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

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  272 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The next day was my fourteenth birthday, and I'd never kissed a boy -- domestic style or French. Right then, I decided to get myself a teen life.

Cassidy Rain Berghoff didn't know that the very night she decided to get a life would be the night that Galen would lose his.

It's been six months since her best friend died, and up until now Rain has succeeded in shutting herself
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 19th 2001 by HarperCollins
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I was startled by this book, given that the author also produced the travesty of modern teen literature that is Eternal, which I loathed, no surprise.

But Rain is not my Indian Name is… not a travesty of modern teen literature. Instead, it’s a surprisingly sensitive look at a girl dealing with the death of her best friend. There’s no overarching mystery—Galen got hit by a car, full stop—and no dramatic shrieking monologues, and no shocking-the-small-town repercussions of their friendship, like ga
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
Feb 21, 2015 LibrariAnne rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Michelle Pegram
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
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529_Quincy Owens
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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
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
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
Mar 07, 2010 Inoli rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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 06, 2011 Travis rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Melinda Payne
I enjoyed the different story lines going on here that made up Rain's world. It was a nice sweet coming of age story. Although I was surprised that there wasn't more to the ending. I felt I needed more to Rain's story for a satisfying closure.
Jamie Ayres
This was an okay MG novel for me. Short and sweet and contained some lessons about dealing with grief and different heritages, but some of the story just didn't quite make sense. I'd still check out some other books by this author though.
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
Modern-day Native American teenagers are seriously missing on many library shelves. Cynthia Leitich Smith writes with an "insider" voice to help fill this gap.
Jul 07, 2015 Allison rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 5623, ya
wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. See my reasons why in a detailed review at How I Feel About Books.
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
Solid story about a girl dealing with loss. 5th grade and up.
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
being from kansas, it was really interesting to read a book set in kansas in the present day. there arent too many of them. it was a sad story but i enjoyed it.
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
Neill Smith
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.
After her best friend is killed, Rain spends six months in isolation. Her family help pull her out, encouraging her to participate in her Aunt Georgia's summer Indian Camp. This was a sweet story, but it didn't draw me in like I hoped. I was looking for an engaging chapter book written by and about Native Americans, and I think it would be good for those with an interest in Native Americans or looking for books dealing with grief. I just wish it was a little better.
This is a pretty good book about grief and dying, and learning to move on with life after losing someone close to you. It'd probably work well for young people, but as an adult, I didn't really get much out of it. That being said, I was interested in Rain's story and what was going on with her family and friends, and it's a very quick read, so you might as well give it a try if it's at all interesting to you.
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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
More about Cynthia Leitich Smith...
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