Realistic Fiction. This is NOT for all readers.

Summary:

Aysel (16) feels like everyone at school is judging her. They whisper and talk about her behind her back because of a crime her father committed. Aysel has depression and begins a plan to kill herself. She is finding this isn't an easy task, and she goes to a website for people looking for a suicide partner. Aysel thinks an online buddy will help and stop her from “chickening out.”  Someone using the name “FrozenRobot” posted that s/he is looking for a partner with no kids, who lives close, and will accept his one non-negotiable: the date of their death has to be on April 7th. Aysel fits these requirements and can accept the April 7th date, so they become buddies.

Then she learns “FrozenRobot” is a teenage boy named Roman. Despite their differences, they grow closer and eventually develop feelings for one another. Still, Roman wants to go through with the suicide, even making their pact more solid. Aysel must decide between her love for Roman, or making him happy by letting him go through with taking his own life.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (14):
This book is a good choice for teens or young adults who have depression and are looking for something to relate to. That said, this is NOT recommended for people having suicidal thoughts. Warning: plans and thoughts of suicide are laid out in the novel. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact a trusted adult, doctor or a professional immediately. I would also give this book as a gift only if you know the receiver very well.

Overall, this book has both positives and negatives. My opinion is a bit skewed as I am not a big fan of romance. What got me excited about the book was that it was a story about mental illness, not a love story.  As someone who battles depression and anxiety, I found the book relatable when discussing depression. She is a great model for how hard it is living with depression. I found the "black slug” feeling Aysel describes as painfully true. My favorite quote from the book is 

“Depression is like a heaviness that you can't ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it's in your bones and your blood.”

Depression doesn’t just go away. It lives inside of you; makes you always feel weighed down. Aysel portrays that feeling in an easily understood way. Another positive is the way the two main characters, Roman and Aysel, illustrate guilt. Both also make these heavy emotions easy to understand for someone who hasn’t experienced such things.

What I didn't like is how it might make depression feel glamorous and as something that can be overcome. Yes, it shows depression as being a burden, but one of the reasons Roman's feelings for Aysel grow is because she wanted to kill herself. This is definitely not the right idea for teens for have. Every day is a battle with depression; it is not a thing like teenage love or having a boyfriend can fix just like that.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who like realistic fiction and are seeking characters who, like themselves, may be carrying an emotional burden, may find this a relatable read. 

Cautionary message: the plot describes plans and thoughts of suicide laid out in the novel. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, this is not a book you should read.

Content Awareness Factors:

The plot contains profanity, sexual references, and violence.


Type of Book:
This is a realistic fiction novel about two teens dealing with severe depression and suicidal ideation.
Educational Themes:

This is a book that should probably be shared with adult participation, particularly if anyone in the intended age group is dealing with depression or similar mental health issues.
 

Reading Level:
4.8
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 14
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow or skip. The story is uneven and could be problematic for those struggling with mental illness.

Title My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author Jasmine Warga
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2015
ISBN 9780062324672
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Health - Illness, Social Issues, Romance
be the star you are
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