Book Review: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

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

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. 

Elizabeth and Emily, two completely different girls battling the same monster inside--depression. Elizabeth, the loud rebel, could use some attention. Emily, smart and sweet, just wants normalcy in her life. Both girls find themselves relating to poems written by Emily Dickinson, and both need help...NOW.

When Reason Breaks starts off incredibly dark and solemn. I was immediately captivated, intrigued, and scared for a character who's name I didn't even know yet.

Rodriguez's writing style is beyond superb. I can sit here and rave forever about it. Every word in this book is POWERFUL. You will find yourself clutching your heart at some of the most amazing conversations between these characters. For a book set in high school, there are so many real, raw, and smart lessons being taught. You will find yourself viewing the world differently. There is also so much symbolism throughout that you will find yourself appreciating. And, the poem theme is also great.

I love how Rodriguez tackled different kinds of depressions. In one girl you see the loud cry out for help. In another character you see the internal struggle and shiny exterior. Another character finds comfort in pills, and another is just recovering from depression, and so on... I can't imagine the time, love, and dedication Cindy L. Rodriguez put into this extraordinary book!

I had to put the book down at one point even though every inch of my being wanted to pick it back up immediately to find out what happens. But, it was too much too fast in such good way. The end was so beautifully written. I cried. I straight up ugly cried. It tugged at my heart strings and I cried for an entire forty-four pages. For the love of everything pick up a copy of When Reason Breaks and treat yourself to a beautiful read.


  1. I definitely agree! I recently read When Reason Breaks too, and loved it! I kinda figured out who the unknown character is, but it's still interesting to read how the story unfolds and how she comes to her decision. Dickinson's poetry is a nice touch, too. :)

    Julie @ Books and Insomnia

    1. I figured it out too! Still didn't soften the blow any less though, right? Lol.


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