BookPage Children's Top Pick, October 2014
Most people don’t think much about homonyms or prime numbers. But most people aren’t 12-year-old Rose Howard, whose every waking moment is spent thinking about just those things. So it’s especially good luck that both her name (Rose/rows) and her dog’s (Rain/reign) are homonyms.
Few people understand Rose, whose OCD and Asperger syndrome make her the odd girl out at school and at home. Her mother left when she was young, so Rose lives with her father, an angry man who can’t deal with her eccentricities. Fortunately, her caring Uncle Weldon is her saving grace throughout the entire story. When Rain goes missing after a storm, Rose’s life changes dramatically. Her routine is disrupted, and her focus must shift to finding him.
Rain Reign is a triumph reminiscent of Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind, another excellent novel that illustrates what it’s like to live with special needs. Rose’s first-person narration is spot-on, relaying the repetition of her thoughts, her mind and the rules that guide her life. Readers should note the use of the word “retard” by Rose’s fellow students, but the context is appropriate and accurate.
It’s hard to imagine a more concise depiction of Rose’s Asperger syndrome, a more powerful portrayal of her father or a more heart–tugging story of love, loss and triumph. This poignant novel may very well bring Ann M. Martin her second Newbery Honor (after A Corner of the Universe in 2003) or, better yet, the Newbery Medal.