright Places and it’s hard not to compare the two as they have such similar themes. I have to say though I think I preferred ATBP over this one as it seems to push the idea that falling in love cures your sadness; which just isn’t the case. However, I very much felt the pain of both the characters. They had both gone through very traumatic situations and their isolation was overpowering. “It’s like your sadness is so deep and overwhelming that you’re worried it will drown everyone else in your life if you let them too close to it.” I enjoyed their different personalities and how they grew closer, I just don’t think it had quite the depth that ATBP had. “There is nothing beautiful or endearing or glamorous about sadness. Sadness is only ugly...that girl he drew, she was beautiful. She had hope. Hope is beautiful.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sue (Hollywood News Source)

    Review and playlist posted at Young Adult Hollywood. Disclaimer: I spent 90% of my time gross sobbing to the point I had to dry my tears, because I couldn't read what I was supposed to be reading. “I bet if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out. Guidance counselors always love to say, “Just think positively,” but that’s impossible when you have this thing inside of you, strangling every ounce of happiness you can muster. My body is an efficient happy-thought-killi Review and playlist posted at Young Adult Hollywood. Disclaimer: I spent 90% of my time gross sobbing to the point I had to dry my tears, because I couldn't read what I was supposed to be reading. “I bet if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out. Guidance counselors always love to say, “Just think positively,” but that’s impossible when you have this thing inside of you, strangling every ounce of happiness you can muster. My body is an efficient happy-thought-killing machine.” If I could be a book or if there's a story in the world that could describe some part of me as a person, My Heart and Other Black Holes is one of the few titles I would say yeah, this book contains a part of me. As far as I could remember, I have always been struggling with depression. It's something that doesn't really go away. Yeah, it comes and goes once in a while, but there is no cure for it. The underlining: it isn't always going to be like that. Eventually, I learned to calm the fire rage inside me. There are some given moments, I realized there are a lot of things worth living for. This is why, I feel so grateful to read something that I can identify with. I wish, this book existed when I was in high school. It would have saved me countless of nights crying myself to sleep. In My Heart and Other Black Holes, we have Aysel a teenager who is struggling with depression. She wanted to die and has been plotting her own death. But she’s scared, she’s going to flake the last minute. And upon discovering a website called Suicide Partners, she met FrozenRobert who also wanted to die. They made a pact to do it together. But as they get closer to their deadline date, Aysel begins to question if dying is really worth it. The characters and romance: I love every character from this book. It’s like watching The Red Band Society, there is so much love going on. These bunch of flawed people are authentic and poignant. Be prepared to swoon and cry. Contrary to popular belief, My Heart and Other Black Holes is not just a morbid book that will make you shed tears. It is also a chock-full story filled with humor and snark. Why you should read it: If you are struggling with depression, or are friends or related to someone who is and you wanted to be enlighten. Then maybe, this book is for you. As for someone who constantly grapple with her struggles, I relate to My Heart and Other Black Holes a lot, in some little ways and more. Like all things, it is not a book without flaws and shortcoming. Bravo to Jasmine Warga for acknowledging depression is something that is not beautiful. It’s awful, and fucking ugly. It’s something that no one should glamorize. My Heart and Other Black Holes is dark, filled with so much hope. It is profoundly moving that dealt with depression realistically.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    4 stars! “Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole--it's so dense that there's no room for light, but that doesn't mean it can't still suck me in.” 
My Heart and Other Black Holes was a unique and at times painful YA read about dealing with depression and guilt. I felt that this story very accurately displayed what it’s like to feel that kind of depression and the desperation that comes along with it. It’s about Asyel and Roman and the battle they’re both facing. Asyel 4 stars! “Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole--it's so dense that there's no room for light, but that doesn't mean it can't still suck me in.” 
My Heart and Other Black Holes was a unique and at times painful YA read about dealing with depression and guilt. I felt that this story very accurately displayed what it’s like to feel that kind of depression and the desperation that comes along with it. It’s about Asyel and Roman and the battle they’re both facing. Asyel and Roman don’t have much in common. Besides the fact that they both want to die. This is a heavy story. It tackles sensitive topics and it won’t be for everyone, but it sucked me in from the start. I didn’t want to put it down. And even with all the heavy, there were funny moments, moments that felt hopeful and full of promise. Everyone has something or someone worth living for. Even people in the darkest of places. It’s just finding out what it is. 

I found this to be an emotional, powerful read with beautifully broken characters and a storyline that made me feel from start to finish! I would recommend this one to lovers of YA looking for something less on the fluffy/fun side. “He’s no longer the person I want to die with; he’s the person I want to be alive with.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤

