Release Date: 10th February 2015
Edition: UK paperback, purchased
Physics nerd Aysel and popular, handsome Roman are practically strangers, but they’ve been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In one month’s time, they plan to commit suicide – together.
With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between them – a feeling Aysel never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back.
Jasmine Warga’s debut is heartfelt, hopeful and life-affirming. You have to read My Heart and Other Black Holes.
Though I’m fortunate enough to have never experienced depression, Aysel’s illness felt authentically portrayed. She described her sadness as a black slug that lives inside her, swallowing every other feeling or emotion that she has and turning it to sadness. It’s not a fleeting sensation; the weight of it is ever present and something to be fought against every day. But there was still room for the possibility of hope and love and friendship and I think that is important. So is the fact that Aysel and Roman’s relationship isn’t an instant cure for their depression. They give each other support, understanding and possibility, and the knowledge that maybe that still isn’t enough.
Teenage suicide is something that is becoming increasingly more present in YA recently and like Gayle Forman did in I Was Here, Warga tackles suicide forums but also delves into the idea of suicide partners for those who feel they can’t quite make themselves go through with it. It added an extra layer of something to the whole thing to me. Not only is encouragement being provided, it’s being made easier for those who aren’t quite sure. There’s a lot of pressure there as well because as Roman kept saying, he didn’t want a flake for a suicide partner. Though it worries me that these places exist, I’m also glad that Aysel and Roman found each other; their stories would have been very different otherwise.
One of my favourite things about My Heart and Other Black Holes is Aysel’s obsession with physics. With lots of things floating around the internet about girls being deterred from liking and studying science and maths it was nice to see Aysel so involved in it. Not only is she good at it, she’s interested in it and applies it to her daily life; her thoughts are shaped by physics. Worryingly, it sets her apart, but I really loved that dimension of her personality and her thinking. And I learnt a lot too. I’d love to see more heroines in love with maths and the sciences.
I finished My Heart and Black Holes with my heart in my throat and tears in my throat. I just didn’t know how it would go, but I did know that Jasmine Warga is one to watch and I can’t wait to see how she breaks my heart next time.