Published by Feiwel and Friends on October 7th, 2014
Genres: contemporary, middle grade
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In her most powerful novel yet, Newbery Honor author Ann M. Martin tells the story of girl with mental/emotional challenges and the dog she loves.
Rose Howard has OCD, Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his special-needs daughter.
Just as a storm hits town, 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. Rose will find Rain, but so will Rain’s original owners.
Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.
Ann M. Martin is the author behind some of the best books of my childhood, The Babysitters’ Club. I haven’t read a book of hers since then, so I had no idea if I would still be able to connect to her writing. A lot of times authors from the old school of writing really throw me off with their style. There’s a lot of telling instead of showing, too much dialogue, etc. In the case of Rain Reign, I just didn’t care much.
The main character, Rose, is a child with high-functioning autism. Her voice is very unique, and that wasn’t my issue really. I think it was the whole homonym thing. It just really interrupted the flow of the narrative for me. Every time Rose found a new homophone ( I don’t know why she didn’t call them homophones because I never saw her call out a homograph, and homonyms can be both, so technically she had a fixation with homoPHONES not homonyms.)
But anyway. That was one thing that kept me from loving the book as much as I could. The other thing was the whole pet storyline. I cannot really talk about this without spoiling the book, so I will just say this: I don’t think the way the book ended was fair. Hasn’t this girl been through enough? View Spoiler »Frankly, I don’t find emotional manipulation fun or entertaining, and I don’t like unhappy endings when it comes to pets. Oh, fuck it. Rose has to give away Rain, and it really pissed me off. It turns out that Rose’s father brought home Rain in a storm but never bothered to look for her owner. Well, the dog was microchipped and the shelter found her family and Rose had to give her back because it was the right thing to do. Which, fine. That IS her family. But don’t expect me to find a child’s misery enjoyable. And I don’t even like children. « Hide SpoilerSo it comes down to personal preference, and I did not like the direction of this book.
Honestly, I’m probably being too generous with my rating.
Not only did I not connect with the characters, but Rose’s father pissed me off the whole entire time. I know he was supposed to, but I don’t find child abuse entertaining either. There are topics I just don’t like reading about, and based on the blurb, I was expecting a story about a girl and her pet and the dog gets lost in a storm. That is partially what I got, but there were parts of the book I just didn’t care for.
And that’s why I’m rating it 3 stars. I don’t think it’s fair to one star a book just because it didn’t meet my expectations. It was a perfectly fine book…for the right person. Obviously my co-blogger Bekka liked it much more than I did. There was a lot of good here, and I am trying to be objective in my rating. But in the end, this book almost completely missed the mark for me.
That said, it will find a place in my husband’s classroom where I think kids will love it.