Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for When Reason Breaks! Erica and I were very excited to be a part of this tour! Erica read the book a little while ago and loved it.
About the Book:
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.
When I thought about the topic “books that saved my life,” my immediate response was: All of them. The first Chicago neighborhood I remember living in was rough. The abandoned house to the right of us was bulldozed after it was set on fire multiple times. The one on the other side was also bulldozed when the resident died and the city deemed it unlivable for anyone else. We went to the public library often, and I always left with piles of books. We moved out of that neighborhood after my dad graduated college and got a better job, so I think the message I learned early on from my parents was, yes, books can save your life and change your life. I was an early reader and have always loved to read. It was hard to choose only a few that have affected me deeply. I narrowed my options to children’s books, and it was still hard, but I did it. Here’s my short list:
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This was the first book I remember falling in love with in middle school. I read it multiple times, and when the movie came out, although it was different (of course), I could hardly contain myself. My friends and I saw the movie so many times, we could recite every line. It was one of the first real young adult novels I read with teen protagonists and serious issues, like classism, family dynamics, and gang life. More than anything, it had heart, and I connected with Ponyboy because I was a book lover who had lived in tough neighborhood.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Ah, Harry. What can I say? You have given so many of us years of pure reading joy. When I was working on my teaching certification, one of the instructors said, “If you’re going to teach middle school, you have to read this book.” It was love at first read, and it reignited pleasure reading for me. For many years, I had been reading books required for school. Even Harry Potter was handed to me as something I had to read, but it was more than a book needed to keep up with popular culture. It was fun and reminded me how much I loved and missed children’s literature. My nephew and I went to the movies with lightning bolt scars on our foreheads, and I attended midnight releases of future books. I can’t wait to read them again with my daughter.
Speak and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Each of these novels affected me separately in different ways, but together, they remind me of what the best of realistic fiction can do. These are great examples of quiet stories, meaning there are no governments toppling, no explosions every other chapter, but still, I was glued to the pages as I read them. Anderson and Forman are masters of portraying a character’s depth of emotion, both internally and how it plays out in relationships. These books have stayed with me long after reading them.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This series of vignettes about Esperanza, a Latina growing up in Chicago, is alternately heartbreaking and hopeful. The writing is beautiful and sparse. Every word matters. They are powerful individually and collectively. I return to her work often, using some of the vignettes for lessons in class, and each time, I am impressed by the images and emotions Cisneros can evoke with so few words.
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant. My dog, Rusty, who came home from the shelter at six months old, died 15 years later in September 2013. It was a few weeks after school started, and I took him to the veterinarian for what I thought would be just another appointment. When he didn’t come home, I was devastated and had no idea how I was going to pick up my daughter from school and explain what happened in a healthy way. Several friends suggested Dog Heaven. When we read it that night, I was a sloppy, crying mess, and so was she. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I handled his death well at all. To this day, though, whenever my daughter is sad because she’s thinking about Rusty, we talk about him running off-leash in heaven and chasing squirrels without getting into trouble. And, yes, we still shed tears (I’m even crying typing this), but it helps every time.
For me, each of these books struck me at a certain time for certain reasons. This is the power of books, that words on a page can provide us with characters, places, and stories that linger in our minds and provide us with a laugh or cry when we need it most.
About the Author:
Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Plainville, Connecticut. This is her debut novel. Visit her on Twitter @RodriguezCindyL.
This giveaway is US only for entrants aged 13 and older.
Follow the Tour:
April 6th à Write All the Words!
April 7th à The YA Kitten
April 8th à YA Romantics
April 9th à Adventures of a Book Junkie
April 10th àItching for Books
April 13th à Fic Fare
April 14th à The Book Belles
April 15th à Novel Ink
April 16th à The Reading Nook Reviews
April 17th à YAdult Review