Sunday, January 20, 2019

Right as Rain

Stoddard, Lindsey. Right as Rain
February 12th 2019 by HarperCollins
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Rain's family has experienced a tragedy-- her older brother was killed in a car accident. The mother thinks that the answer to their protracted grief is moving from a farm in Vermont to New York City, where she has taken a job in a big hospital. Rain's stay-at-home father seems to be a motivating factor behind the move, because he has been having trouble even getting out of bed in the morning. Moving to the city doesn't seem like the best idea for him, since his primary activity in Vermont was gardening. Rain's not happy having to transition to a new school and also feels that her brother's death is her fault, but she manages to make friends, keep up with her running, and complete the volunteer hours her new school requires. She loves working at Ms. Dacie's, where children and families can stop by to get help with all manner of matters, and work in the garden as well. However, funding has been pulled, and Ms. Dacie may need to close. Rain tries to get her father involved in an effort to get him to be functional once again, and also tries to get her mother to realize that she and her father are in pain and need to process it differently than she does.

The descriptions of both Rain's home in Vermont and and in New York are very vivid. Even though the move is a generally unwanted one, both seem full of opportunities and their own forms of excitement. It would have been nice to have a little more information about Rain's mother's working situation in both settings, but the new home does seem like an excellent place for both Rain and her father to be.

Rain's new school mates are also very interesting. She is realistically portrayed as missing her best friend Izzy in Vermont, but she manages to befriend the prickly Frankie (whose best friend had lived in Rain's apartment) and shy Amelia. Her teacher, Mrs. Baldwin, is very supportive, giving her books to read and encouraging her writing. Ms. Dacie's is a bustling and vibrant environment filled with all manner of understanding, supportive people.

Readers who enjoyed Benjamin's The Thing about Jellyfish, Kelly's You Go First or Haydu's The Someday Suitcase will find this a sad but somewhat hopeful journey through grief.

This was a little more upbeat than a lot of books, but Stoddards' Just Like Jackie has not check out at all, so I am debating purchase. This cover is more appealing, and the inclusion of running adds to its appeal.

Again, this is not my truth. Why was the father not in some serious counseling? Why was the family not? Clearly, the parents were not getting along well, and this is as much of a stressor for Rain as her imagined guilt over the death. If middle grade authors really want to be helpful in their depiction of grief, they would have more characters sent to counseling. Rain especially could use some-- since she covered up for her brother, her parents might well feel she is somewhat responsible, and her feeling of guilt is something that needs to be assessed on a professional level.

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