BOOK REVIEWS

Shouting at the Rain Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-09-10 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0399175156
LANGUAGE:English

"Just an ok middle grade novel about what makes a friend and a family. I feel like I've read this before and I think it's because there has been such an influx of middle grade novels very similar to this. I struggled with the characters in this because simultaneously it felt like they were getting younger as time went on while also having incredibly grown-up conversations about complex feelings and comparing the wind to anger. Maybe that's because that's what being a pre-teen really feels like? Either way, I think this would be a good recommendation for those being raised by grandparents." said.

"I have been patiently waiting for Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s latest middle grade book, Shouting at the Rain, and I’m happy to say it was worth the wait. Her previous books Fish in a Tree and One for the Murphys are two of my favorites. In Shouting at the Rain, Mullaly Hunt shares the story of Delsie, a 12-year old girl dealing with typical pre-teen issues, while also wondering about her not-so-typical family life. Set in Cape Cod, the story reveals important messages, like that things are not always as they seem and that support can come from many places. The book has several deep moments where my heart went out to Delsie and the other characters, as well as some light, humorous ones. This new release should be added to the top of your TBR list! —Gerilyn (excerpted from Bookish's Staff Reads)" said.

"Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and her newest book is no exception. I'm a character-driven reader, and there wasn't one character in this book that I didn't feel strongly about. Delsie, our narrator, is strong and independent and kind and accepting. She interacts with many different friends and friend groups throughout the book, which I think is something many kids experience--they don't necessarily have a "best" friend, but are instead friends with lots of people.

Delcie deals with friendship problems and mean girls, abandonment issues, and struggles to define what, exactly, makes a family. She also HATES to wear shoes. (I was interested to learn that many of the details of Delcie's life are based on the author's own childhood experiences.) Ronan is a fabulous new-to-the-neighborhood friend, and Delcie's grandmother is a hilarious spitfire. Just a story full of love and humor and forgiveness from beginning to end.
" said.

"Adult rating: 4 stars
Kid rating: 4 stars

Delsie lives on Cape Cod with her grandmother, since her mother abandoned her at birth. She loves Cape Cod and considers herself a "Caper" (lifer) rather than a "Washed Ashore" (transplant). This summer, her best friend is busy with the summer theatre production of Annie and her summer friend is no longer interested in doing the fun things they've always done together. Brandy is more interested in clothes, manicures, and hanging out with the snobby girl. Delsie's summer isn't looking good until she meets Ronan, a new boy. Delsie shows Ronan all the fun of life on the Cape. They go crabbing, clamming, fishing, and lobstering. Ronan and Delsie share the misfortune of both being abandoned by their mothers, but learn that as long as you're loved, it doesn't matter where it comes from.

I connected with this book much more than Fish in a Tree. As a kid, my dad taught me how to crab and clam, so it definitely brought back memories. Kids love straightforward books about summer and vacations. They love the beach. They like stepping into another kid's shoes. What they don't want is deep language. Hunt's latest book delivers on all of that. Girls will relate to the devastation of losing a friend to someone else, and the awkward time when the carefree fun of childhood gives way to new teen interests. The overall message is well taken. Appreciate what you have rather than dwelling on what you don't have. Sometimes the rain isn't a bad thing.
" said.

"I was so excited to read Hunt's latest novel, especially because I LOVED her previous book Fish in a Tree . Fish is one that I recommend to many students and teachers in my building and it is always a hit. Sadly, I was not as impressed with this one. To be fair, it was a completely fine and acceptable book, but I didn't feel the magic that I felt with Fish. I do think that many of my 6th and 7th grade students will enjoy this one, and I could even see it working as a read aloud for classes. Also, it could serve a dual purpose role in a science classroom as it talks about fishing and ocean wildlife in detail at times.

Delsie has never known her mother. She has always lived with her Grammy and her Papa Joseph, but he passed away a few years ago. Now she just has her grandma and the neighbors who live in their rundown circle on Cape Cod. With summer (and tourist season) upon them, Grammy is busier than ever, but Delsie is excited for her friend Brandy to come back to town. Until Brandy starts to change and hang out with another new girl who is mean to Delsie. As Dels struggles to figure out what she should do about this, and if she will ever be able to learn anything about her mother and what she thinks of as her "real family" her neighbors and new friends will help her understand what family is actually about.

