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Rain Is Not My Indian Name
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Rain Is Not My Indian Name

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  340 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
It's been six months since her best friend died, and up until now Rain has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around her aunt Georgia's Indian Camp in their mostly white midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again—at least through the lens of her camera.

Hired by her town newspaper to photograph the campers,
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 19th 2001 by HarperCollins
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Ana Rînceanu
This is the story of a small-town girl who has to deal with the death of her best friend while trying to understand her Native American heritage and her brother's fiance pregnancy.

I really loved the writing style, it being simple and playfully Southern. It shows how much Rain loves her family and hometown even thought small town gossip and politics are annoying.

It was an uplifting tale, there was no never-ending brooding and no dramatic climax. Life moves on and so must she.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
In a market full of wonderful Children's reads, I find a loss of wonderful contemporary Native American books, and really, Native American books for YA and Children as a whole. Cynthia Leitich Smith introduces us to a wonderful character, Cassidy, who's voice is one I think many adolescents will relate to on some level. She's real, dealing with all that life throws at her and trying to find her mark in the world and among her family and friends.

Cynthia tackles sensitive issues with grace and mea
Alex Baugh
Cassidy Rain Berghoff and her best friend Galen Owen have promised each other to always celebrate their birthdays, both having been born on noteworthy days - Rain on New Year's Day and Galen on July 4th. Now that their friendship seems to be moving into the relationship realm, Rain had already decided that for her 14th birthday, it was time to kiss Galen, really kiss him, French kiss him. But it was a kiss destined never to happen. Galen was hit by a car and killed on New Year's Eve.

Rain is unab
A quiet, contemplative novel about a 14-year old girl going through some tough stuff, most recently the death of her best friend and crush Galen but also her mother's death years before, trying to connect to her Indigenous heritage (Muscogee Creek and Ojibway), nasty sexist small town politics, her older brother's unplanned pregnancy, and a friend breakup. That sounds like a lot, but Smith tells Rain's story with confidence and heart and authenticity that never feels melodramatic. It just feels ...more
Cynthia Anne McLeod
Nov 03, 2007 Cynthia Anne McLeod rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for contemporary fiction about American Indians
Good characters wrought by tragedy - Rain falls in love with her best friend Galen, only to learn the next day he was killed in an accident on the way home. I am always on the lookout for realistic contemporary fiction with Native American characters, due to the often overlooked tendency on the part of students who do not live near Indian reservations to believe that Indians no longer exist! For example, I was looking through a World Book publication on Native American activities with one of my ...more
Mar 13, 2017 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book was short, but I really enjoyed it. Not since Bridge to Terabithia have I read a book with such a realistic and raw look at the grieving process. Though I appreciated this book for the inclusion of Native American culture and the experiences of a mixed-race teen, I saw it as being much more about one girl's journey towards healing and acceptance after the death of a close friend.

I honestly wanted to give Rain a hug throughout this entire book. I couldn't imagine losing both my mom and
529_Quincy Owens
Mar 08, 2011 529_Quincy Owens rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassidy's best friend Galen dies and a few years before her mother died. For six months she completely shuts herself off from the world. She doesn't go out, she doesn't talk to people and doesn't take pictures.
Then summer comes and her brother wants her to go to the Indian camp that her aunt is doing, but Cassidy doesn't really want to go. Instead, she gets a job taking pictures for the local paper's article about Indian camp.
Cassidy deals with learning to cope with Galen's death and learning ab
Katieb (MundieMoms)
In a market full of wonderful Children's reads, I find a loss of wonderful contemporary Native American books, and really, Native American books for YA and Children as a whole. Cynthia Leitich Smith introduces us to a wonderful character, Cassidy, who's voice is one I think many adolescents will relate to on some level. She's real, dealing with all that life throws at her and trying to find her mark in the world and among her family and friends.