    *Roman's turn for 2015 favorite re-read!!!* :P "Be careful," he says. "Why?" I’m not thinking about being careful. I’m thinking about one last push, of letting go, of flying, and of falling. “You aren’t allowed to die without me,” he whispers. *Indiscernible noise* Did you hear that? What’s that, you ask? That noise….what is that noise??? Let me tell you what that noise is: That’s the sound of my heart beating, my soul soaring, my spirits shining blindingly bright, my fangirl screeching… *Roman's turn for 2015 favorite re-read!!!* :P "Be careful," he says. "Why?" I’m not thinking about being careful. I’m thinking about one last push, of letting go, of flying, and of falling. “You aren’t allowed to die without me,” he whispers. *Indiscernible noise* Did you hear that? What’s that, you ask? That noise….what is that noise??? Let me tell you what that noise is: That’s the sound of my heart beating, my soul soaring, my spirits shining blindingly bright, my fangirl screeching….That, my lovely Goodread friends, is the sound of me falling head over heels in love with yet another book. But no, hear me out. This isn’t simply just a book, this is the book that I have been staring at for months…MONTHS. I don’t do sad books, ya hear? Never. Nada. No way, Jose. I HATE SOBBING UNCONTROLLABLY for senseless sadness with no happy ending-Capiche? But for some reason…this book continued to call to me. I won’ t lie and say it has the best reviews ever-it doesn’t. I also won’t go so far as to say it has horrible reviews-it really, truly doesn’t. What we have here, folks, is a case of what you are looking for in a book and what you are willing to accept in a book. I guess…I guess I just didn’t know what I was looking for. When I saw this book, it was insta-love at it’s finest. Chelsea sees cover, Chelsea falls in love. Simple. Chelsea reads blurb? Chelsea falls in love….except for that teeny tiny detail, hmm, what was it? Oh yeah-this book centered around two suicidal teens. Yikes…Heavy much? Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape. So what did I do next? I did what I always do: I researched the shit out of this book. But not before I hastily exited out of the browser once I saw ‘suicide pact.’ I will admit I’m a morbidly curious person, and I refuse to read sad, overly-hyped books simply because I don’t want to cry into my cheerios for the hell of it. I’ve never understood the people who can do that shit over and over again…I mean, fuck, don’t we have enough sadness in this world? Why put yourself through that? I still don’t get it-even now. And yet….After jumping out of the browsing history, I found myself relentlessly going back to this book every week or two-It was like clockwork. So, like a stupid cat, I let my curiosity get the best of me and I began my extensive (yet careful-I’ve mastered the art of being thorough in my research without spoiling MUAHAHA) research on whether this book was ‘Chelsea safe’. My head told me stay away, continually. But my heart wanted more. 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. My point? After months and months and weeks and weeks of being a total poonanner about this book, I took the plunge-I one clicked the sonuvabitch and set a date to read it. I was nervous, admittedly, being the way I am about my book characters. Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows I find a deep, visceral connection with them-Almost always. And, even more so, I add new bbfs to my list like, well, books to my TBR pile. So, getting back to the point of me getting to the point-I am so glad I listened to my heart. My whole face burns and my stomach clenches and unclenches like a fist. It’s not like I feel guilty-after all, it’s not my fault her son wants to kill himself. But I didn’t exactly want to meet his family. This is the soccer mom problem I was trying to avoid. Two strikes against FrozenRobot-a pet turtle and a loving mom. If I were pickier, I’d say he had too much baggage. But considering my situation, I’m in no position to be choosy. This book was something special to me. No, I don’t have a history with depression, nor do I really, truly know someone who suffers from it. You can call me out on this, that’s for sure. But I think there are so many books where people can cry ‘You don’t know anything about […] so how can you say this is good or bad or accurate?’ Well, I can’t-But what I can tell you is how beautiful it was. How the writing flowed seamlessly from page to page and pulled you in so deep you felt like you were wading in honey because it was so smooth and flawless and, shockingly….sweet. This book, this book I had avoided for months on end because I thought the darkness would swallow me whole, was sweet. And this is exactly why Roman didn’t want a flake. But he ended up with a flake. A grade-A flake. Though, it’s his fault. He’s the one who turned me into one. But how can that be, you ask?? This book is about two depressed teens who have a literal date set to commit suicide. And God do I know that it feels wrong to talk about this like its no big deal because ‘it’s just a book.’ No, it’s not like that to me. It’s a big deal-Suicide is not a joke. It’s not about fictionalizing a dark, heavy matter for the sake of making some money for a story, it’s not about shedding fake, positive light about something that families suffer from every day, and it breaks my heart that people actually feel this way. To feel like there is no way out, that the only answer for suffering is to end your life-I don’t take that shit lightly, and it kills me that people don’t find that help they need before it’s too late. But this is a book, and I guess if I had to say one thing about it…..it felt real. It felt wholly authentic to me, and not once did I feel it was contrived or misplaced in it’s message. It was dark, morbid, and relentless in the ultimate end result-they wanted to do this, and not a chapter went by without this reminder. But it was also so full of hope, humor, longing, and a desire for things to be different than they were/are. All of a sudden, I realize what that shadowy something is. It’s joy. FrozenRobot loves basketball. He loves playing it. No matter how hard he tries to push that joy away, it’s there. I wonder if joy has potential energy. Or if there is potential energy that leads to joy, like a happiness serum that lingers in people’s stomachs and slowly bubbles up to create the sensation we know as happiness. And I think that is ultimately why this book called to me even as all the others repelled me-I’m not out to get some sick kick from these teenagers’ suffering. I felt the hope shining through all the darkness…and I saw that there was a possible happy ending for these two. Most of the books you see with this subject matter scream ‘You. Will. Cry.’ And, again, that’s not why I choose to read. I choose to read because I want to escape reality and find solace in the pages of something that I know nothing about, if only to expand my mind in ways I never dreamed possible. And that is the definition of this book for me-While I have never suffered from depression myself, I feel, if only a little bit, like I got a good, hard look into the mind of two young teens who were depressed…And now, just maybe, I’ll think twice before discarding these signs in the future. I felt a deep, visceral connection not only to Aysel, but to Roman, as well. These two were beyond words to me-I loved them for their beautiful, broken minds. I cried for their vulnerability and aches so deep that the pain was unbearable-but invisible to the eye. And I hated them for their selfishness-for not seeing the effect they were going to have on other people when they were gone. But, admittedly, I didn’t hate them-not even a little bit, not even at all. ;) (Eh? Eh? Name that moviiiie) I guess he’s right: I am a flake. But maybe meeting Roman has helped me to understand myself better. Yes, I’m broken. And yes, he’s broken. But the more we talk about it, the more we share our sadness, the more I start to believe that there could be a chance to fix us, a chance that we could save each other. Now that I’ve lost the majority of you (Come back? Pleeeease?) I absolutely have to talk about these characters who touched my soul. Like Aysel, the girl who had no one to turn to at her darkest hour, who feared what she would become because of her father’s actions; the girl who walked through the hallways trying to dodge the whispering and murmurs and venomous accusations. This young girl who, despite what we are always taught…saw no other way out. Aysel was a dark person-and with that darkness was a humor that somehow managed to lighten her. Her mind, while toxic with her intentions, was a quirky minefield of intelligent musings about physics and classical music. While it was harsh at first to hear how bleak she was about what her life was leading to, I eventually found solace in her mind because she really and truly was an intelligent and accomplished girl who had so much to live for…Even if she couldn’t see it. He’s no longer FrozenRobot, my suicide partner from the internet. He’s Roman, the boy who kissed me by the river and held me all night. To me, there’s a difference. A big difference. He’s no longer the person I want to die with; he’s the person I want to be alive with. And then Roman-Aka FrozenRobot. Lmao, while the name probably isn’t supposed to be funny, Aysel’s quips about it inside her mind cracked me up from the moment we first see that name. But, seriously-My dear, tortured Roman. Roman was by far the darkest of the two-The most serious, the most dedicated to what was coming…the most determined to follow through….it was tragic. It feels weird and wrong to say I was obsessed with Roman but…I was. His pain and heartache were palpable from the moment we first meet him. But, even more than that, he wasn’t what you’d expect: Popular, athletic, and smothered with love from an overprotective mother. I just…I can’t. I can’t even. I adored him. I adored his story. I adored his personality, his kindness, his protectiveness of Aysel, and his longing to know her…even as the days before their pact wore down like sand in an hourglass. I wonder if that’s how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out. People might even say I’m belittling the story’s message by saying how much I loved their romance- I don’t give a fuck . This romance was heart-stopping, butterfly inducing, I-can’t-breathe-because-of-the-feels addicting…and I’m not ashamed nor embarrassed to tout that. I believe, despite the probably unpopular opinion, that the romance is what made them begin to heal-what gave them hope. Hope that someone finally understood them, understood the pain of what it feels like to be utterly crushed and like your soul was being sucked into a black vortex of nothingness every single day of your life. Romance doesn’t solve the whole world’s problems…but finding a friend who understands you, who loves you for who you are? I believe, in my heart of hearts, that this makes a huge difference in a person’s well-being-depressed or not. That’s MY opinion, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I adored them together…and I adored them separately. Their message stirred something deep inside of me, and I won’t likely forget it for a long time. When Aysel starts to realize life just might be worth living….will she be able to pull Roman off the ledge before it’s too late? "You’re like a gray sky. You’re beautiful, even though you don’t want to be.” I’m not going to spoil their fates…that would be wrong of me. But I think it needs to be said that, not every book has to end in tragedy to make a big impact or for you to love it-and I know most people aren’t like that-like me, and my closest friends, for instance. But I must say, I see the best ratings popping up for tragic books. And let me ask you this….if that person hadn’t died or this or that hadn’t happened….Would it still have been epic in your eyes? Unforgettable? Astounding? I see this a lot and I just had to say that. This book, whether tragic or not, was alluring and addicting from page one. There was never a dull or boring moment, and the story never dragged. The writing flowed smoothly and the book was over in a blur-it was never a chore to finish this, even as the scary possibility of what was to come drew nearer. Quite the opposite, in fact. I literally, I kid you not, could. Not. Stop. Thinking. About. This. Book. It was midnight when I picked it up, and had to put it down at 50%-literally, I had to force myself-to savor the last 50%. I wasn’t even tired. I just couldn’t ruin what was possibly one of my favorite books this year by cramming it all into one late night sitting. Everything used to seem so final, inevitable, predestined. But now I’m starting to believe that life may have more surprises in store than I ever realized. Maybe it’s all relative, not just light and time like Einstein theorized, 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. So, it’s all up to what you’re looking for, really. Me? I was looking for something to touch me on a deeper level, looking for something that made me feel-and not in the perilous kind of way, for once. I just wanted authentic, real characters who had actual problems….and I got it. I will never support the real act-It’s just my personal belief-but this book….it touched my heart in ways I never imagined possible. And for that, I will be eternally grateful. (Again, name that movviieee :P) For more of my reviews, please visit:

