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Book Review – My Heart And Other Black Holes

my hearts and other black holes

Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health

Length: 302

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

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.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I am going to put a warning here like I do at the start of any book I review that revolves around suicide. I have very strong, negative views on the matter. If you, or anyone you know, or even if its a topic you sympathise with, you may not want to read my review. I will do my best to not sound like a jerk, but I generally cannot understand and have little sympathy on the matter. I apologise in advance. If this sounds like something you will not handle reading about, give this review a miss.

But just because it’s cowardly doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be easy.

I like the plot of this book, despite the rant I just gave. I think it was an interesting way to have people meet each other and take their journey together. The ending for these kind of books is generally predictable and I knew at least part of the result even before I cracked open the book, but learning how they came to be where they were at the start of the book, and how they changed between then and the end is something that interests me. I read these kind of books to try and get a better understanding on why some people commit suicide, but sadly this book didn’t help change my opinion or enlighten me in anyway like All The Bright Places did. There were a number of things that annoyed me too much to really make me have a better understanding about what people with depression go through, and it was really very predictable.

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.

The writing style was probably my favourite part of the book. I am sure that you can see that by the number of quotes that I snuck into the review. I found many of the words to be very captivating and they were the things I connect to the most in terms of understanding. If the plot and the character development had of been more of to speed with the way things were explained or written, this book would have gotten a higher rating from me.

Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.

While I felt for Aysel and understood why she had the kind of feelings that she did, I didn’t connect with her like I did Roman. Roman to me, was genuinely suffering to the point where he was drowning, his issue was that he was unsure of how to swim in his emotions. Which ones to let go, which ones to hold on to, and whether or not he was allowed to feel any different. Aysel, while still having to deal with really traumatic things, I didn’t feel like they were things couldn’t let go of. That if she had just opened her mouth, things could have been better for her. There were things people go do and say to help her through what she was going through since a lot of her issues stemmed from other people, unlike with Roman where he had to come to those conclusions on his own because his issues where with himself.

Saying all that though, Roman made me far angrier than Aysel did at times. The way he acted because of his feelings, made him a manipulator, and just generally an complete selfish ass for the most part. He needed Aysel for his own reasons, and didn’t much care about hers for a long while. Confusing isn’t it? In terms of who I think I liked better as a person, it was probably Aysel, but in terms of actually understanding why they had come to the decision that they have to die, its Roman.

SPOILER – I didn’t like the way Aysel got over her issues really either. Yes, love can help you overcome many things and can help you get through dark times in your life. Did it have to be the romantic kind of love? It would have been much better story to me if it was just his friendship and his understanding that helped. If it lead to more later, that could have been cute, but it wasn’t gradual enough for me. – END SPOILER

I think I will end this review here before it gets much longer. I am not sure really who I would recommend this book to. If you want a romance book, this is not for you. If you want something that is a good representation of how depression actually is, I do’t think this book covers that really either. But I suppose that the book did raise some interesting ways to think about life and death. If these kinds of books interest you, I would read for the writing and the pictures it creates, just go into knowing that its probably not the best one out there.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Title: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Glbt

Length: 303

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I received an advance readers copy of this book by Penguin and I want to thank them so very much! This is not the kind of book I would normally pick up at all since the content generally doesn’t interest me all the much. I don’t mean that in a hateful kind of way or anything, its just when it comes to romance I like to be able to relate or place myself in the story in some way and since I am not interested in the same sex, nor a male, I would never have picked this book up if they had not sent it to me, and I would have missed out on what a gem of a book it really is!

I found this book and the story line to be exceptionally cute and adorable. At many points I was laughing out loud and smiling so much that my face hurt with the extra workout it was getting despite the fact it is a story about a boy who gets blackmailed and is then exposed to be gay despite the fact that it should have been his thing to decide when to come out and did everything the blackmailer wanted. I thought Simon was a very realistic character and everything that was happening to him struggle wise was relatable in some way or another. I undertsood why he made all his choices and I felt all his pains. I actually really liked him as a character and found him to be just so incredibly funny. The line about the socks just absolutely killed me.

Leah’s also into slash fanfiction, which got me curious enough to poke around the internet and find some last summer. I couldn’t believe how much there was to choose from: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy hooking up in thousands of ways in every broom closet at Hogwarts. I found the ones with decent grammar and stayed up all night reading. It was weird couple of weeks. That was the summer I taught myself how to do laundry. There are some socks that shouldn’t be washed by your mother.

Just so damn funny.

I like pretty much all the characters. They all had their moments of enjoyments. I did think that a lot of them were seriously flawed though. I mean Nick and Leah are supposed to be his best friends but when the thing with the tumblre issue they knew about it but didn’t say anything to him about it all and they had all the opportunity to do so. I also think Leah was just very selfish about how the whole thing played out. Marty is the biggest jerk that ever did live.

I liked Blue most the time and while I cannot related to what he was going through I could still kind of understand what he was feeling. Despite that though I thought he was pretty weak. Poor Simon is going through hell and he chooses to avoid him for awhile because he was afraid of what might happen. I did really like him though and and I was really happy to see that he was who I thought he was all along.

I down point for the story I think was that it was trying to be more meaningful than it actually was. Trying to teach us things that don’t really need to be taught in this day and age. I know I cannot understand the struggles that a guy person may be going through, so I might be completely wrong and I don’t want to offend anyone, but with each generation we are becoming more and more accepting of everyone and the generation this book is aimed at is just generally pro equality. The blackmail thing is sucky and coming out is a thing that is personal to everyone who has to go through it even if they really shouldn’t anymore, but lots of people in the book make it as though being gay is still a big deal, when I think in general it isn’t. Its just more people, just like all the other people in the world. We are all different, and thats not anything bad for the most part. Specially who we choose to love.

Anyway, thats enough of my rant. I really liked this book and I am so glad that I read and I am forever thankful to Penguin who like to send me books outside of my comfort zone. Its one of my favourite things I have read this year I think.

 

Till Next Time…