Book Review: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

When Reason Breaks
Author: Cindy L. Rodriguez
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Expected Release: February 10, 2015
Review Source: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | Netgalley

13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

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.

While I'm not a fan of Emily Dickinson, probably from being forced to read her in high school, I am a fan of the novel 13 Reason's Why, so I thought this would be something I would like to read. I had mixed feelings about the book, but overall, I enjoyed it.

What I liked about the story was that I was in tears the entire time. My husband would get so mad when I read it in the car and then had to enter a public place. I was a mess. I've read several "suicide" books in the past, so I was prepared for what went with it, but even though I was prepared, I still couldn't stop the flow of tears. I also really liked the character Emily and found that I could relate to her the most. I remember when I was her age and felt the way she did. My parents are divorced because of infidelity as well. The problems in the book seemed real and their responses to them were well written. It's hard being a teen, I should know, I teach middle school.

What I found a little difficult about the book was that it was hard to keep up with when you were changing characters. I read it in an e-book format, so sometimes I would switch characters and get lost in what was going on. Their names were also similar, Emily and Elizabeth, so that made it a little harder to remember who was who. I think if I had a physical copy of the book it would have been easier, but it kind of turned me off from the book.

Overall, I liked the story within the story with the English class and their bond of poetry. I'm an English teacher myself, so to have students bond over literature is always top in my book. I would recommend this book to some of my older students because of the content, but I'm glad authors feel the need to write about the topic of suicide because it's something that's happening, but people don't want to talk about.


  1. I LOVE stories that makes me tear up. and this sounds like something I'll love. the story kind of reminded me of Julie Anne Peters' Define "Normal" but sounds more moving. I'm definitely adding this on my tbr :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

  2. This sounds like such an emotional read. I think this year is the year of YA books featuring Aucide storylines!


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