"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin (MG/YA)

by Ann M. Martin
Release date: October 7th, 2014
Published by: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: ARC from the publisher. 


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.


As we all know already, Ann M. Martin is the brilliance behind the Babysitter's Club fandom - one that is now considered a classic and is being read over and over again with each new generation. And now, she has managed to outdo herself a hundred times over with RAIN REIGN... Ms. Martin has managed to capture a voice that will forever live inside of my heart. 
It also takes a lot of heart, patience and understanding for an author to be able to get inside the mind of a 12-year-old girl who has aspergers and OCD. And then to give her a seemingly simple story to tell, a story that as small as it may seem at first, turns out to be the most powerful and thought-provoking story that I will probably read this year. Only a soulful person can accomplish that. Rose's story will force you to open your mind, and your heart. 

Rose has a story to tell. A story about her dog, named Rain. 
You better pay close attention. 

First, Rose gives us a little bit of a background first. These details are important to the telling of Rain's story... Rose is a 12 year old girl. She's in the 5th grade. She loves her dog Rain. She also loves homonyms, prime numbers and rules. She lives with her dad. Rose's dad has a hard time understanding her. He wants her to stop obsessing over her homonyms list. He doesn't like the monthly meetings at school with her teacher and aide. He gets very upset when she brings home her weekly reports informing him of her outbursts and repetitiveness. Rose tries her best. When things start to go a way that she can't handle, she tries to count using prime numbers only. It helps her calm down, sometimes. 
And then one rainy day, Rose's dad brings home a gift for her. A dog that has 7 white toes. The two become inseparable. 
Until the hurricane comes and her dad lets Rain out right after it. Rain goes missing. Why didn't her dad wake her up when he let Rain out? Why did he let Rain out right after a storm? 
Rose can only do what she does best - keep busy by thinking of a plan to find a Rain.
No one can ever imagine what Rose's hard work will lead to.

There are so many positive and wonderful things that happen in this book. All of Rose's relationships and encounters are so well thought out. Not only with her father and Rain, but with her uncle, classmates and even strangers. The reality of a girl with aspergers/OCD can be harsh and heartbreaking. But seeing and hearing it through Rose's eyes gave me a new perspective and understanding. At times, Rose had me in a fit of giggles and awe, at other times, I would get so angry or sad for her. Many tears were shed for my little friend.

By the time I started the third chapter, I kept forgetting that I was reading a contemporary story about a little girl. It really felt like I was reading an autobiography. Rose is so real to me. All of her emotions, logic and feelings were so raw and full of innocence and life. It is really hard to comprehend that Rose is just a character that Ms. Martin gave a voice to. To me, she's real. And I would do anything to meet her. I would like to share the homonyms that I thought of that she didn't mention in her story... mince/mints and tighten/titan. Maybe they're on her list. Maybe not. Either way, I'd hope to impress her.

The ending to Rose's story is heartwarming with a tinge of longing. I very much hope to hear from Rose again. I would like to see her as a teen, young woman... I'd like to grow up with her and follow her along  through life, through her eyes. She's full of heart and extremely smart. I have high hopes for her future... 

No matter what your favorite genre is, this is definitely a book that everyone should read. I promise you, Rose will leave some sort of imprint on you - she will teach you something, make you feel something you never have before, make you think twice - she will touch your heart. 

(*An ARC was sent to me by the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.)


Ann Matthews Martin was born on August 12, 1955. She grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, with her parents and her younger sister, Jane. After graduating from Smith College, Ann became a teacher and then an editor of children's books. She's now a full-time writer.

Ann gets the ideas for her books from many different places. Some are based on personal experiences, while others are based on childhood memories and feelings. Many are written about contemporary problems or events. All of Ann's characters, even the members of the Baby-sitters Club, are made up. But many of her characters are based on real people. Sometimes Ann names her characters after people she knows, and other times she simply chooses names that she likes. 

Ann has always enjoyed writing. Even before she was old enough to write, she would dictate stories to her mother to write down for her. Some of her favorite authors at that time were Lewis Carroll, P. L. Travers, Hugh Lofting, Astrid Lindgren, and Roald Dahl. They inspired her to become a writer herself. 

Since ending the BSC series in 2000, Ann’s writing has concentrated on single novels, many of which are set in the 1960s. 

After living in New York City for many years, Ann moved to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York where she now lives with her dog, Sadie, and her cats, Gussie, Willy and Woody. Her hobbies are reading, sewing, and needlework. Her favorite thing to do is to make clothes for children. 

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