Two teens, two tragedies, and one suicide pact. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Freshman Fifteens author Jasmine Warga is a startling debut that’s unafraid of tackling deep topics like depression. Despite the dark subject matter, Warga crafts her novel in such a way that it is extremely readable and at times funny.
The protagonist is a Turkish-American girl named Aysel (rhymes with gazelle) who feels lost in her mother’s new family. Her father is away in prison after committing a horrible crime, but the reader doesn’t discover what that atrocity is for a while. On a website called “Smooth Passages,” Aysel meets a boy named Roman who lives in a neighboring town. Both teens are suicidal and promise to end their lives together on April 7th.
I liked this book a lot and read it in one day, but I do feel conflicted about the ending. I don’t like revealing spoilers so I can’t say exactly why, but the ending did leave me feeling unsettled.
To be fair, I don’t know how any book that dealt with teen suicide could have a an ending that wasn’t unsettling. It’s a difficult conversation no matter what the conclusion.
P. S. I give Warga a lot of credit for including the extensive list of suicide prevention numbers at the end of her novel. Hopefully that helps a lot of struggling teens. Click here to find the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.