Secrets create chaos: Review of When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin

Secrets create chaos: Review of When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin

Lissa is confronted by Reed, a distressed young stranger with a baby. He’s a runaway with a secret that will prove to be life-changing for Lissa and her family. At the same time her brother Harry is dealing with his own secret that threatens his mental and physical well-being.

Lissa is the narrator of the story and is central to the multiple storylines that flow through the book. Lissa is trying to find a way to new friendships after her closest friend moves to another state. The cruelty of teenagers and the power they can immaturely wield is very accurately described. She lacks confidence but can take decisive action at moments of crisis. The book outlines the months in her life when she learns some great truths about herself, her family and how the world works. It’s a coming-of-age novel with current issues at its core.

Each of the three main teenage characters is facing different challenging situations. The intricacies of their issues are slowly revealed, and the reader is propelled forward by a driving desire to know how each calamitous situation will be resolved.

Harry’s deep secrets are turning his thoughts to dark places. Lissa’s mother is haunted by an incident from the past. Reed is seeking information about his identity but is saddled with responsibility beyond his capabilities. Lissa is overwhelmed by the impacts of all these secrets and must draw on her resilience and empathy.

Don’t be misled by the cover – this book tackles some heavy issues for teenagers: navigating social media, cyberbullying, sexual identity, attention seeking behaviour, pitfalls of friendship circles, the stress of keeping secrets and knowing others have secrets,  and redefining oneself in the wake of new information that changes everything you thought you knew about your family and your place in it.

The writing is strong and assured, holding the suspense right through to the final chapter. I was turning pages rapidly, reading faster and faster to find out what happens to those characters in mortal danger and to see how their situations would be resolved.

Author Jane Godwin has written over twenty-five books for children and her work has been highly acclaimed and awarded. Jane’s picture book, Tilly, has been shortlisted for the 2020 CBC Book of the Year award and her YA novel As Happy as Here has been shortlisted for the 2020 YABBA Awards.

 There is a deep familiarity for me in this book and I think Australian teenagers will find it quite relatable. It is set in suburban Melbourne and the characters enjoy Maggie Beer’s ice-cream and shop at Chemist Warehouse. There is talk of tradies and L plates, footy and yum cha, camping weekends and Milo. I would recommend this book for readers 12+.

 

 

Reviews

A stranger at the door: Read an extract from When Rain Turns To Snow by Jane Godwin

Review | Extract

6 July 2020

A stranger at the door: Read an extract from When Rain Turns To Snow by Jane Godwin

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A runaway, a baby and whole lot of questions: Teaching resources for When Rain Turns To Snow by Jane Godwin

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A runaway, a baby and whole lot of questions: Teaching resources for When Rain Turns To Snow by Jane Godwin

Synopsis

A beautiful and timely coming-of-age story about finding out who you are in the face of crisis and change. Perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo, Fiona Wood and Emily Rodda.A runaway, a baby and a whole lot of questions...Lissa is home on her own after school one afternoon when a stranger turns up on the doorstep carrying a baby. Reed is on the run - surely people are looking for him? He's trying to find out who he really is and thinks Lissa's mum might have some answers. But how could he be connected to Lissa's family - and why has he been left in charge of a baby? A baby who is sick, and getting sicker ...Reed's appearance stirs up untold histories in Lissa's family, and suddenly she is having to make sense of her past in a way she would never have imagined. Meanwhile, her brother is dealing with a devastating secret of his own.A beautiful and timely coming-of-age story about finding out who you are in the face of crisis and change.
Jane Godwin
About the author

Jane Godwin

Jane Godwin is the highly acclaimed and internationally published author of many books for children and young people, across all styles and ages. Children's Publisher at Penguin Books Australia for many years, Jane was the co-creator with Davina Bell of the Our Australian Girl series of quality historical fiction for middle readers. Jane's books include her novels Falling From Grace and As Happy as Here (a CBCA Notable Book), and picture books Go Go and the Silver Shoes (illustrated by Anna Walker), The Silver Sea (with Alison Lester and patients at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne) and Watch This! (with designer Beci Orpin and photographer Hilary Walker). Jane is dedicated to pursuing quality and enriching reading and writing experiences for young people, and spends as much time as she can working with them in schools and communities and running literature and writing programs. janegodwin.com.au

Books by Jane Godwin

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