Rachel Fletcher thought the biggest secret she’d ever have would be her crush on Jason West. But everything changes the night her father dies in a car accident—an accident she knows is all her fault. Starting high school is hard enough, but carrying her secret guilt, enduring her mother’s depression, and, worst of all, dealing with her seventeen-year-old brother Ryan’s alcoholism, plunge Rachel into a world she never wanted or imagined. Add to all that the unwelcome intrusion of a stepfather and a teenaged stepbrother--a stepbrother she doesn’t want to like but can’t help liking. Maybe too much. Things like these aren’t supposed to happen to good LDS people, so why are they happening to her? And she’s been praying for Heavenly Father’s help. Why isn’t He listening?

With two new people in her home, nothing can remain a secret for long. Rachel learns that Heavenly Father doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way that we want, but He does answer them--in His own time, usually through other people, and in unique and unexpected ways.



When the Bough Breaks Reviews:


Meridian Magazine

From “Saving the Best for the End”
By Jennie Hansen

Sometimes life seems to go all wrong. In When the Bough Breaks , Kay Lynn Mangum sets another story at Central High School, the setting for her highly successful, The Secret Journal of Brett Colton — and this time her young heroine has more complications in her life than seem fair.

It is not necessary to read Mangum's previous novel to enjoy this new one. Though a few characters from her previous book appear, there are no spoilers to lessen the reader's enjoyment if When the Bough Breaks is read first.

Rachel Fletcher is just finishing junior high and making plans with her best friend for starting high school the following year, when Rachel's father is killed in a car accident while on his way to pick her up from her friend's house. One of her brothers, seventeen-year-old Ryan, implies their father's accident is her fault and she feels intense guilt and believes she really is to blame.

Rachel also has to deal with Ryan's alcoholism and his embarrassing, hateful antics brought on by his addiction. To make matters worse, her mother becomes intensely depressed, and her older brother who is married and lives a considerable distance away is not there to help her deal with Ryan, their mother, and her grief.

When she thinks things can't get any worse, the father of a student Ryan viciously beats up, comes to talk to her mother and winds up becoming Rachel's stepfather after an embarrassingly short time. Now Rachel has a stepfather and stepbrother she doesn't want, to complicate matters farther. Her only release seems to be her notebooks, where she writes poetry that reflects her innermost thoughts and feelings.

The characters in this story are complex and well developed. The problems they face are those typical teenagers are often forced to confront. Though the novel, at first reading, appears to be a teenage coming of age novel, it goes deeper and is directed toward parents of teenagers as well. It is excellent in its portrayal of complex family relationships. It also highlights the serious social problem many families face of dealing with teenage alcoholism. There are also romance and family relationship subplots to the story.

Mangum does a commendable job of getting inside her characters' hearts and minds at a depth few writers manage. There are a few typos, but no more than what appear in most books electronically prepared. I enjoyed the book immensely, though I found the sheer volume of poetry and the textbook explanations of various types of poetry overdone (Authorial Intrusion: Hey! That was the most enjoyable part of the book for me to write – I love poetry! Apparently this reviewer doesn’t – lol). This is one novel I highly recommend for teenagers and their parents.


Reviewed by Dayna Davis, LDSFiles.com Staff Writer

When the Bough Breaks by Kay Lynn Mangum. Published by Deseret Book.

Rachel Fletcher's world turns upside down the night she comes home and learns her Dad was killed in an accident. Since he was on his way to pick her up, she is sure it's her fault. The problems only escalate when her brother starts openly drinking and her mother refuses to get out of bed. How long can Rachel hold the family together?

I have enjoyed all of Kay Lynn Mangum's books. They are realistic and interesting. This one is no exception. I find the characters compelling and easy to relate to. I spent the book cheering for Rachel and wishing I could help her with her problems. It is so easy to remember the issues that plague teenagers - the embarrassment over a perceived social faux pas or the mortification about saying the wrong thing around a cute guy. While the end was a bit predictable [Authorial Intrusion: What?? This is the first person I know of who’s said the ending was predictable – I thought the ending was a total surprise – LOL], I could not have predicted how it ended up there. I do hope there will be a follow up book with these characters because I would love to learn what their future holds.


LDS Review. net

Book Review: When the Bough Breaks

Rachel Fletcher is a normal 9th grader, but her life changes in an instant on a dark, February night when her father is killed in a tragic car accident. Suddenly, her life feels like it’s spiraling out of control, and the one who should be listening to her - Heavenly Father - doesn’t seem to be there.

Kay Lynn Mangum is quickly becoming one of my favorite new novelists on the LDS scene (check out my review of her last book A Love Like Lilly ), and her latest novel When the Bough Breaks doesn’t disappoint.

Rachel Fletcher’s life is thrown for a loop when her father dies in a tragic car accident - an accident that wouldn’t have happened had he not been on the way to pick up Rachel from her friend’s house. With her father gone, Rachel’s mother seems to pay attention to her own grief and nothing else, and Rachel’s brother, Ryan, plunges into the dangerous world of alcoholism. With her life spinning out of control, Rachel leans on the only person she knows will understand - Heavenly Father. Surely He can make everything better, and He does - just not in the way that Rachel would have planned.

The things that impress me about Mangum’s writing are that she seems to have a good grip on the teenage psyche, and she explores topics that haven’t previously been written about, like the dangers of alcoholism in When the Bough Breaks. Her books are not just written for the teenage crowd, either - as a 20-something wife and mother, these books not only entertain but have a good message. It’s a gift that Mangum has for being able to reach out to people of all ages.

Click here to read the first chapter of When the Bough Breaks.

( Click here if you need to download Adobe Reader )

This book is available from the following bookstores. Click on the links to go to the respective bookstore:

Amazon, Deseret Book, Barnes & Noble.