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Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin | Estelle Reviews

Rain Reign by Ann M. MartinRain Reign by Ann M. Martin ( facebook )
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 240
Target audience: Middle grade
Keywords: Aspergers, OCD, hurricane, family, dogs
Format read: ARC paperback from Macmillan. (Thanks!)

Summary: When a hurricane hits inland, Rose’s best companion — her dog named Reign — goes missing. What happens when the one stable thing in your life disappears?

I didn’t realize how timely it would be to read Rain Reign, with the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy coming up. Like Rose’s father said more than one time, the storms never catch them! It was so similar to what we were all saying until the storm came and conquered. I may not have lost my dog, but the storm forever changed one of my favorite spots from my childhood so I understood this feeling of disarray and loss in the book.

Ann M. Martin is no stranger to my bookshelf. I’ve been a huge fan of The Baby-Sitters Club series since I was young, I’ve read a ton of her other books so, of course, I jumped at the chance to read her latest. I haven’t read a ton of books about children with Aspergers syndrome (in fact, I can only compare this to the TV portrayal of Max on Parenthood) but she handles it with sensitivity and authenticity. Rose’s dad cannot grasp his daughter’s tendency to discover new homonyms or recite prime numbers. Most importantly, he doesn’t understand that she cannot control her outbursts and it was heartbreaking how frequently he left her to her own devices.

Thankfully, Rose isn’t totally alone. She has her Uncle Weldon, who drives her back and forth to school and has such a soft and patient way of communicating with her. The total opposite of Rose’s father, unfortunately. (Definitely a point of contention between the brothers too but less of a focus in the story because hey it’s written for middle graders.) And then there is Reign, the dog that Rose’s dad found on a rainy night (get it?) and never leaves his friend’s side. Weldon and Reign provide the most stability for Rose, and for someone who needs routine to get through the day, they were as necessary in her life as food or water or shelter. They kept her going.

The hurricane touching down wreaks havoc on more than their town as Reign goes missing and the routine and life Rose has known changes completely. And it’s not over yet. Martin does such an effective job of showing how isolating Rose’s disorder is through her relationship with her dad and the students in her class, but there is the flip side of it too. Rose is smart, thoughtful, and believes in doing the right thing. She is capable of handling a lot even if she does have some difficulties day to day. Furthermore, there are dependable people in her life who help her work through her behaviors. (Kudos to Martin for including Rose’s teacher aide; they rock!)

At any age, we are always scared of the things we don’t know and so much of Rain Reign is about being accepting and understanding we all have hurdles to jump through.

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October 19, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Cassie G - Like you, I’ve got the nostalgia for Ann Martin’s books. I think I read them all when I was younger. I didn’t know she was still writing (though now that I think about it, it doesn’t really make sense that she would stop. I think I just forgot about her as I grew up), but your review makes me want to go find a copy! I love that it explores children with support needs, as that doesn’t seem to be a heavily covered subject.

October 15, 2014 - 4:54 pm

Alexa S. - I really, really enjoyed Rain Reign! There’s just something magical and comforting about Ann M. Martin’s writing. And I adored Rose Howard, who’s spunky and smart and all sorts of wonderful in her way. So glad you liked this one too!

October 14, 2014 - 11:26 pm

candy - Thanks for the wonderful review. While I don’t know if I would read it because I usually read upper YA,I am considering it. However I am pretty sure my son would read it. He had to read Mockingbird a in 7th grade (he’s now in 9th) and loved it.Though I don’t think he has Asperger’s though he may be very high on the spectrum but not enough for a diagnosis he did come home after the teacher introduced the book and explained Asperger’s to them and told me what she described sounded like him and it was always a thought imy head that he could be but I never told him that,but my twin sister’s son does have Asperger’s and my son isn’t quite like him.My son does have social issues that he seems to be growing out of this year and slightly ODD on a few things he would always have just one thing he played with in each stage of his life and only be able to play with one friend at a time again that is finally changing this year and both my kids don’t know when and what is appropriate or inappropriate to say in public but growing up I had that issue too.Anyway like I said thanks for the review I will pass this information to my son and may read it myself.And oh,I totally get the hurricane thing I live in South Central Louisiana and we’ve seen our share of hurricanes hitting us or near hits.I would be happy to not ever have another one but I guess it comes with the territory. My kids and my family laugh at me bc I’m terrified of anything Cat 3 or higher bc I was traumatized by Hurricane Andrew. My 2 siblings and mom slept through the worst of it I however clawed my dad’s arm all night in fear bc I couldn’t sleep it was too loud and then we were following it on the radio and it spawning tornadoes like crazy just south of us then they lost it bc it unexpectedly turned east right before hitting us head on unfortunately where it turned put it in the path of my grandparents and cousins but thank God they were ok.Yes I’m rambling so I tend to do that.

October 14, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) - I loved this book! I think you hit the nail on the head with all of your points on this review. I love that Rose is the one telling her story and that we are able to see the heartbreaking side of things and also how she is far more able to deal with things than people assume. I did have to read this one in small doses to begin with because Rose is such a BIG character – eventually that is what I grew to love about her, but it took me a little bit to adjust to that (:

October 14, 2014 - 10:49 am

Brianna - I loved the BSC when I was a kid. I got to meet Ann M. Martin once and didn’t know what to do with myself. This sounds a bit like the MG version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime. Thanks for sharing your review.

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