Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
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.


Publishes in US: February 10th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: ya contemp mental illness
Source: Bloomsbury via netgalley
Series? no

Buy it: Indiebound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Powell’s | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook ~blog


    I wanted to read When Reason Breaks because mental illness and thoughts of suicide are an issue that is close to my heart. I deal with my own depression and thoughts as well as losing my dad. Books like this are so important to help people understand at least a little bit, and see the power that a kind word, or actually taking the time to care about and listen to someone can be such a big thing. 

    I could tell this is going to be an emotional one. Elizabeth is one of our main characters and we are seeing her through one of the toughest times in her life. Emily is our second and she is dealing with things on the inside and at the beginning to pulling herself away from the people she cares about stages of depression.

     We know going in that their lives have changed in the last year. One if the girls is on the edge of death after taking pills and writing her notes. The book alternates in time showing us her decent into depression and what lead her to that hopeless day, and it shows another's battle to open up to others as well as both getting some healing and encouragement from unexpected places and centering around a teacher who is genuine, passionate and cares about her students. 

     We see her making choices nearly all teens do but since her dad is a lawyer and in politics her choices reflect on him. This is always hanging over Emily's head, and she is in the public eye and afraid to mess up and be on the news or disappointing her dad. She had friends from when she was younger and it was hard seeing her pull away from them, tell only half truths or hide huge portions of her life. Depression is so isolating, and I have been there where you withdraw into yourself and feel whether rightfully or not that no one else understands and just the sense of differences that seem insurmountable. 

    Elizabeth has also been going through a hard time herself. She is the more outspoken of the two, and the one that seems the most obvious choice for the opening scene. But then we see her expressing herself through art and trying to let others into her life. 

    Come to find out they share the same names but Elizabeth goes by middle name. At times it makes it hard to tell which which at times but this is intentional. We don't know which it is at the beginning who is in what could be the last moments of their lives. So they both have Diaz the teacher who cares and the suicide note is dropped off with.
     There is so romance but I did like how it wasn't in the front seat, it was the emotions and character development that rightfully took the front stage. What romance was there was helping to show more about the girls and how things hanging over their head and their inner struggles with self image, esteem, pain, and depression. 

   The ending was well done in my opinion and I like that it was wrapped up but also gives room to imagine what the future could be like in this group of friends, in the girls who connected with their teacher as well as parts of themselves through the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Bottom Line: Emotional and layered story of girls who are fighting depression and trying to live to the fullest.

 Author: Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Plainville, Connecticut. This is her debut novel.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you like to read or write poetry?


  1. I've been reading a lot of books to do with depression lately, I usually avoid them, but it's good to see YA dealing with that, and love that the romance isn't the focus of the book. I need a break from them (since I've read 3 in a row) but adding this to next time. :)

  2. I'm so happy this one was a winner with you. I love when a romance doesn't overtake a plot and the fact that this one dealt with very serious issues makes me want to read it all that much more. Love your review.

  3. Hmmm... this one sounds good. I wonder how I missed it? I'll keep my eye out!

  4. Ths is one I would read as depression is a topic that I have long been invested in. I will ook this one up. Thanks

  5. I haven't heard of this one but I really like the sound of it. Most of all I like the fact that the ending was well done. Great review :)

  6. I can tell you connected with this book well. I like to read stuff like this too.occasionally, it does help to understand that side of the Psyche better. Creates of.empathy or sympathy

  7. Oh wow, this definitely sounds like an emotional read. I always find books about depression hard to go through at places, and very easy to relate to in some places. I am going to have to keep my eye out for this one because it sounds like the kind of thing I would love to read.
    I love to read and write poetry. I just wish it had a bit more importance because not many other people read it.

  8. this sounds really good. I like books that focus on mental illness too.

  9. sound like a great book, glad you loved it brandi, hope all your reads are as good as this one if not evern better :D

  10. It's wonderful that authors continue to put out books that are similar to this one in the hopes of helping young girls cope with their mental issues because it's definitely a topic that gets pushed under the rug way more than it should. I don't write poetry, but I do on occasion enjoy stories told in a lyrical tone.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  11. I prefer reading novels more than poetry. I think I'll enjoy reading about the positive teacher-student relationships. It seems like the story has some heavy moments but I like that we now have more books addressing depression, emotional vulnerability and mental illness. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I love how it ended, and that the romance was strong but stayed in the backseat. Lovely review Brandi.

  13. I really like the cover and the story sounds very powerful. I have read some books written in prose and it sounds fitting for the story line you described. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I never heard of this one, but your review peaked my interest. And with such a heavy topic, I'm glad the romance didn't take over the plot.

  15. This sounds like a beautiful read Brandi, I'm glad that you were able to form such a strong connection with this book! Lovely review! :)

  16. Oh this does sound emotional. I also love it when a books speaks to you personally. Brilly review!

  17. I love emotional books and this one sounds like one I would love to dive into!

    I'll have to pick it up! Great review!

  18. I like when the romance is more in the background too :D

  19. I don't read very emotional books that often, but I did buy 13 Reasons Why and this one sounds like one I want to check into. Thank you for the review.

  20. It's certainly a subject that should be explored! Thanks for posting this-you never know when a book could help someone with problems they are coping with.

  21. Whew that does sound like an emotional read. I read one not long ago that dealt with some similar themes and was really impressed with the author and that the subject was being put out there and discussed.


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