Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Heart and Other Black Holes

I was definitely on a contemporary kick last month, I think totalling 4 or 5 contemporary novels. This is unusual for me, as long-time readers of this blog will attest to. Fantasy is my usual fare, with a smattering of sci-fi, romance, dystopian, historical, and yes, contemporary. But every once in a while I like to sink my teeth into contemporary. My Heart and Other Black Holes is certainly a book with a lot to sink into.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Aysel wants to die, and she doesn't want to do it half-assed. The last thing she wants to happen is to chicken out halfway through and end up a vegetable or worse...alive. So she needs a companion. And she finds one by the screenname of FrozenRobot. He lives one town over and he's just as screwed up, just as miserable as she is. As they plan their joint death, Aysel starts to have second thoughts about leaving the world behind. But FrozenRobot is determined. She'll have to convince him it's worth staying, and that's an argument she isn't used to making.

This book made me sad. Let's just get that out of the way. Aysel's depression, described as a black slug, is seriously well done. It drags on her spirit, it morphs into a rather twisted sense of humor, and she has a sort of peace when she finds her suicide companion. The story of why Aysel is suicidal is revealed in dribs and drabs, and FrozenRobot (who's real name is Roman) has an equally tear-jerking backstory. The focus on high school here is minimal, which I appreciated. There are some good family moments, and the climax made my heart race and sink all at once. I was urging Aysel to go faster, think faster. And I legitimately did not know which way the story was going to go, which I really liked. There were two distinct paths and I like when I can't tell which direction the author is going to go with it. That being said, I'm not sure how I feel about Aysel's depression being releaved so quickly. I like her moments of discussing how it'll be a struggle, and there will be good days and bad. I thought on the whole it was a good representation of what it's like to be depressed. But it was not perfect. And I think that will be a problem for those reading the book who have had different experiences with this area of mental health. So while I give this book 4 stars, it is a bit tentative because even weeks later, I'm not sure how I feel about the end. I myself have not suffered from depression and I don't want to presume to be able to judge how others will feel and relate to this story.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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