Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Updated: Mar 22
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
"It's been six months since Cassidy Rain Berghoff’s best friend, Galen, died, and up until now she has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around Aunt Georgia’s Indian Camp in their mostly white midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again, with a new job photographing the campers for her town’s newspaper.
Soon, Rain has to decide how involved she wants to become in Indian Camp. Does she want to keep a professional distance from her fellow Native teens? And, though she is still grieving, will she be able to embrace new friends and new beginnings?"
I really enjoyed reading from Rain's perspective. This is the first fiction book I've read with a mixed indigenous person as the main character. It was easy to understand Rain's feelings about her best friend, his death, and her mother's passing.
This book is a rerelease of the version that was published in 2001 and I could tell. There weren't any references to things that teens do today, like using Snapchat, etc. There were also a few moments that seemed like the author was going to acknowledge anti-black racism, but she didn't really engage with it in Rain's thoughts. They were just short observations.
I am a fan of Own Voices books and will always support BIPOC authors but this book did not make much of an impression with me. I would have liked to see if Rain got to reconnect with her Ojibwe roots and more scenes about her making new friends or reconnecting with her ex-bestfriend.
This book was a quick read with some heart but just didn't do it for me.