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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 – Thirteen Reasons Why

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Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 288

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

A word of warning before I write this review. I have intensely negative views on suicide that will offend people and I am sure they are going to seep out in this review because its the whole plot to the book. So if you know don’t like people looking down upon those who have killed themselves, move on. We do not need to have a fight about it, the review is not worth it. If you can handle someone doing this though, read on. You have been warned.

I was greatly surprised by just how much I liked this book. I had heard great things from a few people in the book world but I was a bit iffy about it because of the reasons stated above. But I actually found it quite moving.

We start off the book with Clay receiving a package full of cassette tapes from Hanna Baker, a girl who killed herself the week before. It states the thirteen reasons and events why she killed herself, and the only reason you would be hearing the tapes are if you are one of those. I was a bit confused about the whole thing to begin with the voice and the person talking at the beginning of these tapes just seemed so strong to me. I thought This person killed herself? But she is so fired up! You could tell she really wanted to stick it to all the people who she accounts for why she chose to die. But as you go through the tapes, she looses some of that fire and by the end I was thinking There is that weakness I was looking for. I suppose that was well done. With each event she got more worn down and became weaker and weaker till she just gave up.

For example, at the beginning of the tapes Hannah is unable to say the word suicide during the tapes when talking about her plans, but by the end of them she is freely saying it with ease.

The people in her life are just disgusting. If I was surrounded by such horrible people that turn their back or do some of those thing to me the way they did to her I might be seriously depressed too. The only person in the whole book though that I felt sorry for was Clay. Not Hannah though I did at the beginning but that wore off quickly. Clay is such a sweety and having to listen to these tapes was just so hard for him. It got some closure to, but I think he just felt so hurt by the whole thing. Having to listen to her say that she didn’t have anyone on her side and no one would help her and listen to stories that the end about her putting herself in situations that would make her want to kill herself, knowing full well that they would not end well. I agreed with everything Clay was saying to himself at the end. You did not ask for help, Hannah. You sent him away when he was there. You always have another option. Poor, poor Clay.

All that being said though he is guilty of being one of the stupid people at times and he should have tried harder to be there for her because then she might have actually asked him for help. He was too scared to get close until she was already too far gone. I don’t mean he should have seen the signs, I just mean that he shouldn’t have let the opinions of others get in his way for something he really really wanted, such as Hannah.

While I don’t look upon people who commit suicide… fondly, I can understand to an extent I suppose. Things spiral and even the small things become big and depressing and life shattering. I believe though that people should be able to see this happening ans slam on the breaks and slow things down or call out for help. To more than one person. If they can’t though, I think this book is a very good telling of how these things can happen. The story was very well written and really amazingly presented and best of all realistic.

I would recommend this book to anyone who maybe wants a little bit of insight on the topic and how things can realistically happen. If you expect people to need huge reasons to die I would stay away, this is a story about more little things and you may not like it like I did. It is a short read though so it might be worth it. I will probably even pick it up again at some point.

 

Till Next Time…