I was very much drawn to this from the title. In my world, you don’t judge a book by its cover but by its title. Our protagonist, Aysel is a Turkish-American high school student who spends her free time surfing on Smooth Passages, a suicide website (sounds more like anti-constipation website to me). It’s here that she answers a message from FrozenRobot who is looking for a suicide partner to stop him flaking out.
This is clearly young adult fiction but I liked the description of depression, Aysel calls it a black slug inside her eating all the happiness. There’s a darkness to the book that exceeds stories about vampires and monsters, and very relatable.
Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes you down, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill.
Both have their reasons to be suicidal, which in some ways is where the book falls down. Do you necessarily need a specific reason to be depressed or suicidal? I feel it would be more accurate if they both just felt alienated and lonely, then struggling to get over specific events. FrozenRobot is racked with guilt after the death of his sister, and Aysel feels judged and isolated after her father has commited a terrible crime.
Aysel spends a lot of time humming classical music to herself, something her father enjoyed. Aysel is also a physics nerd, apparently although she doesn’t really get involved in her classes but she thinks about potential energy a lot. Energy can not be destroyed, so what will happen to her potential energy when she dies?
Does a dead body still have potential energy or does it get transferred into something else? Can potential energy just evaporate into nothingness?
Ultimately, what worries her is whether she also has the potential to become violent like her father.
Her relationship with Roman (FrozenRobot) is a little confused, there’s a strange intimacy between ‘suicide partners’ and yet they have only just met. Roman constantly accuses Aysel of being a ‘flake’, that she might change her mind and back out of their plan. But in fact it’s their relationship that forces her to reconsider, as they grow closer and she begins to fall in love with him. And he does just keep hold her hand for some reason.
I found this a little annoying, as if a cute boy liking you is enough to bring you out of a deep depression. I’m sure having people in your life that care about you does help but she seemed to be fixed quite easily. I did like this book, but felt that the ending was a bit rushed