Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes - Jasmine Warga


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?


'Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.'

I was keen to read My Heart and Other Black Holes when I found out about it, as the storyline and themes really interest me personally. I read it quickly and found the story gripping and compelling, and I felt compassion for Aysel and Roman, two young people, total strangers, who plan to take their own lives, together. 

For the most part I thought this was an excellent book; I was so glad to see something written in young adult fiction exploring difficult, complex feelings of guilt, and dealing with deep depression, and in this case focussing on teenagers. This is an impressive, moving and honest debut novel with a frank and well portrayed depiction of depression, sadness and self-blame. 

There are some excellent scenes and a real understanding and compassion of depression is demonstrated in the writing, as well as the difficulty some people can have with interactions with others, retreating into themselves so far that their outlook on the world becomes very bleak indeed, believing they are everything their illness tells them they are. The author convincingly depicts problems within different relationships, whether between siblings, mother-daughter, mother-son - so as well as depression and the individual, the novel looks at different family structures and friendships too and how they are affected. 

My main quibble was that I personally was not a hundred percent sure about the ending and whether it felt right to me, but I would definitely recommend others read this novel and decide for themselves. This story affected me in the way I think I thought the book The Fault in Our Stars would but didn't. 

I read a proof copy a while ago now and I hope when the finished book appears here in the UK that there will be appropriate help and support links at the back for the UK for anyone who might need them (as the novel is set in the USA). I do think it is important that topics like this are covered, sensitively. 

I did find parts of this story upsetting and notice my mood drop, so if you doubt your strength do think about whether it is the right time for you to read this, and whether it will help you. 

Review copy received via amazon vine 


  1. I've heard lots of good things about The Fault In Our Stars so for you to write that this book affected you in a way that this hadn't is no mean claim.

    Thanks for your great review. I'll definitely keep My Heart and Other Black Holes in mind.

    1. Thanks for commenting Tracy, much appreciated. For me this book seemed to make a deeper impression.

  2. This sounds like a tough but very good read. I'm especially intrigued by the sound of Roman's character. That's too bad about the ending not feeling quite right. I've had that happen a few times and it does take my enjoyment down a little. Despite that this definitely sounds like its worth reading.

  3. The plot of this book sounds very compelling. I completely agree that these issues need to be covered by books that are likely to be read by young adults.

    I understand your sentiments about the novel being upsetting. Such fiction can be and I have experienced similar feelings when reading books.

  4. Fab review, this sounds really intriguing!

  5. This sounds really interesting and I'm pretty sure I've read/heard of another book like it. Perhaps not the best thing for me right now, but I'll be adding it to my extensive wish list!

  6. I love the title of this book, and it does sound interesting. Books like this are so important, I think. I will have to look for this one.


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