Right As Rain

Lindsey Stoddard
From the critically acclaimed author of Just Like Jackie comes a strikingly tender novel about one family's heartbreak and the compassion that carries them through, perfect for fans of Sara Pennypacker, Lisa Graff, and Ann M. Martin. It's been almost a year since Rain's brother Guthrie died, and her parents still don't know it was all Rain's fault. In fact, no one does--Rain buried her secret deep, no matter how heavy it weighs on her heart. So when her mom suggests moving the family from Vermont to New York City, Rain agrees. But life in the big city is different. She's never seen so many people in one place--or felt more like an outsider. With her parents fighting more than ever and the anniversary of Guthrie's death approaching, Rain is determined to keep her big secret close to her heart. But even she knows that when you bury things deep, they grow up twice as tall. Readers will fall in love with the pluck and warmth of Stoddard's latest heroine and the strength that even a small heart can lend.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2021-11-09

Trigger Warnings: Grief, Parents Fighting

 

Rain is positive that her older brother Guthrie's death nearly a year ago is her fault, but she hasn't told anyone. Meanwhile, her father won't leave the closed bedroom door and her mother is constantly hustling around. To change their scenery, the family moves from their suburban life in Vermont to the urban, multicultural world of Washington Heights in New York City.

 

Rain never imagined how different life in the city would be: there are so many people in one place, different cultures, homelessness, and change. With her mom and dad fighting more than ever and the anniversary of Guthrie's death around the corner, Rain is determined to keep her family together.

 

There is a lot in this small book: a family dealing with the death of a teenager, feelings of being on the outside of a diverse community, gentrification and change, homelessness, adjustment to urban life, being the new kid, and more. The relationships in this book are authentic, complicated, and perfectly written. I never felt like any interactions were forced or just completely out there.

 

Lindsey Stoddard wrote Rain as a strong, resilient, and empathetic preteen who is dealing with grief. This book does remind me of Bridge to Terabithia (my first book where it's not 100% a happy ending). It takes a serious issue and doesn't sugarcoat it, but shows young readers a tough subject in a way they can understand and relate to.

 

The only thing I kept thinking about that I would like to know is how in the world Rain was able to crack her knuckles as often as she did! I crack mine pretty frequently but I felt like Rain would do it every few pages. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. Especially once I was able to really sit and read through the pages.

 

I would highly recommend this middle grade book. Middle graders will especially connect with this book and enjoy it, but adults as well.

Reviewed: 2019-05-30

Common sense media: Rain can say things to hurt people when she feels hurt, and she wishes that bad things happen to boys who are bullying her friend. A sibling has died. A car accident is described in detail -- no blood, but bent metal and tragedy.

Some foul language, age 9+

Kirkus: Realistic explorations of how grief divides a struggling family and gentrification erodes a community are balanced by the love and friendship among these diverse characters.

School library Journal: his touching middle grade novel addresses the heartache of loss while also providing an insightful, accessible introduction to privilege, homelessness, and gentrification. grade 4-7

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