Rules of Rain

384p. Sourcebooks/Fire. Dec. 2017. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781492654261.
Gr 9 Up—Aspiring chef Rain schedules her life around her twin brother Ethan who has autism. Every day she prepares gluten-free, dairy-free foods to alleviate his symptoms and goes running with him at exactly 4:00 am. Romance disrupts their strict routines when Rain starts dating her cute lab partner, Liam, and Rain's best friend Hope takes an interest in Ethan. As Ethan spends more time with Hope and pursues his dream of becoming a surgeon, he pulls away from his sister. Rain, who has planned her entire future around her brother, must learn to let go of him as he slowly gains independence. Uncertain about her own aspirations, she considers joining Liam in a community service program after graduation. She is also trying to repair her relationship with her estranged father and cope with her mother's health issues. Meanwhile, Ethan learns to empathize with others and to accept affection from Hope. Although the novel tackles chronic illness, bullying, unwanted pregnancy, divorce, and sexual identity, it includes funny moments that balance out these heavier issues. Nothing in the author's acknowledgements indicates how much research was done or Scheier's personal experience with regards to autism. However, the characters feel well rounded and nuanced.
VERDICT Give this to teens who enjoy coming-of-age novels with sympathetic characters. An additional purchase.

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