January 31, 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Grade: B+
Release date: February 10, 2015
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: My Heart and Other Black Holes wasn't an easy book to read. It's full of sadness and dismal moments. Because of the synopsis, I found myself expecting the general ending, although not the specific details (none of which I will spoil here). Aysel Seran is a protagonist that you want to root for; I didn't pity her, but I did want to wrap her in blankets, give her hot cocoa, and tell her it gets better and not everyone is as awful as her classmates and people in her town can be. Roman Franklin is a character who needs blankets and hot cocoa, too. They're both so lost and they've both lost hope, and my heart goes out to them.
I appreciated how Aysel's mother and half-siblings made an effort to reach her. Her mother admitted her wrongdoings in a way that was perhaps wrapped up a bit too neatly, but I'll take it because it proves that, even when you think you're all alone, there are always people who will be there for you. I wanted a bit more of that Tyler kid because his part, while important, didn't have quite enough to it to satisfy me. Also, once the whole story behind Aysel's father was revealed, I found it to be well-developed and a fairly good reason for Aysel's fears. However, I didn't appreciate how long it took for that story to be told; I suppose it was for suspense, but it didn't feel like that to me.
Finally, for a contemporary book, the setting was nicely developed. There wasn't info-dumping or anything overly descriptive. I learned just enough about Langston and Willis to feel like I could picture Aysel and Roman in their towns and what-not.
There's foul language, but not on every page and not enough that I had to start skimming. There is also underage drinking.

The Verdict: Dark and sad but with enough moments of hope and light so as not to be overly depressing. And surprisingly, I enjoyed My Heart and Other Black Holes. (Surprisingly because, from the synopsis, I felt like it was a book that would make me think but wouldn't necessarily be entertaining.)

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Most definitely. I preordered it a few weeks ago.

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