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 that is equal parts literary and commercial, 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 fighting for their lives.
I was a little worried about how I would feel reading this book. I knew from the get go that it would definitely make me sad reading about two girls struggling to be happy. It is a far cry from the normal books I read, but I’m trying hard to move into other genres and this book definitely took me there. This was one story that really brought out my feelings towards how we perceive people around us.
One of the main things that I liked about this book from the start was that we knew what was happening but not exactly to which girl. Both girls are living very different lives, one popular, one not so much, but both struggling with demons that effect how they interact with their families and the people in their lives. While both girls are perceived to be exactly what they outwardly display there is more to them then even their friends know, and after being pushed together to work on an English project together about Emily Dickenson it makes it more apparent that they have more in common than they thought.
The POV of the story goes back and forth between Elizabeth and Emily, and there are times when you are not sure who is talking. For some points of the book this unknown is actually a great device to keep the reading guessing what is happening to which girl, keeping the mystery of the actions in the beginning of the book going. I also liked that at certain points we also get to hear from Ms. Diaz, and how her interactions with the girls shapes part of the story. As the book moved forward we saw Emily and Elizabeth start to interact more together as relationships change and their circle of friends become more the same.
This book really made me think about my experience in high school and how sometimes we do not understand fully what is happening in a classmate’s life outside of school. It was the same for these two girls, and it irked my nerves how much Emily’s friends did not really support her and blamed some of her actions on another relationship. For Elizabeth, her relationship with Tomas was one that interested me; she seemed to act differently with him then with others but never really losing her true character while around him. It was also very interesting to see both Elizabeth and Emily’s family dynamic change after the events in the story that changed the girl’s worlds.
All in all I loved this story, I loved the mystery presented from chapter 1, and learning about the steps that took us and the main characters to this point. I’m not a big fan of poetry, but I did enjoy seeing how the use of poetry moved along with the story as well. This is not a book with a subject to be taken lightly, it is a story that shows the progression of how some people are seen by the outside world, and the unknown struggle that people face.