Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review ~ When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 304
Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Goodreads Description: 
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.

Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved When Reason Breaks! It was a wonderful and important read. The characters were well developed and the subject was handled well. I was very happy with how the book turned out.

The very first scene gripped me right away. The book started with a suicide attempt and switched back to the events leading up to that moment. It started the story on a grim, yet impressive foot.

Emily and Elizabeth were fantastic characters. It was interesting to see how they changed and reacted during the story. One character's emotions were less noticeable--or at least, less concerning to others. Her depression wasn't glaring (not in a way that the other's issues were), so her side of the story seemed to demonstrate that depression isn't always a very noticeable thing. The other girl felt more alive than the first one--more animated. She gave me the impression that she had more ability to pull through and get better. (I know that sounds vague, but I don't want to say which character is like what. I'm trying to avoid being mildly spoilery.)

I was so happy with how Emily Dickinson was tied into the story. This book did what I hoped Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer would've done (which was pull of the connection to the writer/poet well). There were many discussions on poetry and Emily herself. The teacher was a major character. She was fleshed out and given a lot of importance. Emily and Elizabeth both connected with her. All of this made me really happy!

The one negative thing about this book were the transitions between characters. The way the focus switched confused me because it oftentimes felt sudden. However, I think formatting of my eARC contributed to that. I'm not letting it affect my rating.

A few more things: Romance was a large focus, but I did appreciate its presence (especially for Emily). I love the title because there's so much meaning to it now that I've read the story. The ending made me really happy. There were many quotable moments, the concluding sentences included. Lastly, there were diverse characters! I loved the bits of Spanish dialogue that resulted because of that.

Overall, When Reason Breaks was amazing. I actually wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. It was a very pleasant surprise. If you love emotional contemporaries focusing on depression and suicide as well as poetry, I highly recommend this one for you.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
105 Challenge
2015 Debut Author Challenge
Dive into Diversity (Hispanic characters)

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