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aj the Ravenous Reader

    3.5 stars rounded up because it’s my last book review for 2016 ^^ It is my steadfast personal principle that my life is never mine to take and it’s why I try to avoid books on suicide as much as possible but I’ve heard a lot of good things about My Heart and Other Black Holes and I got really intrigued with the idea on “suicide partners” so I took the plunge and I could now say that it was totally worth the risk. The two characters in the story make me empathize with their causes because they bel 3.5 stars rounded up because it’s my last book review for 2016 ^^ It is my steadfast personal principle that my life is never mine to take and it’s why I try to avoid books on suicide as much as possible but I’ve heard a lot of good things about My Heart and Other Black Holes and I got really intrigued with the idea on “suicide partners” so I took the plunge and I could now say that it was totally worth the risk. The two characters in the story make me empathize with their causes because they believe there is no other better course in life than to end their own. Although I think the story lacks better resolutions on several conflicts and that the turning point and conclusion sort of just happened in a nearly fairytale like fashion, I think this is a significantly unique debut novel about two people who met at the darkest times of their lives written in a very smart and witty manner that readers would enjoy despite the sad themes. I knew I had good reason to empathize with the characters because they do grow in the story. Although their resolve to end their lives is as stiff as an unwashed sock for three years, knowing each other brought a change to both their lives whether they acknowledge it or not and that simple change is really all it takes to make a difference. I think many of our young people today heavily seek validation and acceptance from society- others even depend their lives on it. The story reminds us however how flimsy and unreliable it is to always seek other people’s approval to prove your self-worth when all you really need is the acceptance and love of the people you love and those who truly matter to you. The book also reminds that there are still many kindhearted people out there. It’s just sometimes we tend to think the worst of other people when often, many of them (even strangers) genuinely care. ;) Happy early birthday,my lovely friend, Chelsea. I wish you a wonderful 2017 with your family. Here’s my baby Leo to render you a birthday dance number.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    4 stars! “Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” Sixteen year old Aysel is ready to die. Thrown in the aftermath of her father’s actions, she has been shunned and pulled away from everyone close in her life. An outcast at school and in her own home, Aysel has been spending her time browsing suicide websites where she meets Roman. They make a pact to kill themselves on a specific day, and in order to keep up pretenses for their f 4 stars! “Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” Sixteen year old Aysel is ready to die. Thrown in the aftermath of her father’s actions, she has been shunned and pulled away from everyone close in her life. An outcast at school and in her own home, Aysel has been spending her time browsing suicide websites where she meets Roman. They make a pact to kill themselves on a specific day, and in order to keep up pretenses for their families, they begin to spend time together. “You're like a grey sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be.” I’m not normally one for the teen suicide genre, I find I cannot relate often times and cannot understand the desire to take one’s own life. Imagine my surprise when my heart just bled for Aysel and Roman and each of their situations. Aysel brought my eyes to tears multiple times in the beginning of this book. She was thrust into a horrible life situation very suddenly, the actions of her father ruining her life and the lives of others. She’s shunned by her classmates at school, and she stays away from those trying to be nice to her because she doesn’t want them hurt by association. Her family doesn’t know how to reach her, and at times it seems like they don’t want to. Roman had an equally horrific reason for wanting to take his own life, one shrouded in guilt I couldn’t even begin to understand. As a romantic interest, he wasn’t my favorite because while he accepted Aysel and didn’t judge her, he also didn’t seem to have her best interests at heart. In fact he was a lot more invested in the pact than he was in a friendship with Aysel. “Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.” I picked up this book and couldn’t put it back down. Reading this book you wouldn’t think this was a debut novel by this author. I honestly think her books will only continue to get better based on the great quality of this first book. Aysel was my favorite part of this book, I never at any point felt her feelings were unjustified, even if her turn around was fairly quick. This is a young adult novel that I feel will stand the test of time. “I will be stronger than my sadness.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    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 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. -- An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review. For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    The beginning of this book was really difficult for me to read, but I'm really glad I stuck with it because I ended up really loving this story. The beginning of this book was really difficult for me to read, but I'm really glad I stuck with it because I ended up really loving this story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ✦❋Arianna✦❋

