WhenReasonBreaks_CompA 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.

  • Age Range: 12 – 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 – 12
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619634120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619634121

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Praise for When Reason Breaks:

When Reason Breaks is infused with a rare blend of suspense and sensitivity, despair and hope. The poetic spirit of Emily Dickinson shines through the gloom of daily struggles faced by modern teens, as they discover the possibilities where they dwell.” –Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree

“The portrayal of the different ways people experience depression is spot-on…A sharply drawn, emotionally resonant tale of two girls—one gripped by uncontrollable rage, the other by unrelenting numbness—that will speak to many teens.” —Kirkus Reviews Click here for full review.

“Latino culture, and bicultural and gay family relationships are woven easily into the story; popular culture references and some romance will also resonate with adolescents. Overall, this text provides important insights into the various stressors that can lead to depression and suicide, as well as the type of support required to move toward potential healing.” —School Library Journal

“First-time author Rodriguez cleverly represents Emily Dickinson’s dark side and her reclusive tendencies through the two distinct personalities of her teenage heroines, who are studying the poet in English class…the inner torment of the two main characters and the book’s psychologically intense climax remain gripping.” –Publisher’s Weekly Click here for full review

“Both girls are drawn to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, as taught by Ms. Diaz. But only one identifies with Dickinson’s dark side. The girls’ stories are very different, but they both portray the mutable expressions of severe depression. In addition, Dickinson fans will love the focus on her life and poetry.” —Booklist

“One of the more notable characteristics of this title is the prevalence of Latino characters, doing culturally Latino things, like speaking snippets of Spanish at home, in a story in which the heritage of the characters is not critical to the plot. Representation of diverse characters in books that are not overtly multicultural in nature is an additional positive in an already strong story.” —VOYA

When Reason Breaks was:

May 2016: Cindy L. Rodriguez author of When Reason Breaks


Book trailer: