Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
Now let it be known that I have no experience dealing with depression so I do not know if this book is an accurate representation of such a dark mental state. I will however say that even though depression is anything but simple I found that the way Aysel described it, simplifying it and giving it substance made the feeling easier to understand. However, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by sadness while reading this novel, which surprised me, almost no aspect of this novel truly horrified me even though a lot of the elements were shocking.
This novel started out off really well, I was immediately drawn to Aysel. She was lonely and isolated, struggling with guilt and the memory of her father and the broken relationship with her family, but she was honest and upfront with herself.
Sadly the introduction of a love interest brought all of these wonderful things to a screeching halt. Suddenly the love she felt for Roman gave her the will to live and the power to overcome her depression. Roman was the only light in the black hole that was her life. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I am pretty sure that suicide and depression cannot be overcome by a few stolen kisses and heartfelt words. I’m not saying that love is not a powerful motivator but I was always under the impression that depression was about the person who suffered from it, and while support from family and friends is instrumental in recovery I would have liked to see Aysel reach the decision to live without having to rely on Roman.
The problem with introducing a love story in a novel that deals with such delicate themes and something as terrible and crippling as depression is that you run the risk of romanticizing the situation. Some of the dialogue was borderline troubling. However I doubt this was the author’s intention, just an unfortunate consequence of juggling both depression and a romantic storyline.
There were also a lot of unfinished story lines, we never got to see if her relationship with her mother, father or her sister ever developed or evolved after she came to her life altering decision. I would have liked to see her repair the relationship with her family. Nevertheless, the novel was really insightful because even though I have not had the same experiences as Aysel I thought the author did an excellent job of putting us in her shoes.