WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy Rodriguez is a beautifully written work of realistic fiction for young adults. Told through alternating voices, the story follows two very different teens each facing the pressures of school and family. While Elizabeth’s frustrations and fears often end in outbursts, Emily’s anxieties are projected inward. An English teacher with a passion for Emily Dickinson brings the two together.
Rodriguez does a masterful job exploring the different faces of depression. Her characters are believable and realistic. Readers will easily connect with both the main characters as well as the supporting cast.
The author makes meaningful social references and seamlessly infuses cultural references without making these elements the focus on the story.
Weaving in a discussion of the poems of Dickinson was an excellent way to dig deep into the world of mental illness and depression. Librarians will want to pair this book with the works of Dickinson for a richer experience.
While some readers will be drawn to the theme of mental illness, others will enjoy the realistic portrayal of the everyday pressures of school, family, and friendship. All readers will gain insights into the triggers that lead to depression and suicide.
This is the Rodriguez’s first novel. Her experience as a classroom teacher are clearly reflected in her realistic portrayal of the classroom scenes. Readers will eagerly be following her website looking for her next YA book!
To learn more about this author, go to her website at http://cindylrodriguez.com/.