Rain, Reign by Ann Martin
I am always intrigued by novels that allow me to step inside the minds of people who approach the world in very different ways from me. The character Rose puzzles, delights, and intrigues me. She glories in homonyms, and given her obsession, loves that her own name is one. She purposely gives her dog a very special name–a double homonym: Rain (Rein, Reign).
The story of her beloved dog going missing during a powerful storm is told through Rose’s eyes and with her own unique voice and vision. We learn of her other obsessions–prime numbers, the need for order and rituals–all common symptoms of high-functioning autism. But this novel is beyond a card-board story built around a perceived disability; it is raw, emotional, and riveting. Middle-schoolers I know are loving it–and so do I. A great book for stopping after chapters and discussing, whether it’s read at home or school.
We recently reviewed another book with a main character with Asberger’s Syndrome. If the teen in your life enjoyed Rain, Reign, you might recommend The White Bicycle:
The White Bicycle by Beverly Brenna
Taylor Jane travels to France for the summer and chronicles her trip in her journal. Since her diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome at age 11, she has learned to use her writing as a tool to help her process her experiences, and as readers, we are able to eavesdrop on her thinking as we read those journal entries. The White Bicycle figures prominently in her dreams, where the “the speed and wind on my face as I ride is exhilarating.” The book is the third novel about Taylor Jane, and in my mind, the most compelling. The respect for the gifts as well as challenges of autism is refreshing and informative.