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Monday, 2 August 2010

Review: Rain [Summer Love Mondays 2]

Welcome to the second edition of Summer Love Mondays. Today's teen summer romance novel is Rain. While you read this, I'll be enjoying a week's holiday in a little country cottage. I'm hoping the weather will be sunny and that you enjoy this post.

Author: Kate Le Vann
Release date: 15th June 2008 UK
Genre: Summer Romance / Realism
Target audience: 12+

Rain is an intriguing title for a novel about which is on the theme of summer romance. But it is also rather beautiful, I think, and immediately conveys that there is a depth to this story beyond a holiday romance. Rain has just finished her GCSEs. She should be about to have a summer of freedom and frivolity. Instead she is leaving her friends and her quiet Northern home and heading for London to spend the Summer with her gran. This is the first time Rain has been away from home and she experiences feelings of anxiety and excitement. Rain's dad Sam is a scientist and he is going to be spending the summer in Norway doing research for his work. This is the first time that they have been separated and although Rain knows it will be good for her dad to have a working holiday, she is nervous about being away from him. They have their comfortable rountine and to imagine her life without it seems strange and unnerving. And so the story begins...

The stay in London is an emotional journey for Rain. Her mother died when she was ten and she hasn't visited her grand mother's house since. Whilst she is there, she stays in her mother's old room and becomes engrossed by discovering who her mother was by the things that are stored in the cupboard. Her old exercise books are there. Her old diaries too. Seven years on and Rain is still coming to terms with her loss. This novel explores how we cope with grief and how we often try to manage alone with so many unanswered questions.

However, there is also romance and a sweeter, lighter side to the story. Harry, a university student, has been employed by Rain's gran Vivienne to help her renovate the house and garden. Vivienne is intending on selling the house to solve her debt problems. Rain thinks that Harry sees her as a pity-worthy school girl. She finds his teasing infuriating but as the weeks go by she leans on him for support and they develop a friendship. Rain begins to wonder if it could be something more but then Harry's very annoying sidekick Maddy shows up and bursts Rain's bubble.

The story is told through several narrative viewpoints. A third person narration tells the over-arching story and this is interspersed with the entries of Rain's diary. Rain's diary communicates her inner turmoil about the loss of her mother as well as her inability to talk about it with her family. In addition to Rain's diary we have excerpts from her mother Sarah's diary. These bring both delight and despair as Rain ventures into the teenage life of her mother. There are also emails between Rain and her best friend and Rain and her dad. These give us a glimpse into the girl that Rain is before she embarks on her journey of self-discovery.

Summer in this story was very much integral with the setting. Rain visits many of the London landmarks and it felt like her journey was partly shaped by her education of the city. Le Vann really captured the heart of the joy of London and the rich cultural diversity that idenitifies it.

This novel was about finding yourself and moving forward. Rain delves into the themes of loss and love and was an uplifting, sweet tale. A great book that will have you yearning for the sights and sounds of London and someone to hold your hand as you explore them. Just lovely!

Kate Le Vann's Top Five Things to Love about Summer

1. Light mornings, light evenings

2. More free tat than usual on the front of magazines.

3. Can send my kids outside to play so I don't have to to clean up after them and can ignore them for longer.

4. All cold food is healthy because it is basically salad.

5. For the last time, Big Brother. I really, really love it, and was SO CLOSE to being RI:SE TV's official live-in Big Brother superfan. I could actually bore you for hours about how technically I actually did win the phone vote and it should have been me but my friends have threatened to kill me if they hear the story one more time and they might read it here.

Thanks Kate! They were really funny. Especially #2. That made me giggle!


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

This is a wonderful, in-depth review, I like it! This seems to be a really lovely and engaging story about aspects of life, really, with romance in the forefront. I love such stories.

Enjoy your vacation time!

P.S. I awarded you on my blog. Here: http://thismisslovestoread.blogspot.com/2010/08/prolific-blogger-award.html

asamum said...

What a wonderful review.
sounds like quite an emotional read :D I will save it for when I need a good cry I think.
Loved the top 5 and agree completely with number 3 ;)

Library Mice said...

I am soooo with you on number 3, Kate!

Becky said...

Irena, thanks for the lovely comment. And for the award. I shall pop over and pick it up.

Emma, thanks!! I can recommend some other weepy books too. LOL #3!

Library Mice, hey everyone is feeling the effect of the summer hols! :-)

Caroline said...

What a sweet and adorable story!
I love your review Becky, I want to read that book so bad now. I cannot write how I'm feeling right now after reading this, all warm and fuzzy :)
I can't wait to discover Rain and her journey to London.
The cover is cute too!!
Becky, as always, you're the best :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I love Kate le Vann's books and this one is one of my favourites of hers.