Rain Reign

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Reviewed by Lindsay Williams, Library Media Specialist

February 6, 2020

Rain Reign grabbed my attention because it features a main character with autism (Rose), and my youngest son has autism. Combine that with a beloved dog featuring prominently in the plot, and I knew that I was in for an emotional read. The book is told from Rose’s perspective, and readers quickly learn a great deal about her. She has high-functioning autism, requires the assistance of an aide at school, focuses intensely on homonyms and prime numbers, and absolutely loves her dog Rain, named because her dad found her in the rain outside a bar and because rain has two other homonyms (rein, reign). Her relationship with her father is difficult. He is a single father who has a quick temper and suffered abuse as a child, he stays out drinking many nights, and he doesn’t understand (or attempt to understand) Rose much at all. Luckily for Rose, her uncle Weldon does his best to make sure Rose is well-cared-for, but she still struggles to fit in at school and often gets teased.

Most descriptions of Rain Reign tell readers that this book is about what Rose experiences when Rain goes missing during a major storm; however, this book is really the story of Rose’s struggle to understand herself and the world around her. I could hardly put this book down at all, and toward the end, I actually found myself chewing my fingernails in anticipation of what would happen next. There are several big surprises that take place that I really wasn’t expecting, even though I was genuinely wishing for a couple of them. And without revealing any spoilers, a couple of others broke my heart.

Ann M. Martin has written a book that will definitely be enjoyable for preteens, teens, and adults alike. Rain Reign includes valuable lessons about accepting others, including the quirks we might not understand, but she also makes powerful points about the effects of parental abuse, judging others, and doing what’s right, no matter how hard that might be. Rose is a wonderful character. Somehow, the author has managed to get inside the mind of a child with high-functioning autism and create a character who does justice to all the people in the world on that particular end of the spectrum. Most importantly, she shows that character has a heart that is pure and good. Our world is filled with misconceptions about people with autism, and Martin’s portrayal of Rose is a powerful tool that fights those misconceptions.

rain reign

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