Author: Ann M. Martin
Synopsis: Rose Howard has 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.
Huge thank you to Raincoast Book for this ARC!
Let’s be honest here, as a dog owner, this book was going to gut me. All my friends who had read it said, it will make your heart hurt. For those reasons, I kept putting Rain Reign off, out of fear that I was going to ugly cry my way through the book.
And I did. In fact, my book has tear stains in it. This story will make you emotional, it will make you feel hopeful, it will lift you up, then bring you down again. It’s beautiful, though at the pen of Ann M. Martin, are any of really surprised?
The relationship between Rose and Rain is such a beautiful representation of love, loyalty and trust between a human and their dog. Even more heartbreaking is how symbiotic their relationship is, how strong their need for each other is, and is when you learn the truth about Rain, where she came from, it destroys your heart further. Rose knows she has to do the right thing, but her internal struggles of trying to comprehend what that is, was so innocent and sad.
Martin’s portrayal of a child with Asperger’s syndrome was so spot on. You get the sense of who Rose really is, how her disability challenges her, and how she attempts to put certain aspects around her together. Everything is a puzzle, everything needs to have a definitive answer, and yet nothing in her life feels definitive or stable. She attempts to understand why she is different, though she feels ostracised by the other students, she always knew Rain would be there when she got home — to give her the love and courage she needs. When Rain is removed from the picture, Rose struggles to find confidence, but is determined to find the dog she loves and do the right thing.
I won’t spoil the ending, but a lot of this novel hit very close to home. I know what it’s like taking ownership of a stray dog, I know what it’s like to have been blessed by four amazing dogs in my life time (with more to come, I’m sure). Dogs are amazing and in tune creatures, they sense your pain, your sadness, but they create instant joy just by looking at them. While I was reading Rain Reign I sobbed through the book and my Labrador Retriever stayed at my side the whole time, nuzzling against me, reminding me that she was here, and she loved me.
This book will destroy any pet owner out there, as it’s an emotional roller-coaster. It’s thoughtful, kind, and so incredibly honest. Rose and Rain’s relationship will make you want to hold your pets tight, because believe me — you’re going to cry because of this book, and they will be some of the hardest tears, but this book is perfect, and it will give you so much feeling that when you finish it, you won’t stop thinking about it either.
My babies, Dakota (on the left, a yellow Labrador Retriever) & Brutus (on the right, a very small English Bulldog)