Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Publication: February 10th 2014, Balzer + Bray
Format: e-ARC, 320 pages.
Source: From publisher (HarperCollins! THANK YOU!!!)
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There's only one problem: she's not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel's convinced she's found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who's haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other's broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.

Misfit Review:

It takes a lot of courage and willpower to gut your way out of sadness, especially when it seems like it's planning on staying there for a bit of a vacation. But with My Heart and Other Black Holes, an attempt and a spark may actually give you that push you need to get that sadness to take a hike home.

So the story starts with Aysel Seran, a 16 year old girl who is trying to find a way to off herself without having to do it alone. She stumbles upon Smooth Passages where people are looking for Suicide Partners. Aysel finds interest in FrozenRobot who wishes to die in a specific date: April 7. From then on, the two of them try to go through every day, dealing with the people they love, the prejudices of people and the growing black holes in their hearts.

My Heart and Other Black Holes is a story that isn't that all new with suicide being the recurring theme of it, however, it brings a new flavor to the table with its poignant characters Aysel and Roman. Indeed as Roman put it, the two of them have an electrifying chemistry. I remember one time I was in a van on my way to school, reading my copy, and almost flipping out when Roman held Aysel's hand. *cue feels*. Good thing I didn't cause a scene. The moments that they had in the fair is my favorite of all in the whole book.

But let's get to the darker side of this novel, which is the resolution that these two characters have, which is to take their lives. Roman wants to die on the day her younger sister died, believing that the cause of her death was his fault while Aysel's reason was because of the murder that her father committed towards one of the minors in her town. She's afraid that her father's sadness is also her own and she doesn't want it to grow further, thus coming into a conclusion to take her life away.

However, through the course of the story, we encounter situations in which brings light into Aysel's world, slowly, shining it's way through Aysel's black hole of a heart, burning down the black slug in her gut. Towards these, Aysel is confused, downcast and afraid, which brings us readers closer to her thoughts, allowing us to see more of her vulnerabilities, other than the wall of sadness she has put up due to the prejudices around her. I honestly loved Aysel's wit, deadpan humor and straightforwardness. She discussed depression in it's truest form, and in that moment in which she discusses it, I felt like I molded in the book. Moments like these, I find, Aysel's strength as a negative character, no matter how mad that may sound or seem.

I did feel a little bit weird towards almost the end of the book, in that moment in which Roman and Aysel camped out. As the book's tagline however, "One spark can change everything", it indeed holds true to what Aysel's conclusions are based upon but I felt it was somehow weak. There were lots of redeeming factors however, in terms of Aysel's mother, which I found very helpful. It's something that readers should learn from, especially if someone is actually going through the same as Aysel. However, I really wished there was a way in which Aysel could've talked with her Dad, but I know, somehow, there, it happened. *prays to alternate universe to make me dream of it*

Jasmine Warga's debut novel is a beautiful effort and punch to the gut of how suicide and depression can be such a huge deal in forming a person's perspective of the world. It could be either good or bad and Jasmine did include that in some of Aysel's explanations, again making her voice a favorite of mine. If I am talking honestly, it is not entirely perfect, but not every novel is, but it did indeed leave an impact, same as how most of the books on suicide and mental health I have read have. Jasmine, in her right has provided a way in which the theme is open and honest, and that helps to not dilly-dally anything. She made it not too complicated to learn from but does leave a deep impression to the reader.

My Heart and Other Black Holes offered me feels so familiar and missed. It also left me hopeful as to what the characters' futures could be and what either happiness or challenges they have to face. Let's just hope that the black slug has finally slid away, far, far away. And I hope that for many of the readers of this book, may your black slug go far away too.

About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Hi. I'm Jasmine. My first novel, My Heart and Other Black Holes, will be published in 2015 by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. I'm currently writing my second book which is tentatively scheduled to be published in 2016.

I like emotive music, animals of all sorts, and lemonade. And books.

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