Cynthia tackles sensitive issues with grace and mea
Jan 23, 2016 Marika rated it really liked it
Rain Is Not My Indian Name seems deceptively light at first glance. It is a slim book, not much to it. And the cover features a pretty adolescent girl with a camera, a similar enough motif to countless other cute YA novels. However, upon reading, you are quickly dis-alluded of the notion that this book falls into the category of cute YA. In the first chapter Rain's best friend dies. He is thirteen. She just turned fourteen. The story resumes six months later as she struggles with who she is and ...more
Jan 06, 2011 Travis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
After Rain's best friend Galen dies, she shuts herself off from the world for six months, until she unwillingly gets involved in the Indian Camp her aunt's running that summer. For such a short book (it's not even 150 pages long) this is about a whole lot of things, though probably the two main themes are small town life and what it means to be Indian.[return][return]I picked this up pretty much based on the title alone, which just sounded really awesome. As I started reading, my first thought w ...more
Joanne Roberts
Dec 16, 2012 Joanne Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I surprise myself by giving this 4 stars and recommending it to others. This book was very well written in an authentic voice. Generally teenage angst is not a subject I would rate highly, but Cynthia Leitich Smith has created a compelling glimpse into her character's life. The main character and her world may not be in the realm of many readers' experience, but the writing draws you in, and makes you believe in this girl, sympathize with her, want to know where her journey ends. Thought-provoki ...more
Apr 07, 2008 Kris rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult, my-choice
Recommended for gr. 7-up. A bit deep for 6th graders, but nothing objectionable. The narrator is a 14-year-old girl who has Native American ancestry, but doesn't have stereotypical Native American looks. Her best friend (male) is killed in an accident at the beginning of the book, and she spends much of the book denying that she is in denial. She finally returns to her hobby of photography and through circumstances related to photography, she discovers things about herself and her community and ...more
Neill Smith
Aug 05, 2011 Neill Smith rated it it was amazing
Cassidy Rain Berghoff was Muscogee Creek-Cherokee and Scots-Irish on her Mom’s side and Irish-German-Ojibway on her Dad’s. Living in a small town meant she was labeled but when she withdrew after her black boyfriend’s death she had no idea what the people of the town were saying about her. As she comes to terms with her grief and re-enters small town society she learns that friends are not always friends, enemies are not always enemies, but some people you can count on forever.
Oct 10, 2016 Shugg marked it as to-read
Shelves: american-indian
genre: realistic fiction
Allison Handberg
Dec 18, 2016 Allison Handberg rated it really liked it
An amazing book, I would recommend to anyone who has lost someone they love.
Kim Pickens
Mar 11, 2017 Kim Pickens rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
A sad novel about death and hope.
Mar 21, 2017 Sassafras rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this trek through the uncertain waters of adolescence, particularly the powerful roles of grief and discovery. As Rain deals with overwhelming loss she must concurrently address the flowering of her artistic self as it is shaped by the context of race and teen relationships. There are no easy answers, and her questions raise more questions for a young woman who has already lost both mother and best friend.
Nov 08, 2009 Ari rated it liked it
This is another book that I feel could have benefited from being longer (it's only 135 pages). The plot concerning Indian Camp was a new and interesting one and I wish it had been further developed. I wanted to follow them on the field trip and learn more about their respective cultures. I was hoping to learn more about other activities that were a part of Indian Camp. Most of the characters were well developed, except for Galen's mother. She just seemed vindictive and while I could understand h ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Inoli rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Interest in cultural interaction. Short glimpse of present day native american teenager.
The first book that only got three stars from me so first I have to say that its not because I didn't like it as much of several of my four star books. It's more that I want to begin to be a little more specific and critical and I have more to compare to than I did when I began this. So this is supposed to be a point of progression in my ratings. It's also been nearly a month since I read it. I think I'm going to make it a habit of waiting a little while (although hopefully not this long) before ...more
Michelle Pegram
Jun 09, 2014 Michelle Pegram rated it liked it
Cassidy Rain Berghoff, a 13 year old girl growing up in a small town where everyone knows everything about their neighbors, can face anything with her best friend, and potential boyfriend, at her side. Following a tragedy that derails her in every way possible, Rain finds it difficult to participate in life in the most basic ways. Her brother, concerned by the changes in her, suggests that she attend the Native American Youth Camp that is being run by their Aunt. Rain, who has always wanted to b ...more
Jan 24, 2010 Kelly rated it really liked it
This story was different from what I was expecting. It is focused a lot on the main character, Rain, and her struggle with grief following the death of her best friend, Galen. Since I knew this was by a Native American writer, I think I expected it to be the focal point. It wasn't; instead, it is worked throughout the narrative naturally. Just as it should be.

