Title: Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 386 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
How far would you go to protect the ones you love?
Rain has taken care of Ethan all of their lives. Before she even knew what autism meant, she was her twin brother’s connection to the world around him. Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, and Rain takes comfort in being the one who holds their family together. It’s nice to be needed—to be the center of someone’s world. If only her longtime crush, Liam, would notice her too…
Then one night, her life is upended by a mistake she can’t undo. Suddenly Rain’s new romance begins to unravel along with her carefully constructed rules. Rain isn’t used to asking for help—and certainly not from Ethan. But the brother she’s always protected is the only one who can help her. And letting go of the past may be the only way for Rain to hold onto her relationships that matter most.
Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier is a heartwarming and poignant young adult novel.
Rain Rosenblatt has always protected and taken care of her twin brother, Ethan, who is autistic. Now sixteen, both siblings find romance which unexpectedly throws their relationship into a bit of turmoil. Rain is surprised to discover that her crush, Liam, returns her feelings and their relationship is off to an awkward but promising start. At the same time, her best friend Hope and Ethan are exploring their feelings for one another and Rain is not exactly on board with their burgeoning romance. As Ethan begins to expand his horizons beyond the safe, comfortable confines of their home, Rain finds herself continually off balance when she discovers she does not know her brother as well as she thought.
Rain is very loyal to Ethan and since her single mom has abdicated his care to her, her life pretty much revolves around her brother’s schedule and predictable routines. Always anticipating his needs and certain she knows what is best for him, she bases most of her decisions around him including her plans beyond high school. Rain is definitely not in favor of his relationship with Hope, but once she realizes her opinion is not going to change anything, she tries to push her misgivings aside. However, Rain is also struggling to adjust to the changes in her relationship with Ethan as he continues to be more independent.
Liam is a great character but he comes across as a little too perfect. He is great with Ethan and he treats him just any other kid their age. He is beyond patient with Rain’s quirks and he is her biggest cheerleader. Liam’s plans for the future are quite different than hers but with so many changes occurring with her brother, she is a bit adrift as she tries to figure out if her dreams are what she truly wants for herself.
Rain and Ethan’s family situation is less than ideal. Their parents went through a somewhat acrimonious divorce and they live with their mother in Montana while their dad lives in DC. Rain’s mom is one of those parents who becomes fixated on using alternative methods to “fix” Ethan and rejects traditional medical advice when faced with her own health crisis. Rain’s dad is making more of an effort to be present in their lives but Rain is struggling with their reconciliation.
Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier is thought-provoking journey of self discovery for both Ethan and Rain. Their relationship is wonderfully depicted and Rain’s difficulties with accepting the changes in their relationship are frustrating yet realistic. Ethan’s romance with Hope is so incredibly sweet and surprisingly free from drama. Rain’s relationship with Liam is also quite endearing but an ill-thought out decision results in unintended consequences. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this captivating young adult novel to readers of all ages.