My Heart and Other Black Holes is a young adult fiction novel I recently picked up at the library. The description caught my attention, but not in a good way- I thought from the very beginning this sounded like a pretentious and petty melodrama much in the same vein as Thirteen Reasons Why. What I got... can only be expressed as this: I was only able to get about 100 pages into this book before I had to put it down.
It's not often that the premise of a book is the stupidest and most painful aspect of it. Unfortunately, this fits MYaOBH to a tee.
The plot is this. A sixteen-year-old girl named Ayzel (yes, that's actually her name, and this is present-day America, not a fantasy novel) wants to kill herself, but is too afraid to do it alone, so she seeks help online and comes across a website where people apparently meet each other IRL to complete suicide pacts together. Her partner, a totally nondescript seventeen-year-old boy named Roman, is what I assume to be the love interest who of course ends up saving her and making her realize life is worth living because every girl's life is complete when she gets a man.
Needless to say, this plot is unbelievably unrealistic and shallow as a puddle. But is it at least executed well?
The writing in this book is painfully reminiscent of The Fault in Our Stars, but unlike that, it's made much less absorbing and shallow. There is so much bland emphasis put on how much Ayzel's life sucks because her father violently murdered someone and now everyone looks at her funny because of it, and it didn't make me feel a twinge of emotion for her at any point in the book. I guess it's bearable, but being told from first person makes the writing feel lazy in places because it's easy in this perspective to insert sarcastic complaints. The meaningless references to Mozart's music also didn't help matters.
What can I really say about Ayzel and Roman? Neither of them have much of a personality, and while Ayzel at least is going through a difficult and kind of unique problem for a teenage girl, Roman's life seems so peachy in comparison that I just wanted to slap him. He has a loving mother and a girlfriend and friends and apparently money as well- something most teens today want and would be jealous of having. Making these two go through a suicide pact actually wouldn't even be that bad because they're just that bland and unlikeable, but of course I'm willing to bet that's not how the book ends and I'm not going to bother trying to find out.
It's fair to say that this is the worst book I have picked up in recent years. I can't recommend this to anyone unless you're really into teenagers complaining about life and a contrived romance plot that would happen in real life exactly never. There are no real redeeming qualities to make up for this book and I grade it as a waste of words.
Reviewed by Grizzly Bear