Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review: My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart & Other Black Holes
by Jasmine Warga
Published by Hodder
Available in paperback and ebook

Aysel, a high school student with a passion for physics, has a slug growing in her stomach. Its taking over her life, overpowering her, and dragging her down.

This slug is depression.

She needs an escape from her life - her call centre job is soulless, living with her Mother and her half-siblings is taking its toll while her Father is in prison for killing a local sporting hero. The only way out is suicide but she worries that she might not be able to go through with her plan. Using the internet, she finds herself a suicide partner. Roman, a high school student from the neighbouring town, once a champion basketball player and popular at school, wants to end his life...he's even more determined than Aysel. Together they come up with a plan so they can escape their problems, and finally end their lives.

Hold on, this isn't going to be tear-jerker actually, yes it might be, but not in the way you're thinking. This is a heartwarming book about conquering overwhelming fears, dealing with guilt but ultimately this book is about hope and finding that there's more to life. My Heart & Other Black Holes is a powerful debut which explores the powerful force of friendships. Aysel, after spending time with Roman starts to realise that maybe life isn't so bad. Yet Roman is still bent on ending his life.

There seem to be quite a few young adult novels which centre around narrators with issues but My Heart & Other Black Holes has a way of pulling the reader into the story with its compelling characters so that it doesn't feel like another generic YA novel. Warga makes sure that she doesn't glamourise suicide by writing a honest, sensitive exploration of mental illness in young adults, as well as exploring the guilt surrounding life-changing events.

Both of the characters are reaching out for help to die but in doing this they are actually finding someone to help with finding a reason to live.

My Heart & Other Black Holes reminded me of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down especially in the way that both authors try to break through the stereotypes of mental illness. It can affect anyone at any time and the effects are different for each sufferer. This is a fantastic novel, with a compelling storyline and characters. I'm looking forward to reading more from Warga.

My Heart & Other Black Holes is available from your favourite bookshop. Jasmine took part in the Imaginary Bookshop series last week, and you can read the interview here.

A copy was sent via Bookbridgr.com

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