Two young women struggle with family and school pressure, finding support in a kind, principled teacher in this contemporary novel featuring alternating narrators.
The story opens as one of them—readers do not know which one—attempts suicide in the opening chapter. Though readers may at first have trouble distinguishing between their voices due to the similarity of their names and to that purposeful obfuscation, Emily Delgado and Emily Davis (who goes by her middle name, Elizabeth) could scarcely be more different. Quiet, careful Emily is the daughter of a local politician whose image-conscious authority grates on his family. Elizabeth is opinionated and tough, though she, her younger sister and her mother are still reeling from the anguish caused by her father’s departure from the family after his extramarital affair. One of their teachers, Ms. Diaz, becomes a confidante for each of them, and she pairs them up for a project on Emily Dickinson, whose poems are discussed throughout and whose life circumstances serve as inspiration for the characters. The portrayal of the different ways people experience depression is spot-on—including the terrifying and believable way some of its less visible symptoms can be missed by the loved ones of those who are suffering.
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. (Fiction. 12-18)