Title: When Reason Breaks
Author: Cindy L. Rodriguez
Publication date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)
A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.
In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
Written in a beautiful, magnetizing voice, When Reason Breaks is a debut novel that punctures all the vulnerable parts of a reader’s soul. Its profound intensity will hold your attention, never letting go until the last page. The emotions portrayed in this book are pure and raw, like blood oozing from a fresh wound. Reading When Reason Breaks is an emotional, unpredictable journey. You know the feeling when you ride an indoor roller coaster and you have no idea when there’s going to be a sharp turn or when you’re going to drop? THAT!!! It’s written in a way that will make you think that a certain main character is the one who would do an alarming action but it was the other way around. The tension will keep you at the edge of your seat and you’ll just be surprised at the turn of events. Seriously, I was in shock. Frozen to my core.
Main characters Elizabeth Davis and Emily Delgado are different and alike at the same time. Different in terms of personality and alike in connection with internal battles and wounds of the heart. Elizabeth is a thoughtful, smart girl who, like Emily, is substantially troubled. She has a lot of issues that are reflected in how she dresses and how she acts. The pain Elizabeth keeps inside of her tears her apart. On the other hand, Emily is a secretive, overly careful girl afraid to commit mistakes to avoid trouble. She may look fine on the outside but in truth, she’s shattered within. Her wound runs so deep, carrying a never-ending stream of doubts and heartaches. Both characters are in Ms. Diaz’ English class where the story sort of transpired. I love Ms. Diaz! Her dedication to her job and friendliness towards students enable her to be a remarkable character. It’s amazing how she and her English class are the force that connects Emily and Elizabeth’s stories together.
Cindy L. Rodriguez has the kind of writing style that stirs something in you when you start reading. Her words are like fire as the message of the story burns its way to you, so you’ll never forget. The weaving of Emily Dickinson’s poems to the story added depth, making When Reason Breaks eloquent and special. The book indeed motivates readers to live—to move forward. It speaks out loud that life is good no matter what obstacles we face. Just keep your head up and have faith that better things are ahead.
Authentic and incredibly moving, When Reason Breaks is a story that expresses hope in the truest sense of the word.