    3.5 Stars!! If you didn’t know depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. It affects more than 121 million people worldwide. It is not uncommon for depressed individuals to have thoughts about suicide whether or not they really intend to act on these thoughts. “My Heart and Other Black Holes” is a book about depression, overcoming it 3.5 Stars!! If you didn’t know depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. It affects more than 121 million people worldwide. It is not uncommon for depressed individuals to have thoughts about suicide whether or not they really intend to act on these thoughts. “My Heart and Other Black Holes” is a book about depression, overcoming it, discovering yourself and ultimately finding something to live for. I haven’t read many books about this mental disorder, but I have to say this author did a great job describing how it is to be a teenager who struggles with this mental disorder. “What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside; it’s about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head.” Our heroine is Aysel, a 16 years old girl who doesn’t want to live anymore. She suffers from depression, fantasizing about it and wondering what dying feels like. She feels guilty because her father is what he is and because of what he did. She feels humiliated, she’s lonely and she thinks the world would be better without her since she believes she will end up like her father. She doesn’t have friends, she’s not close with her mother or her step-siblings, never allowing anyone in. Aysel decides she needs a suicide partner. On Smooth Passages, a website for people who wants to die she meets FrozenRobot aka Roman, a 17 years old boy who decides like Aysel to give up. “...he looks like someone who was designed to be popular and successful, but he also looks like someone who was made to wear grief.” Roman doesn’t look like someone who wants to kill himself, he has a loving family and he also has friends. He still has dreams, but he believes he doesn’t deserve to live. As the story progresses Aysel and Roman plan how to kill themselves getting to know each other in the process. They become some sort of friends and maybe they would have become something more if the reality would have been different. “Maybe it’s all relative, not just light and time like Einstein theorized, 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.” Honestly this book was dark, sad and almost depressing. Like I mentioned before the author did a great job portraying Aysel’s character. She suffers from depression, but she’s a very likeable heroine and I loved her snarky personality. She felt real, her pain felt real and I’m sure many readers who suffered or still suffers from this mental disorder will relate with her. Roman is a character I liked, almost the entire time reading this novel. IMO he’s not as developed like Aysel's character and the way he is at times irritated me a little. I felt for him, I did, but at times he felt a little...selfish I guess. I loved how easily the two of them interacted with each other. From the beginning I felt their connection and I enjoyed their dialogue for the most part. I also loves the philosophy/physics aspect of the story and all the classical music references. I found this aspects very refreshing and not only for a YA. Even if the subject matter is tough and emotional, there’s some romance here. And I liked the romance aspect of the story. What I didn’t like was the idea that love can change everything and who you are. I didn’t buy it! It’s nice to think love conquers all or that love is the answer for everything, but let’s face it, is not very realistic. It goes without saying Aysel’s realization came too suddenly. From that point everything felt rushed. Also I wanted to know what happened with Aysel’s father or how ‘the talk’ between Aysel and her mother changed their relationship or if their family’s dynamic changed somehow. And epilogue whould have been nice! Overall, a great read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    Before reading MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, I never expected that a book about a teen suicide pact could be so full of hope. And yet, that's exactly what I felt while reading it. Of course, it was the *heartbreaking* sort of hope, the kind where I grew to love Aysel and Roman, two characters who have so much passion and potential, yet direct that energy toward their mutual goal: helping each other die. Watching Aysel and Roman get to know each other was such a good reminder that the way we se Before reading MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, I never expected that a book about a teen suicide pact could be so full of hope. And yet, that's exactly what I felt while reading it. Of course, it was the *heartbreaking* sort of hope, the kind where I grew to love Aysel and Roman, two characters who have so much passion and potential, yet direct that energy toward their mutual goal: helping each other die. Watching Aysel and Roman get to know each other was such a good reminder that the way we see ourselves isn't always reliable. That we should be wary of letting guilt and shame become dark clouds we define ourselves by—because, for every dark cloud, there are silver linings of empathy, tenderness, a sense of humor, artistic talent, kindness toward animals, love, and so much more. That, sometimes, all it takes is a connection with someone who gets us to show us we're not as alone as we think we are. I think this will be an important book in the world because it has the potential to BE that connection for those who are reluctant to talk with an actual human about the dark clouds that haunt them—through Aysel and Roman, perhaps they will finally find someone to identify with. If this book shows just one person that their unique life is worth living, or takes the weight out of the burdens they carry, it will be a wonderful thing. I suspect, though, it will be a much-needed ray of light for far more than just one person.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Greta G

    This is a bittersweet story about two teenagers who are depressed, isolated and suicidal. They meet on a website and become partners in suicide. In addition to this, the story touches upon divorce, parental neglect, bullying, murder and mental illness. Aysel has to deal with the consequences of a terrible thing her father did, while Roman is crushed by guilt for causing a tragic accident. In the face of all these adversities, isolation, shame, depression and suicidal thoughts are unsurprising co This is a bittersweet story about two teenagers who are depressed, isolated and suicidal. They meet on a website and become partners in suicide. In addition to this, the story touches upon divorce, parental neglect, bullying, murder and mental illness. Aysel has to deal with the consequences of a terrible thing her father did, while Roman is crushed by guilt for causing a tragic accident. In the face of all these adversities, isolation, shame, depression and suicidal thoughts are unsurprising corollaries. They both feel their lives are ruined and they’re unworthy of love. In spite of all these unpleasant and sensitive topics, this rather well-written book was an engaging, easy read. Although the author succeeded in describing the sadness and pain of her two young characters accurately for the most part of the book, I couldn’t feel their torment. The book only left me feeling underwhelmed and conflicted about my own lack of compassion in the face of so much tragedy and unhappiness. The tone of the book was set early on : “There’s something poetic about the fact that the first boy to ever ask for my number is the same boy I’m going to die with.” From that point on, the novel became sentimentally predictable to me. Nevertheless I didn’t stop hoping for a realistic, satisfying ending, but what I got was a melodramatic one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    spencer

