When Reason Breaks
When Reason Breaks is the story of two girls named Emily that come from different worlds. One is Hispanic and follows the rules (mostly), and the other one hates her name and goes by Elizabeth. Elizabeth is white and comes from a bad home. Both of these girls suffer from depression in different ways. I love the way Cindy L. Rodriguez writes different narratives for the same emotion.
When I was in high school, I fell madly in love with Emily Dickinson and her poetry—and poetry in general. So for that, this book has a special place in my heart. I love the way each chapter starts with a short epigraph from one of Emily’s poems. I also love that both girls share the same initials, and despite coming from different backgrounds, also share the same internal struggle. Cindy deals with the strong emotions in this book so subtly that when you realize what’s happening, it hits you in the gut. Here are some of the many, many things I loved in this book:
#1 Two individual and smart girls.
#2 Girls that don’t let themselves get bossed around by boys. (so many stars for this)
#3 Complicated and complex relationships between girls/girls, student/teacher, boys/girls, children/parents.
#4 Dealing with depression and anger in a way that is very real. (I will say that this is real not just for teen, but for the way adults deal with the same feelings.)
#5 Straight up beautiful and emotionally powerful writing.
#6 An incredibly diverse cast that is genuine (and necessary).
#7 All the feels.
#8 Alternating perspectives that are easy to keep track of.
While I was reading the book I kept seeing myself in both of these girls. As a teen. As an adult. And I think that was my takeaway from this. I’m a little bit of both, and when you think about it, so is everyone else.
When Reason Breaks is a much needed voice to YA fiction. It is an uplifting story of friendship, and girlhood. Definitely add to your shelves.