I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on February 10th 2015
Genres: Love & Romance, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult
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 that is equal parts literary and commercial, 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 fighting for their lives.
I went into this book expecting to be thoroughly depressed and ,to be honest, this kind of story is not normally one I read. But something about the summary spoke to me and I decide to give it a try. I’m so happy that I did because this book was so beautiful. Yes, it was sad and definitely had its moments where I felt so upset for the characters, but when I finished the last page I was left with such a sense of hope. Hope for life, that it can be beautiful, if only we reach out to those around us. When Reason Breaks proves, through such heart-wrenching emotion, that the power of love is unstoppable, if only we allow it.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the relationship between the two main characters. Elizabeth and Emily come from two totally different worlds, but their struggles are so similar, and throughout the story their lives become more and more intertwined. So much so, that sometimes it’s hard to truly know which POV some of the passages are coming from. This is a good thing though, as the vagueness of whose view we’re experiencing only serves to develop the book even further. Both of these girls are hurting and the words could be from either one of them. For the most part the dual POV switches back and forth between the two girls, but every once in a while you get one that isn’t so clearly defined and the mystery deepens.
That’s not to say the two girls aren’t fully developed and distinct characters. They each have their own personalities and their own ways of handling emotion that makes them unique from each other. It’s the way in which the author pulled these two girls together through their shared experiences that was so authentic and moving.
The use of Emily Dickinson’s poetry as a plot device was genius! From using lines of her work as chapter titles to the use of it as a lesson plan in the main character’s classroom, it just mirrored the experiences of Elizabeth and Emily so perfectly. By having these girls connect so deeply to Dickinson’s poetry, allowed me as a reader to connect even deeper to their experiences.
When Reason Breaks is beautiful, suspenseful and thought-provoking. It was an emotional rollercoaster that made me feel a lot of things and by the end of the book I was in tears. If you’re a fan of Gayle Forman’s books If I Stay or I Was Here, then this debut novel by Cindy L. Rodriguez would be a perfect choice for you.