“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.”
Trigger warning: This book contains content that some people may be triggered by. Please be cautious if you are sensitive towards the topic of suicide.
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. She discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, where she meets a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy.
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. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
Young Adult / Contemporary / 302 pages
This novel surprised me with its amazing cast of characters and its terrific writing and dialogue. It made me laugh and cry, sometimes even both at the same time.
Note that I listened to the unabridged audiobook, read by Rebecca Lowman, which is a stunning performance.
I love that book talks about depression and suicide without holding back. It is bold and confrontational, while being subtle in all the right places.
The characters are relatable and lovable. They are humans, like you and me. They are not perfect, in appearance or in personality. Aysel has low self-esteem because she is bullied in school, and she harbours a lot of guilt for what her father has done. She hates her job, and frankly she thinks everyone is better off without her. Aysel’s relationship with her family is a complicated one. She loves her mom and her sister, and yet she withdraws from them because she doesn’t think they care. Roman, who was once popular, is now a bit awkward because he spends so much time alone. His parents smother him with love, and he rather they do not. At the same time we know that he loves them too. Aysel and Roman are two characters who stayed in my head long after I finished reading this book.
Each of the supporting characters are amazing, from Aysel’s sister to her physics project partner to her mom and dad. I love that no characters are absolutely good or evil. Everyone is simply trying their best. I love how Aysel and Roman’s parents are portrayed in this book. Roman’s mom is overbearing, while Aysel’s mom holds herself at a distance. Both of them love their children to no end, like real mothers, and their love really comes through in this book. I feel that few young adult books get this just right, and this is one of them.
It is a truly a character-driven story. I love that the story unfolds so naturally. I love the chemistry between Aysel and Roman which carries the plot forward. The writing is at times witty and humorous. At times it pulls on my heartstrings and make me cry. I love the dialogue between Aysel and Roman, between Aysel and her sister, between Aysel and her mother, between Roman and her mother… I love ALL the dialogue in this story. The writing is one of the best that I’ve read.
This is one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened too.
The bottom line:
My Heart and Other Black Holes delves into difficult topics such as depression and suicide, with wit, humour and subtlety. I recommend this book for anyone with an interest in mental health, or for those in the mood for a well-written YA romance. This book will make you laugh and cry.
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