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Rain Rising

by Courtne Comrie

Rain idolizes her 18-year-old brother, Xander (or as she likes to call him, X). Both intelligent and athletic, X has a scholarship to attend an elite high school where he plays on the football team and is one of the only Black kids at his school. Rain, who is 13, calls X her “little dad” because he watches out for her, supports her, and attends her school functions – unlike their actual father, who is rarely around. Even though Rain shares a deep bond with her brother and is seemingly best friends with one of the popular girls in her middle school, she often feels sad. Rain doesn’t like her hair, her skin colour, or her body, and she desperately wants to be beautiful and adored, like her affluent friend Nara. Already struggling in school, Rain’s life is thrown into complete chaos when X is severely beaten at a fraternity party while visiting a university campus and the assault is captured on tape and broadcast across social media.

Rain Rising offers an exploration of grief from the perspective of an early adolescent, and Courtne Comrie succeeds at capturing the inner emotions of the young narrator at a pivotal moment in her life. The book offers great lessons on both learning to love and accept oneself and the importance of forging healthy relationships. The inclusion of diary entries immerses readers in the story, which can bring comfort to children who, like Rain, may feel overwhelmed by life events and circumstances beyond their control but have trouble expressing how they feel, even to those whom they deeply love.

While the lessons offered in Rain Rising are certainly accessible to middle-graders, the youngest of the age group may struggle with the format and structure. The book is written in verse, which can prove complex and might require a very close reading of the text. Extra support may be necessary to ensure that younger readers can follow along, but parents and educators should not be put off from sharing this touching story with them.

Even though Rain is in her last year of an average inner-city middle school in the United States, her story of struggle, strength, losing hope, and then finding it in an unlikely place is one that many young Canadian children can relate to.


Reviewer: Angela Wright

Publisher: HarperCollins


Price: $21.00

Page Count: 336 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 978-0-06315-973-0

Released: September

Issue Date: November 2022

Categories: Children and YA Fiction, Kids’ Books

Age Range: 8–12