Book Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes

A book with a little bit of romance, tragedy, and deeper meaning


Olivia O'Dell

My Heart and Other Black Holes is written by Jasmine Warga, and it is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Aysel. After her father commits a horrendous crime, the people in her small town can’t look at her the same. Expecting Aysel to turn out like her father, even her own family can’t stand the sight of her. She falls into a deep depression and is soon ready to “turn her potential energy into nothingness”. The only problem is that she’s afraid she won’t be able to go through with it on her own. Aysel searches on the website Safe Passages for a Suicide Partner. She reaches out to a boy around her age, Roman, who is also looking for a partner. As April seventh (their death date) approaches, Aysel begins to feel the finality of her decision and wonders whether she still wants to go through with it. Roman and Aysel grow closer and eventually develop feelings for one another. But in the end, Roman still wants to die and Aysel is trying desperately to convince him to live. 

I really liked this book. The characters felt real. Aysel is intelligent and uses humor as a cover when she’s uncomfortable. Roman tries to get away from the person that he used to be, the person that everyone else wants him to be again. 

I thought that the author described depression in a truly beautiful way. Like a black slug, she compares, eating your insides. Warga went farther into depression than simply sadness. She describes it as numbing and hollow. The black slug eating every warm feeling until there is nothing left. 

Many books romanticize depression, and although her novel does involve romance, it’s not all about love conquering all. She writes that depression isn’t beautiful. Sadness is ugly and anyone who believes otherwise doesn’t understand it. Plenty will argue that the book does lead to the idea that love is the magic cure to all. But from the beginning, the reader could see that Aysel was still attached to things and people. She wasn’t as far gone as Roman. Her depression isn’t cured as soon as she meets him and develops feelings for him. Throughout the book, she realizes that some of the damage done to her relationships is partly her fault. She pushed people away and believed the worst in everyone around her. 

Aysel discovers that there’s more to life. She wants to go to a physics summer camp, she wants to talk to her father again, she wants to mend her relationships, she wants to fall in love and maybe have a family of her own. There were some quotes in the novel about saving each other, but I think ultimately Aysel’s choice to live came from growth and the realization of wanting a future. 

My Heart and Other Black Holes is a quick read. I recommend it to those who are looking for a book with a little bit of romance, tragedy, and deeper meaning.