Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Rating: 3 Star
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…