Friday, 9 January 2015

Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

There are quite a few books with buzz right now featuring unique, wonderful protagonists who have learning, mental, or physical disabilities. Rain Reign falls into this new popular genre, featuring a heroine with a high-functioning form of autism.

I absolutely love Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. This author needs no introduction and you're guaranteed a well-written novel for young adult readers. It is a sad, lovely story about a young girl named Rose, whose carefully constructed world is changed forever after a hurricane. Her determination, spirit and resilience in the face of turmoil, loss, and the baffling world outside of her own will win your heart.

Summary:  Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father.

When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. 

Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.

I have so many wonderful things to say about this novel. Rose is a quirky, endearing and inspiring protagonist with a deep love for her dog, the rules, and homonyms (reason #100 to read this novel: grammar lesson!). Her life isn't an easy one, but despite her strained relationship with her father, her difficulties in school, and the challenges of maintaining the order and routine of her world, she perseveres.

As far as content goes, this is a fairly clean read. There is some uncomfortable near-violence when Rose's father loses his patience with Rose. Alcohol and objectionable language (the 'r-word', bullying, etc) are also content flags to be aware of. Overall, the content is handled well and serves a purpose to the plot, rather than existing for dramatic effect. Ann M. Martin is a teacher-favourite and the publisher's website even has a free discussion guide posted for download! (See link at the end of the review).

Fans of Mockingbird (Kathryn Erskine), Counting by 7s (Holly Goldberg Sloan), and The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee will enjoy this novel. Anyone who has ever loved a pet will love this book, actually. Rose's love for dog is inspiring; she would do anything to save Rain--and to make sure she does right by her. Even if it means giving her away...

Add this to your must-read list for this year! Ann M. Martin never disappoints!

4 Stars

Click here for the discussion guide from Macmillan

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