Two teenagers make a suicide pact in this poignant, first-person debut.
Sixteen-year-old Aysel’s life “can be neatly divided into two sections: before my father made the nightly news and after.” Since her mentally ill father murdered a local boy with Olympic hopes, Aysel feels as though her only escape from the public shame is suicide. She also worries that her father’s madness is genetic and exists inside her as well. Through a website that matches suicide partners, Aysel meets Roman, a kind, attractive, athletic boy who feels responsible for the drowning death of his little sister. Even though Aysel harbors a passion for science and Roman a love of basketball, they are determined not to let each other “flake out.” Together they begin enacting a fake relationship designed to lull Roman’s overprotective mother into allowing Roman more freedom so they can carry out their fatal plan. But when Aysel begins falling in love with Roman for real, she knows she can no longer follow through on their pact. Can she convince Roman that his life is worth living before it’s too late? Any teen who’s ever felt like an outsider will be able to relate to Aysel’s and Roman’s fully realized characters. The countdown at the beginning of each chapter to the couple’s death date (the same day Roman’s sister died) will help propel readers forward to a hopeful if not entirely unexpected ending.
Earnest and heartfelt. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 13-17)