This is a solid middle grade book suitable for readers in grades 4-8. Consider this as a first or second purchase title, especially in areas where realistic fiction is in high demand and where her other novels are popular.
" said.

""I realize what I've always known—that family isn't really about blood and having the same last name. It's made by the people who love you."

A heartwarming new middle-grade novel that tackles some big topics in a gentle way. I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion the author reached, but I appreciate that she tackled such topics, opening a door for the rest of us to have conversation. I think it's really important that books like these exist for kids (and adults), considering how many grow up in broken families, where either Mom or Dad or both are out of the picture for one reason or another. We need to see ourselves in stories, too, and see the feelings articulated that we don't always know how to communicate to those who haven't tasted the brokenness. I was personally touched by the reminder that perspective is everything. As someone who came from a broken family, I can focus on whom I didn't have growing up, or I can focus on all the people God has brought into my life to be blessings to me. Family truly isn't about blood.

I do wish this novel had been written a little differently. At times, the chapters seemed more episodic and stand-alone than linked together to form one story. Sometimes events just happened out of nowhere, or the author jumped from one event to another but seemingly left out key information in between. Others have pointed out that this book is quite character-driven rather than plot-driven, hence the sense of jumping around. That's a good observation to keep in mind, though I still think it's possible to write the story as a more united whole.
" said.

"Delsie never thought of herself as an orphan until her friend gets the lead in Annie and wants Delsie to tell her what it's like. Suddenly Delsie is looking at her life in a different way, and wondering about the mother who left her to be raised by her grandmother. Delsie's other friend Brandy, who comes to the Cape every summer, has changed this year, mostly due to a new friend, Trella. Trella doesn't seem to like Delsie much. But Delsie finds a new friend in Ronan, who doesn't like to talk about his family life. Together, the two of them explore what family and friendship really mean.

I heard Lynda speak about this novel at the NESCBWI conference this spring, and what made me really want to read this was that it was about a girl being raised by her grandmother - something I see quite often both in the community where I work and in my own family. We never really find out why Delsie's mother left (alcohol is hinted at, and I suspected drugs as well) or what happened with Ronan's mother, but I think that was better, because this is a story about the people who are there. It's also about the difficulties of talking about feelings - Delsie has learned how to navigate when and how her grandmother will talk about things, but Ronan is a totally different story. I absolutely loved Ronan... just wanted to give him a big hug! The friendship aspect is something necessarily for middle-schoolers and I can remember dealing with exactly these kinds of issues when I was that age. I'm really a fan of the author's heartfelt writing, and I'm looking forward to (eventually) reading One for the Murphys.
" said.

"Shouting at the Rain takes place in Cape Cod Massachusetts. It starts with Delsie (the main character) and one of her friends that she's had since first grade, Aimee Polloch. They're at Delsie's house.
Aimee told Delsie she had a surprise even though she knows Delsie hates surprises. Aimee got a lead role in a play at the Cape Playhouse with another one of their friends named Michael. Michael didn't get as big of a role as Aimee, but still got a pretty good role. They're performing Annie. Aimee is playing Annie, and Michael is playing Rooster. Delsie knows this summer she won't be able to hang out with them as much because of that, but she is happy for them. Aimee is there to tell Delsie about the performance, but she is also there because she wanted know what it's like to be an orphan. Delsie used to live with both her grandmother and grandfather, but now just with her grandmother. Her mother had left when she was little and she had never met her father. Neither had her grandmother. She didn't have an answer to Aimee's question. For some reason, she had never even thought about it. Her grandmother never talked about Delsie's mother, even when Delsie asked. She would say it would bring up sad feelings. Near the end of the book Delsie finds out her mother had left because she was an alcoholic. She had not wanted Delsie to live with a mother who was drunk most of the time. Delsie meets another kid named Ronan. They were kind of simillar. He had a mother but she forced him to leave as a teenager. Now he lives with his father. His father had to leave his job as a fisherman so he could take care of Ronan. Him and his father end up moving to Delsie's neighborhood. As Delsie creates and loses friendships, she learns in the end she doesn't need a mother or father, because she is already surrounded by neighbors and friends who love her. I loved the book. It had great detail and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good read.
" said.

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