A review by lovegirl30
Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith


This review was originally posted at The Young Girl Who Loved Books.

I have been trying to read more Own Voices story. I was so excited about this book. In a world where there are a million different children and middle-grade novels, it is amazing to me that we have almost no contemporary Native American books. It is very rare that a Native American novel isn't problematic so I went into this both excited as well as very weary. This book blew me away. Cynthia Leitich Smith is a wonderful storyteller and created one of the best middle-grade novels I have read in a long time.

The book follows the cute character of Cassidy Rain Berghoff. She is a very relatable girl and I feel like most kids will be able to relate to her on some level. She just seemed real, she had real emotions. She was just dealing with life and trying to figure out what her purpose was here. She had hard times but she got through them. She showed real growth throughout this small book.

This book tackles some pretty serious issues. It does this flawlessly and with so much grace. As the story unfolds we learn that Rain (Cassidy) is dealing with some pretty serious grief. She has lost both her mother and her best friend Galen's death. Her friend Galen has just past away and it brings up that pain she experienced when her mother died a few years earlier. To make matters worse her father is stationed overseas and she misses him. Only being able to exchange letters and audio recordings. She feels as if she is drifting away from her family.

In the town that she lives everyone knows everything, and the women are catty and nosy. She is the minority here, and they don't seem to ever let her forget it. She is also trying to figure out where her heritage is going to take her. All this makes the book a beautiful coming of age story.

This is a great story about what it feels like to be culturally mixed in a white community. I think for readers that aren't native American reading this novel will expose you to various microaggressions, cultural biases, and blatant racism, and will be an eye-opening experience. Don't get me wrong though, this book is so much more than just a book about racism. This book is really about a girls journey to healing. It is about grief and acceptance. It's about going through life after the death of a close, maybe even best friend.

The only complaint I have about this book is that is pretty short, which makes things seem rushed at the end of the book. When a book is this short ( took me only three hours to read while watching a little one) you need to pack a bunch of detail and action into a few pages. This book just was boring in a few points which a book this short couldn't afford.

Overall this was such an amazing book.