Rain deals with her grief by hiding, physically and emotionally. Ms. Smith skillfully uses certain literary devices, such as the camera as
Jul 14, 2010 S10_tommccormack rated it it was ok
Shelves: native-american
Ages: 10 - 12

"Rain Is Not My Indian Name" tells the story of Rain, a fourteen-year-old multiracial girl who is coping with the recent death of her best friend (and love interest), Galen. Rain lives with her grandfather, brother, and her brother's girlfriend. Her father lives on a military base in Guam. Her mother is dead.

Just as she is contemplating starting a romance with her best friend, Galen, he is killed in a car accident. Rain goes into withdrawal and pulls away from society. She rarely v
Esther Storrie
The book tells the story of 14-year-old Cassidy Rain, who is struggling with the death of her best friend (and love interest), Galen. She withdraws from everything, but eventually reengages with the world when she is assigned by her brother's girlfriend to photograph a controversial Indian Summer Camp in the area. While I love the book for showing modern Native American characters doing varied and interesting things (her brother is a web designer, her aunt is a teacher, her dad is in the militar ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 8-13 year olds
Rain is Not My Indian Name is about a girl named Rain who after the very first chapter, loses her best friend. She grieves for a while before being encouraged to get out and pick up her favorite hobby again--photography. She is given the opportunity to photograph her aunt's Indian Summer Camp for a local newspaper. She is confronted with a conflict between her loyalty to her aunt and with her desire to be an unbiased photographer.

For a small book, it has a lot of layers. Each chapter begins wit
Mar 28, 2012 Caryn rated it liked it
Shelves: engl-420
It was refreshing to read a contemporary YA novel with a Native American protagonist that avoids--and often pokes fun at--typical stereotypes of Natives as noble savages or mystical Others, a sentiment illustrated by the book's title. Cassidy Rain Berghoff is a very typical teen dealing with difficult issues--absentee parents (her mother is dead and her father serves overseas in the military), the death of her best friend, her brother's engagement to his pregnant fiancee, and the town's oppositi ...more
This was a really quick middle-grade read, a snapshot in a short moment in the life of Rain, a native girl living in small town USA. Her best friend died a few months ago, and since then, has been withdrawn and cut-off from others, including her family. With the in politics surrounding her aunt's summer camp for Indian youth and her brother's new engagement, Rain is forced to reconnect with the world again, and come to terms with Galen's death and moving on with her life.

This is a deceptively s
Jul 19, 2011 Veronica rated it liked it
Age of Readership:

12 years and up


realistic fiction


Native American mostly

Personal Response:

I saw this book when we were supposed to read the blog for one of the professional readings. It caught my interest and decided to give it a try. It was quite good. I felt like some things were insinuated too hard and not explained enough. But it was a beautiful and enjoyable story, despite the sad parts.

Programming or curricular connections:

Stories dealing with grief, social tolerance, racia
I liked that this book was about overcoming a tragedy and dealing with grief in a positive way. It was nice because the story, while it acknowledge and dealt with the fact that Rain was Native American, it wasn't about the Native American Experience. She was proud of her heritage, but it wasn't the story. It was also a quick read (GoodReads says 144 pages, but that would be counting the title page and stuff) which even for a good reader is sometimes a nice break. It was really well written and c ...more
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Cynthia's fiction is noted for its diversity, humor, lyricism, and mid-to-southwestern settings. Still early in her career, she has shown tremendous range and loves to experiment.

JINGLE DANCER, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, (Morrow / Harper-Collins, 2000)(ages 4-up) was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, runner-up for the Western Writers Association Storyteller Award, a
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