By Emily Pooley
My Heart And Other Black Holes is Jasmine Warga’s first novel, which was published in February. In My Heart And Other Black Holes, Jasmine Warga has brought to life the character’s Aysel and Roman. Aysel Seran is a 16 year old girl who is focused on her death. Aysel hasn’t been the same since the incident with her father. She moved in with her mother, step-father, and half siblings, works at a job where no one cares, and the town doesn’t treat her the same since her father’s been gone. Aysel is worried that the same thing that overcame her father in the incident, lives inside of her, just like the black slug that eats her emotions. Concerned that she might not go through with it, she looks online for a suicide partner, where she finds FrozenRobot.
FrozenRobot, or Roman Franklin, is also focused on his own death. He wishes to end his life because he feels guilty for his little sister’s death. When he meets Aysel he tells her that he wants to die on the anniversary of his sister’s death. Aysel agrees, but isn’t convinced on his dedication to their plan. Aysel decides that Roman doesn’t seem like the ‘type’ to die by suicide. He is tall, athletic, attractive, and seems to be popular among everyone he meets. Aysel is unsure if she should trust Roman, and does not disclose very much information to him, especially her last name, because she doesn’t want him to judge her for her father’s actions like everyone else in her town.
Over the course of six weeks, Aysel and Roman begin to plan their end for April 7th. While discussing their plans, they begin to share the events that have brought them to this point in their lives. For Roman, it was the guilt he felt for not paying closer attention to his sister, pushing all of his friends away, and no longer playing basketball, which is the only thing that brought any joy to his life. Aysel doesn’t share much with Roman at first, but as he opens up to her, she starts to see herself and Roman change right in front of her. In a turn of events, Aysel feels a spark, and wants to continue her own life, but, more importantly, needs to help Roman find a reason to live.
Warga explains that she wrote this story for her friend who lost her life, and Warga’s understanding of this subject is seen throughout the story. Although this story has the themes of depression and suicide, Warga has written it beautifully. In the words of Roman, this story is a “grey sky. [It’s] beautiful, even though you don’t want [it] to be.” Jasmine Warga has done a brilliant job of presenting us a story where the end looks gloomy, but still gives us the hope that a brighter day is just on the next page.
Warga excellently portrays not only two teenage characters, but also their depression. She is not afraid to find the dark parts of this illness or story. According to YoungMinds.org, nearly 80,000 young people are severely depressed, and Warga has provided a story those individuals can relate to. “In 2013, death by suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Americans,” according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Warga is supplying a voice to these individuals and taking a stance. I highly encourage you to go and pick up this book, it will not disappoint. By no surprise, her second novel which is still untitled is due out in 2016, for more information you can check out her website. If you are interested in purchasing My Heart And Other Black Holes you can purchase it on Amazon here.
If you are having thoughts about harming yourself or death by suicide, know that you are not alone and you have resources.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Kristen Brooks Hope Center Hopeline: 1-800-422-HOPE (4673)
Kristin Brooks Hope Center Teen Peer Counseling Hotline: 1-877-968-8454
To Write Love on Her Arms(TWLOHA): www.twloha.com
7 Cups of Tea: www.7cupsoftea.com
Crisis Chat: www.crisischat.org
Youth Suicide Prevention Program: www.yspp.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness: www.NAMI.org
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: www.AACAP.org
The American Academy for Suicide Prevention: www.AFSP.org