Thursday, 16 April 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (Young Adult, 8/10E, short 'n' sweet review (sort of...))

 February 2015, Hodder & Stoughton, 320 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Content: teen romance, depression, suicide, dark humour, 

Summary from Hodder and Stoughton
Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they've been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month's time, they plan to commit suicide - together.

Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn't equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can't figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all....and why he's even more determined than she is.

With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman - a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all - but is Aysel in so deep she can't turn back?

Nayu's thoughts (which were typed fast and whose length won't correlate with the meaning of a short 'n' sweet review)     
By nature of the concept of depressed teens seeking suicide I knew this wasn't a happy go lucky read. But I couldn't not find out what happened in the end, which wasn't disappointing or what I'd expected, yet was wonderful in all that it meant. Both Aysel and Roma have tough lives, and because through no fault of their own they haven't had the exact support which they would need to steer them away from suicide they end up meeting each other, and a lot more. Knowing what they both want to do was always at the front of my thoughts as I witnessed them unwillingly find a bit of joy in life, however they hard they tried to do deny it. Aysel more than Roma feels that she is finally living, which is a bit crazy since she is planning her death. 

There are some things they both do which I thought was stupid and not right, regardless of whether they wanted to die or not, but wanting to die removed some sense of self-preservation and restrain against what was considered safe. It was a hard going read which I read in sections to avoid getting too down about where their troubled lives were heading. I wouldn't recommend it as a bedtime read as it is thought provoking and led to prayers of hope and direction for those who feel they are unworthy of living. 

Support for mental illness can be be sketchy, and I feel is hugely individual because everyone's situation is unique. Aysel needed to be shown how to live, and Roma – well he needed a brain transplant! Aysel hadn't had enough emotional support, and Roma was too locked in a cycle of self-torment and grief to understand that his life was worth living despite the tragedy which had struck his family. Even if adults had initially tried to persuade Aysel & Roma to keep living (not that they knew of their intentions), neither one was in a receptive mood and had to experience certain aspects of life together before their minds could be changed. Hopefully that makes sense. This is certainly a book readers will discuss with others, and open people's eyes to the complexity of the mind regardless of how old the protagonist is. 

Find out more on Jasmine's website

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