    “Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.” __________________________________ This book will get under your skin and live inside you. It is tragic, empowering (it has a few hopeful moments), and beautiful. I can not get enough of this book. It's truly incredible. 1) The Plot Si “Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.” __________________________________ This book will get under your skin and live inside you. It is tragic, empowering (it has a few hopeful moments), and beautiful. I can not get enough of this book. It's truly incredible. 1) The Plot Sixteen year old Aysel has been suffering depression ever since her father committed an awful crime. It's gotten to the point where the only way out of her sadness is to end it all. So, she decides she wants to commit suicide. She can't do it alone, so she finds a website dedicated to help people kill themselves and to find a person who's willing to kill themselves with Aysel. Whenever she finds Roman-the guy who is willing to kill himself with her-, they have nothing in common. But eventually their path becomes more concrete, and Aysel questions if she wants to actually do it. So, just from the synopsis alone, one can tell that this is a serious book that deals with serious topics. This book is so dark, and it deals with mental-illness in a way that is incredibly truthful, and as someone who fights depression and has multiple suicide attempts, this book is insanely accurate. A lot of books have delved into mental illness, especially the topic of depression and suicide, just to name a few: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (which I honestly didn't enjoy) and I Was Here by Gayle Forman (which I also didn't like). So, I was hesitant to see if this book would be like those two or if it could stand on its own, and it did. This book also made me cry in the last 100 pages or so multiple times. If you are struggling with suicidal urges, please tell someone immediately or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255 I'm not going to say it gets better, but life is worth fighting for, and if you kill yourself, you'll never know what might have been. 2) The Characters Aysel - She is one to the most incredible protagonists I've ever read from. Her whole story is heartbreaking, and she's just so lost, and you desperately want her to find herself. Roman - Likewise with Roman, he is incredibly broken after a dramatic event in his life. Both of the characters are easy to relate to, especially if you're dealing with depression. Their story broke my heart, and I am so eager to read anything else this woman writes. 3) The Writing - “Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole--it's so dense that there's no room for light, but that doesn't mean it can't still suck me in.” - “It's like your sadness is so deep and overwhelming that you're worried it will drown everyone else in your life if you let them too close to it.” - "I bet if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out.” - “He was fucking sad. That's it. That's the point. He knows life is never going to get any different for him. That there's no fixing him. It's always going to be the same monotonous depressing bullshit. Boring, sad, boring, sad. He just wants it to be over.” 4) Conclusion This book changed me and how I see things. ★★★★★/5 Stars!!!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    Wow, was not expecting for this book to have hit me as hard as it did. First of all, trigger warnings for suicide. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD Secondly, this is a tragic, heavy, but beautiful story about Aysel and Roman who have been affected by a loss of a loved one. For Aysel, it was her father who was imprisoned due to killing someone. Roman lost his younger sister due to a tragic accident that he blames himself for. Strangely, they both blame themselves for those incidents. Subsequently, they meet o Wow, was not expecting for this book to have hit me as hard as it did. First of all, trigger warnings for suicide. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD Secondly, this is a tragic, heavy, but beautiful story about Aysel and Roman who have been affected by a loss of a loved one. For Aysel, it was her father who was imprisoned due to killing someone. Roman lost his younger sister due to a tragic accident that he blames himself for. Strangely, they both blame themselves for those incidents. Subsequently, they meet on a website where one looks for a suicide partner. They meet and agree on a date. As the date of their planned suicide gets closer, things begin to change. Now, I know a lot of people hate this 'trope' of love making it better and I can't speak for clinical depression fully either (or suicide), though I went through something myself. But, love doesn't make the depression and the suicidal thoughts go away in this instance. They're acknowledged as something that will be constant. However, this is a personal story to the author. I appreciated how she explored depression and suicide. How she highlighted that this constant feeling of sadness isn't beautiful, neither does it make anyone interesting. But, it becomes a way for both characters to connect. To finally be understood and TALK to someone about what they've been facing. Their personal darkness. And feel a spark of hope, and coming to their own conclusion that they might not be how they see themselves, giving them the encouragement to see life slightly differently. To look for help and confide in their families. That the battle of depression most likely will never end, but that life might not be so bad after all. I cried a few times. There were just some moments that I could fully relate to and that I needed to read. I appreciated that this book included resources that others could use who battle depression and have suicidial thoughts. Just a beautiful, enlightening read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Swaroop

    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~Marcel Proust A wonderful love story about how to fall in love with life! This is the beautiful story of Aysel Leyla Seran. "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." I wish you all a very kinetic and beautiful life. The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~Marcel Proust A wonderful love story about how to fall in love with life! This is the beautiful story of Aysel Leyla Seran. "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." I wish you all a very kinetic and beautiful life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Éimhear (A Little Haze)

    "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 t "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 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 unfortunately. 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!!! (view spoiler)[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. Suddenly things in your life can change, I truly want to believe that and do believe that. 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??? 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! (hide spoiler)] And so I had to dock a whole star off my rating because of my issues with the unrealistic setup of the last third of this book. I'm sorry! 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 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 this book... but I didn't love it either. It landed somewhere in the awkward middle; just not middle enough that I could award it three stars. There are other YA books out there that handle the topic of depression and suicide in a much better and more realistic manner in my opinion. two stars "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." one year later Lowering my rating because the memory of this book offends me. Not to mention the handling of mental illness and its "cure"..... *shudders* one star

  22. 5 out of 5

    beautyliterate

    "Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” Oh where to begin... I loved how simple it was, how real it was, and how I was able to connect with it. The amount of times I had to take breaks from reading this book was ridiculous. I found with each page I was captivated by the story. Jasmine Warga handled the topics of depression and suicide perfectly by expressing the rawness of both situations. I know I will be rereading this book so many more "Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” Oh where to begin... I loved how simple it was, how real it was, and how I was able to connect with it. The amount of times I had to take breaks from reading this book was ridiculous. I found with each page I was captivated by the story. Jasmine Warga handled the topics of depression and suicide perfectly by expressing the rawness of both situations. I know I will be rereading this book so many more times and I would highly recommend this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara (sarawithoutanH)

