Saturday, February 14, 2015

'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.

I liked the two characters.
Emily was very interesting. I spent a good part of the time between when I finished the book and when I started this review thinking. Why did she do it? Why do people do it in general? She is interesting. A kind brother. A wealthy family. Smarts. She has a guy who likes it. But I feel for her. There's something under her smile. Something terrible. She blames it on her dad and her family. But it's not that. Her story is almost hidden. The true version at least. It is interesting. She is. 
And Elizabeth. Anger issues is terrible. Anger is hard to reel in. It can lead to terrible things. Anger and sadness, both strong emotions, can cause terrible things to happen. You don't know. You don't ever know. In happy she saw past it, though. I feel like we didn't get her backstory... We didn't get a lot about her father. The attack? What happened there? 
I feel for both of them. I do see a piece of myself in both. I am a writer. But I'm quick to anger. (Internally really.) And I do feel shitty sometimes. It all depends. I do see myself in both of them. I also see myself in Ms. Diaz. She was trying to help. With my many friends who feel like Emily or Elizabeth, I am also Ms. Diaz. 

The portrayal of teenage pretty good. It shows the dark side. The girl who smiles but is dying inside. The girl who fights everything until there is nothing left. It shows humanity's dark side. There are so many people out there committing suicide or attempting. So many who don't want to live. It shows people. It shows the world. Books like these make me smile. Because more people know. And they know how they can try to help.
Anyone can be another Emily or another Elizabeth. Sister. Brother. Friend. And you want to help. Books like these show ways to help.
As you can tell, this is a topic I'm very passionate about. It's close to my heart. I see my friends in Emily and Elizabeth. I see them in me. And in other people. People who hurt and rage. People who cry and fight. That is life. That is humanity. 

The ending ends on a high note. Which is good. Things seem to look up for the two girls. That's great. They need it. (Even if they think otherwise.) I'm happy they got their happy ending. 
They needed it. 
The story was wrapped up. There were no questions. Emily was recovering. She had friends. She had a future. Elizabeth was accepting her life. And her dad. And her family. Which is great. 
I'm so happy Ms. Diaz found the journal writer. Really. You don't know what you leave behind when you commit suicide. You leave friends and family. People who loved. And you will have to be dressed in a tux or something. (Sorry. Trying to lighten things up...) 

This is a diverse book. We have two girls with psychological problems. (No offense.) And a Latino family. It shows different people. That's great. We are a diverse world. 
I liked that we got a Latino family. It could have been expanded on, though. We had Spanish phrases. (And those weren't translated. Which is a problem for me.) But we didn't get too much culture. (I know they're Americanized...) We did have the Day of the Dead. (Remember? Candy skulls? Yup. That's the Day of the Dead.) It could have been better with more culture. That would be amazing. 

We don't seem to get enough of either girl. So it seems like we don't get their full personality. We get pieces. And Emily is supposed to have depression. But we don't get to see her full history. We have only half the story. It seems to lack some part of the story. 
We get Elizabeth's anger. And her family life. And we get Emily's parents. But we don't get too much information. We get only a minimal. I wanted more. More on Emily's breakdown. I wanted more on Elizabeth fighting her dad. And her dad in general. There didn't seem to be details on certain things. Things we got hints of. (Going back to the Elizabeth-dad thing. Really. What happened?) 

The romance isn't the best... I don't hate it or love it. It just wasn't...amazing. (There is a minor spoiler ahead...) 
Elizabeth did seem to deserve someone. But not necessarily a boyfriend. Nor did I enjoy the matchup. She needed someone to calm her down. And the guy? Not much. Where is the chemistry? I don't see it. Nor do I like the guy. Elizabeth could have been better off alone. 
And Kevin and Emily? (Don't worry. You're told this early on. It's hinted at least.) Don't think that will work out. Really. But Kevin seems changed around Emily. Like he's a new guy. I'm not sure. They do have something. But it seems weak. Like a cute crush. But it will fall apart. High school relationship do that. And I feel like Emily needs to trust Kevin more. Kevin seems like a good guy. Trust him. Just a bit. Then, things might be better. I feel like there is something. But it really isn't chemistry. And I want some history. It's a secret relationship. But tell me more. I want! 

And the Spanish! As someone trying to learn the language, some parts were easy to understand. But. Not everyone knows the language. So it might be confusing to what they are saying. There is an important phrase. And it isn't translated. Not in the back. Not in the story itself. 
This might be a big setback. I do want to know what it means now... 

Sunny with a thin layer of fog

1 comment:

  1. I agree about the personality thing. This book seemed so... short. I liked what I read but it also reminded me a lot of the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and that's what kind of ruined my enjoyment.

    I loved the diversity in the characters, that REALLY stuck out to me!