- Paperback: 360 pages
- Publisher: Quake (April 23, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590807928
- ISBN-13: 978-1590807927
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,955,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rain Paperback – April 23, 2009
About the Author
Kieryn Nicolas resides in central Pennsylvania with her parents, younger sister, their lovable yellow lab, black cat and ten hens. Kieryn was a competitive figure skater for nine years and is currently working hard to advance in Taekwondo. She is considering a career as a forensic scientist or crime scene investigator, and has eleven novels in the works. Kieryn enjoys spending time with her close friends, and also loves to read, write, eat chocolate and travel with hopes of someday seeing Brisbane, Australia for herself.
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I found the book compelling and absorbing and certainly a nice diversion from a world situation which seems so out-of-control and purely negative. I believe this young author has a promising future in journalism. I can even imagine this work being adapted to the screen.
Enter the new kid, Anthony, a meteorology genius. Watson's omnipresent principal, Thomas Syme, assigns Amber the task of showing Anthony the ropes. To her surprise, they become fast friends. At one point, Anthony nicknames her 'Mel', short for melon in reference to her uber-healthy diet. In return, Amber calls him 'Rain' for his uncanny ability to predict the weather--Ray for short. From that point, the two refer to one another strictly by their new sobriquets. Then one night, Ray is killed by an attacker during a mission to stop a crime in progress and for some reason, Syme stops Mel from charging to his aide. Although she holds her emotions in check, Mel is devastated.
Two years later, Mel is sent on another mission, this time to Brisbane, Australia where she stays at Marvin Academy, a school associated with Watson. There she eventually makes friends with a group of girls her age, and a mysterious boy named Jonathan who also happens to be a weather wiz kid with very familiar personality traits. Jonathan and Mel quickly hit it off and it makes her wonder... Mel now finds herself with two missions, one that was assigned to her by Syme and the other to determine Jonathan's true identity and it isn't long before Mel's interest in Jonathan assumes priority...but could the two be related?
I have to admit that RAIN was the first YA novel I'd ever read in my life. Even in my teen years, I had been drawn to the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, JD Salinger, Harlan Ellison and Isaac Asimov. For light reading, I devoured media tie-in novels in the Star Trek, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones universes. I suppose some of those could be considered YA.
This was a new experience for me as was the fact that it was written in first person present tense, a bold move for a new author. Many a manuscript has been rejected by New York agents for this reason alone. Yet Nicolas pulls it off and I quickly became accustomed to it as the story drew me in. Nicolas creates unique characters and Mel's growth from an "all work and no play" secret agent to a young woman capable of feelings was well done.
Still, the story slowed in the middle as Mel became closer with some of the girls at Marvin Academy and reluctantly adopted a social life (including wardrobe choices, hairstyling sessions, a school dance, and trips to the ice cream store). Although the tension was maintained much of the time, I found myself anxious to move forward with Mel's missions and was pleased with the suspenseful, action-packed climax in the last five chapters. However, my impatience may be more a sign of my age and gender than of the writing itself. :)
All told, a wonderful debut novel from Kieryn Nicolas and I look forward to reading her second, Flawless Ruins.
Rain has many of the problems of a debut novel in any genre. It is too long, too wordy, there are too many characters, especially considering the core of the plot, and there are some minor lapses in the internal logic. Having said that, I must also say that the novel is almost unputdownable. The author's insight into her generation's motivations and attitudes is right on.
Nicols takes readers inside the minds and psyches of young adults in a way that is interesting, compelling in many pages, and fitting to the story. Sure, a lot of the young people here stand up to fearsome forces in ways most would not, but this is fiction, a fantasy and writers are allowed some leeway.
The writer's style takes a little getting used to and the pace, especially early on may be too portentous for some, but I urge readers to have a little patience, because once the story gets going, it really does get going. I suspect this young author will one day make some significant literary tracks if she pursues a writing career.
"Rain" is a refreshingly entertaining story of intrigue written by a talented author. Don't let the fact that this book is the first published work by Kieryn Nicolas fool you -- this smartly written novel is a sign of more good stories to come from the writer, mark my words.
The novel has a strong female lead character named Mel but definitely is not a book for girls only. Including a little sprinkling of "Spy Kids" without the superpowers or slapstick silliness, plus a pinch of Harry Potter (but only because the kids go to spy boarding school together and the main character is reluctantly mentored by the principal), "Rain" is ultimately a story about friendship and perseverance for truth and justice.
As anyone who has ever attempted to write fiction will tell you, is a great achievement in storytelling to avoid formulaic story patterns. "Rain" avoided such patterns elegantly, especially during the story's ending; things did not turn out quite as I had predicted. There are several plot twists that propel the reader forward and great, well-rounded but human (quirky, flawed) characters with real emotions, without sap or melodrama. There are travels in the book to different geographical settings, which may give kids the itch to pull out a world map, and other little curiosity-sparking gems throughout that make this a very impressive first novel for both young-adult and general audiences.
This is all not to mention the inspirational story behind the book. How many tweens and teens do you know who have pursued one of their ultimate dreams and made it come true? This author has done just that. Had I not been told that the author was a young high school student, the notion would not have entered my mind as I read it.
Recommended reading is for ages 10 and up because there are some sad and slightly scary scenes that may not be appropriate for much younger readers/listeners, but mature young readers a bit younger than 10 could handle this. The questionable scenes are nothing kids haven't read in other popular series, especially that one certain wizard series made into movies. Ultimately, of course, parents should screen it for their under-10 kids to determine if it's appropriate for them -- and I dare them not to enjoy it as much as their kids will!