cover image My Heart and Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes

Jasmine Warga. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-232467-2

Debut novelist Warga addresses adolescent depression and suicide with honesty and grace in this story of a scientific-minded Turkish-American 16-year-old who is preparing to end her life. Those in Langston, Ky., who don’t know Aysel Seran have likely heard of her father, who “slashed the Olympic dreams of the whole town” by murdering its most talented young athlete. Since her father’s incarceration, Aysel has been terrified that she inherited the gene that will make her a violent “monster” like him. Death seems like her only escape, but she doesn’t want to die alone. Thus she makes a suicide pact with Roman, a teen she finds on a website for those considering suicide. When they meet, Roman’s good looks and compassion are unexpected distractions; the more Aysel comes to understand Roman’s talents, desires, and regrets, the less certain she is that they are making the right decision. Through an eloquent first-person narrative, Warga crystallizes the significant turning points in Aysel’s attitudes and emotions, and celebrates the sparks of hope combatting the dark thoughts that threaten to destroy her. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)