    I really liked Aysel as a narrator but ultimately I had issues with this book. I keep changing this review because the more I think about this book, the more I don't like it. I'll list them below in a spoiler section. (view spoiler)[I'm not an expert on depression, but I felt like the ending was a bit happy-go-lucky for what the tone had been earlier in the book. I thought the resolution was very sudden and every problem in the book seemed to right itself magically. It was a solid book for me up I really liked Aysel as a narrator but ultimately I had issues with this book. I keep changing this review because the more I think about this book, the more I don't like it. I'll list them below in a spoiler section. (view spoiler)[I'm not an expert on depression, but I felt like the ending was a bit happy-go-lucky for what the tone had been earlier in the book. I thought the resolution was very sudden and every problem in the book seemed to right itself magically. It was a solid book for me up until the last 50 pages or so. It just didn't ring true to me as an ending. It seemed like a switch went off and then everyone was just happy again. A romantic relationship can't just solve your depression. I think the ending sort of trivialized how hard it is to get over depression, especially for a character like Aysel who had been struggling with it for years. I also didn't like how the characters both had extremely terrible backstories. I don't have an issue with the backstories themselves, more that they implied you have to have some terrible reason as to why you're depressed. (hide spoiler)]

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (Love at First Page)

    I wonder if that's how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out. Wow. What a powerful and painful and beautiful book, though not at all in the way I was expecting. This book pretty much snuck up on me. It's normally not a "me" book anyway (depressing subject matter = Danielle runs for the hills), and halfway through I wasn't sure where it was going. It's actually quite funny thanks to a snarky narrator, but it seemed almost aimless. Somew I wonder if that's how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out. Wow. What a powerful and painful and beautiful book, though not at all in the way I was expecting. This book pretty much snuck up on me. It's normally not a "me" book anyway (depressing subject matter = Danielle runs for the hills), and halfway through I wasn't sure where it was going. It's actually quite funny thanks to a snarky narrator, but it seemed almost aimless. Somewhere along the way, though, it pulled me into its orbit. It happened so subtly and gradually that I was almost suprised when tears were tracking down my cheeks. Now that's what I call a meaningful reading experience. I think, for me, I expected Jasmine Warga's debut to be very difficult to read and sad and heavy, from beginning to end. Like The Sea of Tranquility. So when that didn't happen, I had to recalibrate my expectations. Now having read it all the way through, I'm grateful that such a heavy subject matter was treated with sensitivity and frankness, but not in a way that made it hard for me to concentrate on anything but that aching feeling and a sense of dread. The heart and soul of this book are its characters, and I ended up caring for them so much. I could see the black holes they had fallen into, but I could see the light for them too, and I was hoping they'd find it. Don't get me wrong, Asyel and Roman's stories aren't anything but painful; Roman's especially killed me. And in no way is depression romanticized or trivialized. It's a very real issue that the book treats with all seriousness. There's just more that both characters realize they can give and fight for. I never felt like all hope was lost, which I greatly needed. The book begins with two teenagers meeting because they agree to be suicide partners. Asyel (her name rhymes with gazelle) and Roman are suffering for very different reasons, but their pain looks the same. For this reason the bond that forms between them is both genuine and intimate. It was almost strange for me, because I knew they were still planning to commit suicide together, but I loved seeing their relationship develop. It's not like they get along all that perfectly, but they clearly start to care about each other. Their interactions have a sweetness to them; soft, unexpected touches and quiet confessions and acceptance. Maybe this is a little bit of "love is a cure", but it was believable to me. There is no instant healing or answers, but slowly the blackness starts to leak out of them and love is what's left. I think what makes these characters so special to me is their togetherness, the way each sees the other, if that makes any sense. It's not always an easy romance to accept, but romantic and believable to me. And maybe that's why I haven't told him. Not because I'm scared that he won't want to die with me anymore, but because I'm terrified that he'll still want me to die. That he'll agree that I should die. The writing itself is beautiful throughout, but it's in the second half when the book truly won me over. Asyel's character growth is just stunning. I already loved her snark and frank viewpoint, and her obsession with theoretical physics is quirky and endearing. When she begins to see things differently and want different things for herself, it feels natural and not sudden. I really believed she was crawling out of her black hole. Roman, however, scared the hell out of me. If I hadn't already peeked at the ending, I wouldn't know which way this book was going to go. We get glimpses of the boy he used to be - and still maybe is or could be - and his constant hand holding and half smiles made me all gooey - but he's still so empty on the inside. My heart broke for him; I doubt anyone will be able to not suffer with Roman for his loss. If you're thinking this story may not be for you because of the subject matter, I sincerely hope you'll reconsider. My Heart and Other Black Holes is morbid and painful - and so important of a message - but it's also hopeful and wonderfully told. Asyel and Roman are two characters who will stay with me for a good long while. Maybe death is what brings them together, but they needed each other for so much more. This review can also be found at Love at First Page.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kaye

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ★★★★ " Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape. " This is beyond true. I for one suffered with depression from I was seven, straight through high school and college where it grew to an alarming and frightenin ★★★★ " Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape. " This is beyond true. I for one suffered with depression from I was seven, straight through high school and college where it grew to an alarming and frightening state. I can remember watching cars zip by and willing myself to just step in the road and be done with it all. Yes, it was that bad. I despised myself so bad, like I couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror because all I could see staring back were all the flaws everyone; especially family members, would point out. I was too dark, my eyes were too big, I looked too much like my mother and I was going to be a failure like her, I was stupid and it goes on and on. . . Those were some painful times and frankly it drove me to the brink. But I saved myself. I found that the less I cared about what people thought about me and the more I accepted who I was, then the less painful these comments would be. It was all about self acceptance and self love, and so I was on my way to being happy. ____________________________________ What I loved about this was that it hit home, it brought back memories because I too was criticized and disliked because of my mother. And for what because she was stupid/brave enough to have me and everyday I would be reminded by this. Yeah people suck, especially those closest to you. And to imagine poor Aysel, who had it worse. It was real terrible what her father did but it was even worse what happened to her. How everyone directed their hate and fears towards a young girl who didn't do anything except have the genes of the man who killed a 'superstar'. (Yeah people really suck!) It was really hard reading this because I hate crying. I really do. And at the beginning of this novel that's all I did, but towards the end I saw where Aysel started to change (thanks to Roman). She began actually looking forward to her future, something a few weeks before was foreign to her, and as she grew happy so did I. I'm just really glad she turned out to be a flake. This book rocks! You should read it, even though it's a tad depressing it's totally worth it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨

    ★★★★★★★★☆☆[8/10] ⏩Three things that made me want to pick this book from the three score books I had managed to adorn my library with, in the recent major-bookhaul. “This must be a sign from the universe-if the only time you get lucky is when you're planning your suicide, it's definitely time to go.” ✅ PHYSICS . (Notice that it is underlined and italicised and emboldened.) There is a good deal of Physics stuff in the story and I was surprised to find how easy Einstein's Relativity the ★★★★★★★★☆☆[8/10] ⏩Three things that made me want to pick this book from the three score books I had managed to adorn my library with, in the recent major-bookhaul. “This must be a sign from the universe-if the only time you get lucky is when you're planning your suicide, it's definitely time to go.” ✅ PHYSICS . (Notice that it is underlined and italicised and emboldened.) There is a good deal of Physics stuff in the story and I was surprised to find how easy Einstein's Relativity theories were to get by, while I had been unnecessarily slogging at it for years. Aysel (read as uh-ZELL) Seran is the kickass heroine, though in her own way- that is, if you can make peace with the fact that I consider 'I can't wait for the lecture on Paradise Lost to be over soon so that I can go grab a spot in the front in the Physics class' kind of kickassery to be über cool. “The only class I really like is physics. I'm no science genius, but this is the one class that I think may have some answers to my questions. Ever since I was little, I've been fascinated by the way things work. I used to take apart my toys, studying how all the little pieces fit together.” ✅ SUICIDAL TEENAGERS. (Again?? ugh!!) Aysel is trying to find a suicide partner. And, she meets FrozenRobot aka Roman Franklin (a cutie, obviously). “I'm a little weirded out that FrozenRobot aka Roman wants to meet in such a public place. I guess that means he's not a serial killer or rapist or anything. Then again, I'm not sure it'd be so bad if he was a serial killer. At least I'd get it over with quickly.” Do they die? I am planning on launching a massive campaign against all those authors who take our pliable hearts for granted and throw grenades at them and expect them to hold up. “As the sun glints off the polished wooden court, I wonder what my classmates are going to do with all their hate and anger and fear once they don't have me here anymore.  I can't wait until they don't have me here anymore.” (view spoiler)[✅HAPPY ENDING. Thankfully, I don't have to. For a minute, I am going to stop thinking about how every time I have to feel heartbroken and instead focus on the grittiness of the issue. To quote the author, this story ends on a hopeful note. (hide spoiler)] Going by the golden rule that the authors don't write about depressing stuff unless there is a pressing need to bring our attention to that particular stuff, I decide to overlook the nimiety of suicide themed stories in the YA world- All the Bright Places and Thirteen Reasons Why, for instance. Authors, even though they romanticise the notion of suicides in the books, in their attempts to portray the exact opposite picture, are constantly trying to make us see the ugly truths of the real world, harbouring the hope that their words will make at least an iota of difference in a person's life somewhere. I hope they succeed in their endeavours... Because there is a bit of good everywhere and in everything, innit? “I once read in my physics book that the universe begs to be observed, that energy travels and transfers when people pay attention. Maybe that's what love really boils down to-having someone who cares enough to pay attention so that you're encouraged to travel and transfer, to make your potential energy spark into kinetic energy. Maybe all anyone ever needs is for someone to notice them, to observe them.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    ashley 🌈

    "Depression is a part of you; it's in your bones and your blood. If there's anything I know about it, this is what I know: it's impossible to escape." This story is so important to me, in so many ways. I've read it once before, and I'm sure I'll read it again. Aysel has been depressed for years, and has no hope for a better future after her father is sent to prison, leaving her to live with a mother who wants nothing to do with her, two half siblings, and her stepfather. She decides to kill herse "Depression is a part of you; it's in your bones and your blood. If there's anything I know about it, this is what I know: it's impossible to escape." This story is so important to me, in so many ways. I've read it once before, and I'm sure I'll read it again. Aysel has been depressed for years, and has no hope for a better future after her father is sent to prison, leaving her to live with a mother who wants nothing to do with her, two half siblings, and her stepfather. She decides to kill herself, and finds a suicide partner online to make sure she follows through. Her and Roman make the pact, but as their planned date draws nearer, she begins to wonder if she can go through with it. My Heart and Other Black Holes is the most candid book I've ever read about depression. It does not shy away from the messy, scary parts. Aysel often refers to her depression as a black slug, soaking up her happiness and leaving her empty inside. It forces me to think about my own struggles with depression. "If I have a boyfriend, his name is Death. And I'm pretty sure Roman is in love with him, too. It's like a love triangle gone wrong. Or maybe it's a love triangle gone right: we both get the guy on April 7." Roman does not save Aysel. Falling in love does not save Aysel. Noticing the smaller things in life is what saves her from herself. Talking to the people who care about her. This is not a love story, it's about a girl learning how to live again. Aysel's story makes me cry, but it also gives me hope. It reminds me that things do get better, and even when I feel like screaming until I lose my voice, or sleeping all day long, I won't always feel that way. Sometimes the sky looks perfect, or your mom cooks your favorite meal, or your crush touches your hand and everything somehow feels right again. "I can feel everything. And I want to keep feeling everything. Even the painful, awful, terrible things. Because feeling things is what lets us know that we're alive. And I want to be alive."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maliha Tabassum Tisha

