My Heart and Other Black Holes Book Review

In the midst of her teenage years, sixteen-year-old Aysel Seran felt stunted by her very existence. Trapped in an unforgiving town with merciless classmates and a detached mother, she found herself drawn to the comforting escape of suicide. By utilizing a website with a section designated for suicide partners, she was introduced to a boy known mysteriously as FrozenRobot. The two hopeless teens unite on a journey of cautious planning, bucket list endeavors, and even self discovery as they prepare, both together and independently, to take the final plunge.

Author Jasmine Wanga has phenomenally captured the devastating ramifications of teenage bullying in her novel. The propensities of her main character, Aysel, fluently display a number of warning signs present in suicidal teenagers, making her novel not only a heart wrenching story, but an educational experience.

Although many aspects of Aysel’s character are undeniably realistic, her overwhelming snide and self-pity cause her to possess an air of haughtiness; most present when she engages with FrozenRobot, later known as Roman, and her half-sister, Georgia. These qualities, although adding to Aysel’s unique personality, cause her to become an unlikable character, transcending the reader into a delicate balance of distrust and appreciation for her character as a whole.

Both Roman and Aysel are rich in poignant back stories, attributing to their despairing present. It is evident from the beginning of the novel that an event of great importance looms in Aysel’s past, however, it is masked for the majority of the story. Despite this leading to a suspenseful reveal, it also lead to an underdeveloped storyline in the stretch of which the event was hinted at, but not further considered.

In the manner of a cliched young adult novel, the apex occurs when Roman and Aysel share an intimate bond after downing two bottles of wine. Despite the inherent tendency of their personalities to clash, and Aysel’s constant disregard towards impressing Roman, the two begin to engage in a relationship that simply does not fit their previous actions towards one another. This one night of reckless passion also becomes the turning point in Aysel’s suicidal tendencies. No longer does she perceive life as a crushing weight, but as a worthy experience. Although this epiphany could be used as a vehicle of inspiration, it is negated by the once again cliched idea that love and relationships are saviors, rather than the acknowledgement of one’s own worthiness.

The novel ends in a rather predictable, yet chilling manner. Aysel, now convinced of the quality of life, is forced to search for Roman with his overprotective mother, in what may be his final moments. The two uncover him unconscious in a garage, slowly dying of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. There is a happy ending, however, as Roman is hospitalized with hope for recovery.

“My Heart and Other Black Holes” is a novel that dares to explore the taboo topic of suicide in a new light. Despite its flaws in consistency, the story of Aysel and Roman stands as a perfect example of an ubiquitous issue in modern society, and as a notice to all teenagers struggling with depression that hope can be discovered in the most peculiar of places.