Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

rain-reignBrilliance Audio, 2014.

Rose loves her name because it’s a homonym. In fact, Rose is a little obsessed with homonyms, and the obsession is probably related to her Asperger’s Syndrome. She recites homonyms to calm herself when she is anxious. She thinks they make the best words and the best names, so when her father brought home a dog for her, Rose named the dog Rain, a name with a homonym: Reign.

It’s not only homonyms Rose likes. She also loves prime numbers and rules. She loves rules so much that she can’t help but point out whenever someone isn’t following the rules, like when the bus driver doesn’t signal before making a turn. That’s why Rose no longer rides the school bus and instead gets rides to and from school from Uncle Weldon.

School is hard for Rose. It’s tough to join in when the kids and teachers don’t find homonyms nearly as interesting as she does, and they’re annoyed when she points out that someone has broken a rule or recites prime numbers. The kids soften a bit toward Rose, though, on the day that Rain follows Rose into school. Any way you look at it, Rain is a comfort to Rose, that is, until the Super Storm comes and Rain goes missing. Rose will have to make a plan and move way out of her comfort zone to deal with this crisis.

For three years in middle school my daughter’s assigned summer reading included books in which either the main character or a sibling of the main character was on the autism spectrum. Since then, the mere mention of a book that will put my sensitive teens into an imaginary situation where they or their sibling create extremely awkward social situations is enough to make them run screaming from the room, but Rain Reign is different somehow, perhaps because it is narrated by Rose herself, and the reader sees those situations not from the side of mortifying embarrassment but through the lens of someone trying hard to understand the intricacies of social skills.

Rose is extremely appealing and a hero to be remembered for her bravery, her failure to give up, her loyalty, and her principles. The book brought me to tears in a good way. It champions compassion and understanding without being sappy and provides important insight into the thoughts of someone whose affect may be different from the norm but whose wants and needs are universal.

I borrowed the audio book of Rain Reign from my local library. It was read beautifully by Laura Hamilton and runs four hours and nine minutes.



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