(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Rose Howard isn't like the other fifth graders at her school. At 12, she's older than her classmates. Being held back isn't her most significant obstacle, however. As a high-functioning autistic, she's obsessed with things her peers seem to care little about, like homonyms, prime numbers, and following rules. Because she has difficulty reading social cues and always keeping her emotions in check, Rose has trouble making—and keeping—friends. She has an aide who's paid to stay by her side all day, but that's not the same thing.
The only one who really understands Rose is her dog, Rain. When the yellow Lab gets out during a hurricane, Rose becomes frantic. She can't survive without her only real friend, the creature who anchors her in a world she often can't understand. She just can't. As soon as the storm damage allows Rose to leave her house, she launches a plan to locate her dog. She won't give up until Rain is back at home, safe and sound.
Even the most logical, well-organized plans sometimes go awry. As Rose puts hers into action, she'll have to learn some important lessons about flexibility, forgiveness, and navigating a world that doesn't always makes sense. Following the rules, as Rose soon finds out, can sometimes lead to the biggest heartaches of all.
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin tells a story that is both sweet and sad, tender and heart-wrenching. It's impossible not to sympathize with Rose, a misfit who is trying her hardest to please those around her, few of whom really "get" her. Her voice rings achingly true. There's nothing the reader wants more than a happy ending for Rose, but that's not exactly what we get. Rain Reign does not tie up neatly. It ties up realistically. Hopefully, not perfectly. Because the tale is so authentic, it pierces the heart. Painfully, at times. It's not unrelentingly sad, though. Overall, it's a positive tale about acceptance, determination, and finding one's way in a confusing world.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter (alcoholism, child abandonment, animal cruelty, etc.)
To the FTC, with love: Another library