Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Rain is Not My Indian Name
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: July 2001
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 14 yrs and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 12 yrs and up
Year/Setting: Present day, Kansas
Overall Rating: 3.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Cynthia's Website/Blog: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com
As everyone knows, I am a huge fan of this author. I was so blessed to be able to read Tantalize and Eternal, so I decided to go "back in time" and read others that this wonderful author had written. I was not disappointed.
Unlike her foray into the world of vampires, this book is not a fantasy. This is a very real girl, by the name of Rain, who lives a very real life in her small town of Hannesburg, Kansas. First of all, I love the small town appeal in any book. The local grocery store; sitting by the water tower with your best friend; planning your futures together as you stare around at the one place you will forever call home no matter how far you go or what success you make of yourself...a nice feeling washes over you when you remember your place in the world from when you were a child.
Rain's best friend is Galen. They've known each other forever. One night, New Years Eve, Rain decides that she's going to take that next step; time to move Galen from the tier of friendship to the tier of first love.
Unfortunately, it's also the night that Galen would be taken from her by an icy-road accident. Rain is strong. She has a strong family and she has people behind her that love and support her with all their hearts. Her brother, Fynn is the local "hot guy". He's dating Natalie, the local reporter. Fynn works hard at his job out of town, and wears suits that show off how truly handsome he is. Even the local cheerleaders go by their house and whistle when he gets out of the car. Talk about stalkers. But Natalie is the woman for him. She's calm, quiet, but strong. She has opinions and doesn't mind expressing them. And...she's pregnant.
Rain's mother is gone. Her father is on the island of Guam. He's a soldier there, and calls his daughter every once in a while to let her know how the weather is. He's not a bad father, by the way. He made a good decision for his children. To get Rain through the pain and loss, she finds herself a job at her local newspaper. She is to photograph the campers that are going to her Aunt Georgia's Indian camp. Alot of the townspeople, including Galen's mother, want this Indian Camp closed. They feel that since there aren't enough Native Americans in the town, that the money should be used for other, more important things. Rain is on a seesaw with this particular camp, because even though she'd like to take a reporter's view on everything, she is part of the tribal community. There is a part of her that belongs in this world, and perhaps, she can find a place for herself - a place where she belongs.
The family elements of this story are truly strong. It makes me think of when I look at my own recently-turned-eighteen-year-old-daughter, and wonder what her life will be like. Will she find her place in this world? Will she be able to re-experience loss, pain and be able to recover with the strength and power that I feel inside her soul? I hope so. I'm giving this book to her right now. She loves to read. Her imagination is wonderful, and the story that Ms. Smith has written will be a good stepping stone for her.
Again, read this author...she knows what she's doing.
Until next time,
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