    1.5 stars I really, really, really wanted to love this book. The concept was so promising and there were so many things I could relate to! Even the writing was nearly gut-punching at times. I have a thing for stories with a female science/math nerd protagonist. Bcoz of that or whatever reason, it wasn't hard for me to identify with Aysel (Uh-zell) at all. Now the more I think about it, the more exasperated I feel for not being able to love the book! Maybe a younger me would've bought this crap or 1.5 stars I really, really, really wanted to love this book. The concept was so promising and there were so many things I could relate to! Even the writing was nearly gut-punching at times. I have a thing for stories with a female science/math nerd protagonist. Bcoz of that or whatever reason, it wasn't hard for me to identify with Aysel (Uh-zell) at all. Now the more I think about it, the more exasperated I feel for not being able to love the book! Maybe a younger me would've bought this crap or if I was remotely shipping the couple I would've enjoyed it a li'll bit more. But apparently, I've become intolerant of many things in the past couple of years. (If I've unknowingly added similar books to my GR tbr, PLEASE do let me know; i don't wanna read shit like this ever again.) I was loving it up until the 60% (ish) mark, from there it just began to go downhill and there was absolutely no redeeming factor whatsoever to up my rating. Rather a number of things, along with how the story pans out, managed to get right under my skin! So, yes, this is gonna be yet another unpopular opinion slash rant review of mine, you have been warned. “Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole — it's so dense that there's no room for light, but that doesn't mean it can't still suck me in.” — One of my major complaints about the book is sth you've probably guessed/known by now: the two main characters fall in love and then suddenly, are no longer depressed as before and abandon their suicidal plans as a result. This change of direction takes place so abruptly I was left baffled. I kept flipping back the pages to see when and how exactly they fell in love and became so happy and optimistic and free of their guilt at the same time. What's worse, all the dark and heavy issues in the plot were suddenly and very conveniently glossed over due to this. Thus what began with a dark and depressing tone, took the shape of and ended up being a rather hackneyed teen romance. Seems like the one true message the book ever sought to convey is "love cures all"! News flash, love DOES NOT cure all! As someone who's been living with depression for more than a decade, I can't feel more hacked off by this misrepresentation. And I don't think I want to vent more on that since a lot has already been said about this idiotic trope and it'd mean I'll get carried away and exceed my word limit. "Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there's nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression." — Secondly, I never liked the other mc, Roman; I couldn't root for him in any way. He seems like this jus-another-basketball-jock-turned-guilt-ridden-depressed-teenager who gets away with being a jerk. But let's just assume that he's acting out and forgive him. But I can not, for the life of mine, help thinking about how shallow he appears regarding his guilt/reason to commit suicide. But then again, it was Aysel's perspective I was seeing everybody from. If only I could get inside his head and look at his guilty conscience (if there was any), maybe he wouldn't seem so difficult to relate after all. Writing a dual pov narrative for this story was crucial imo. "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." — I also hated that Aysel's relationship with her mother and siblings had but little attention in the book. The plot focuses more on her relationship with Roman than with other ppl, which is AWFUL! I'd have loved to get an in-depth look at how her guilt and depression affected not one but all of her relationships, her high-school life and studies/career (since she seems to be a bright and promising student) as well. ***The section below may contain mild spoilers.*** — Now, what annoyed me the most is that Aysel's father's depression and anger issues were never really acknowledged as if it's not something worth acknowledging or caring about. Heck, he doesn't even make an appearance outside of Aysel's flashbacks! Aysel talks about his symptoms in the same casual way she'd talk about someone waking up every day and going to work. He's simply made to look like a bad person which he certainly is not. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that that level of anger and mood swings is not normal and needs immediate attention, that it's not definitive of a person's character and doesn't necessarily make them the devil incarnate! I kept thinking perhaps I'd get a clear insight as well as some closure regarding Omer Seran's (the guy's got a name at least) mental state in the last few chapters. I thought Aysel will eventually learn that her father is not someone who "ruined (her) whole life", not someone who kills teenagers out of rage, but an unfortunate prey to his mental problems that nobody paid attention to. I also thought, apart from depression and guilt and suicide, anger/bipolar disorder will also be a prime focus of the plot since the latter is the ultimate MacGuffin of this story. But man, was I wrong. It was too unfair to sidestep this issue. "What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside; it’s about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head." — Lastly, the ending. I don't wanna get started on how Original™️ it was. So briefly, it was a cheap and rushed and predictable ending. And about the message: if the book just wanted to spread the "love cures all" message I must say it succeeded; if not, well...🙃 I just wish the book didn't have any romance in it. I wish the last 30% was rather different, and tied all the loose ends together.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Neil (or bleed)

    “I will be stronger than my sadness.” If not for that particular scene, I'd given this book a 3 stars or maybe even a 2 because I felt neutral reading the book, in the first place and I thought that I'm just reading a typical suicide book. And I don't appreciate the characters that much. But that particular scene triggered my thoughts and I realized what this book is all about. What message this book wants to impart. And I'm thankful. I did understand better Aysel and her situation. She had a “I will be stronger than my sadness.” If not for that particular scene, I'd given this book a 3 stars or maybe even a 2 because I felt neutral reading the book, in the first place and I thought that I'm just reading a typical suicide book. And I don't appreciate the characters that much. But that particular scene triggered my thoughts and I realized what this book is all about. What message this book wants to impart. And I'm thankful. I did understand better Aysel and her situation. She had a hard life. She was being conscious on what people say about her after an incident that includes her father. She thought her mother doesn't care about her. She has no reason to live. She has a black slug, a black hole that ate away her happiness and other emotions. So she's got suicidal thoughts. But she can't do it alone so she sought for a partner-- a suicide partner-- who is Roman and that's when the story goes. And that's when I feel betrayed because I thought there will be no romance, just a friendly connection or something. I should really have known and I'm kinda felt stupid for hoping there will be none of this awkward/insta-love romance because usually there has. Though, the romance is not that irritating, it was unconvincing and really unnecessary. Anyway, I like the things Aysel realized in the end. That is my favorite part of the story. And that is why I gave it four stars. Maybe it's just me but reading that scene is like the sun is shining me with brilliant lights that goes through in my heart dissolving away the black hole.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Norah Una Sumner

    "My teacher, Mrs. Marks, makes this big production out of trying to decode what the poets were saying.From my perspective, it’s pretty clear:I’m depressed and I want to die. It’s painful to watch all my classmates tear apart each line, looking for the significance. There’s no significance.Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression." Very unique and interesting book with great and relatable characters.Thi "My teacher, Mrs. Marks, makes this big production out of trying to decode what the poets were saying.From my perspective, it’s pretty clear:I’m depressed and I want to die. It’s painful to watch all my classmates tear apart each line, looking for the significance. There’s no significance.Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression." Very unique and interesting book with great and relatable characters.This is a very character-driven book,which is definitely a good thing in this case.I got really attached to two main characters and I was on the edge on my seat the whole time while reading this book.I'm keeping this review short because I don't want to spoil it somehow for you guys because you should just start this book without any previous indications or clues.I definitely enjoyed reading this book and I am looking forward to Jasmine Warga's new book which comes out in 2016. PS.How amazing is this illustration by JP Valderrama? Wow.

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