Reynje's Reviews > Cinnamon Rain

Cinnamon Rain by Emma Cameron
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
5590906
's review
Jan 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: australian, books-to-be-hugged, contemp-or-realistic, dual-or-multiple-pov, read-2012, verse, young-adult
Read on July 14, 2012

If I were to list all the issues that Cinnamon Rain touches upon, you could be forgiven for thinking this book is heavier than a box of hammers.

So I’m not going to, because it isn’t. And I think that it would be doing this book a great disservice, if it were to be passed over on basis of a misconception about its content. Because rather than being just another book about [insert topical teen issue here], Cinnamon Rain is one of the most insightful and hopeful young adult novels I’ve read this year.

That’s not to say that Cinnamon Rain sacrifices authenticity for the sake of an uplifting subtext, or lacks depths in its discussion of complex social issues. In fact, the opposite is true. Cinnamon Rain is often painfully honest in its portrayal of abuse, homelessness, neglect and isolation.

Verse is not exactly my favourite medium of story-telling, but for Cinnamon Rain’s purposes, it works. Cameron’s particular style is sharp and direct, while handling her subject matter with grace. All of the gravity of the story is conveyed, without weighing it down or delving into overly dramatic territory. Rather, Cameron clearly captures the voices of each of her three central characters – and the rawness and yearning that permeate their stories.

This is a frank, open book that doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is. I think I had unconsciously expected something softer, more cautious, so I was pleasantly surprised by Cameron’s matter-of-factness when it came to subjects like drug use and sex. There’s a lot of integrity in the way the circumstances and actions of each character are related. Rather than glossing them over, or alternatively gratuitously inflating them, Cameron writes candidly about the characters’ experiences, making this novel one of the most accurately portrayals of high school in Australia that I’ve read. (It’s also the little things, like the references to playing handball at lunch and spraying people at the bubblers. Which are both things I did a lot of.)

Possibly my favourite aspect of Cinnamon Rain is the fact that it addresses a section of young adult society that I don’t often see tackled in YA (funnily enough) – early high school leavers. For various reasons, none of the main characters pursue a typical path through high school, yet never does the book “typecast” them for their decisions, or come across with some heavy-handed: “stay in school, fool” message. Instead, it skilfully demonstrates the point that there are different paths to a given destination – and that while life can take people in unexpected directions, this doesn’t necessarily put their goals out of reach. Essentially the story of Cinnamon Rain, and the friendship at its centre, feels circular – each narrator picking up the thread and eventually weaving the ends back together.

My second favourite aspect of Cinnamon Rain is the handling of the core relationships between Luke, Casey and Bongo. (Yes, Bongo. Despite my initial reservations, I did come around to that nickname). A complicated blend of friendship, attraction, unrequited love and loyalty – the relationships between the characters are exceptionally well-rendered and above all, believable. I felt emotionally invested in these characters and what was happening to them, all the more so as their personal stories began to unravel. (I won’t lie – this book made me cry.)

In a similar vein, I’m particularly impressed with the decision Cameron made regarding the ending of Cinnamon Rain, keeping the story realistic and true to her characters. It felt like the right way to leave Luke, Casey and Bongo – anything else would have felt like a cop out, to me.

I really hope Cinnamon rain finds its way into the hands of more readers, because it deserves appreciation. If you a fan of contemporary young adult novels, verse novels, or both - do yourself a favour and read it.
23 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Cinnamon Rain.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

07/14 page 289
71.0% "Bongo"
01/27 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Dija (last edited Jul 18, 2012 03:20AM) (new)

Dija Beautiful review, Rey. Please tell me you're considering writing a novel soon.


Reynje Thank you Dija! I'm not sure I have the skills for a novel though :)


Jenna Great review Rey! I really want to read this, I didn't think I was a fan of verse novels until I read one earlier in the year I loved that made me want to read more - starting with this one!


Reynje Thanks Belle - I hope you get to read it soon. I'm not a huge fan of verse novels in general, but I've read a couple of fantastic ones this year. I think this one might be my favourite so far!


Jenna Reynje wrote: "Thanks Belle - I hope you get to read it soon. I'm not a huge fan of verse novels in general, but I've read a couple of fantastic ones this year. I think this one might be my favourite so far!"

Awesome! Have you read The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan? That was the one I really loved.


Sarah I loved this book. Even though it's very Australian, it also read as a very universal book for me. Fabulous review!


Reynje @Belle - No, I haven't - I'll have to check it out :)

@Sarah - Thank you! I'm so glad you loved this one - I was surprised by how much I ending up liking it and I hope more people get a chance to read it!


message 8: by Amber J. (new)

Amber J. this is like the 3rd time this has happened - I read your review, I get all excited, then I remember oh yeah, I live in the States, crap :( lol

do you know if any international booksellers have this book?

random question: do you mean Olympic-style handball or with the little blue ball?


Shirley Marr YAY Rey! I'm so happy you love this one! I keep remembering Casey in her second-hand green ball dress and I go "I miss them three" like I knew them personally. Beautiful review!


Reynje @Amber J - I'm sorry! :) I wish they were more readily available for you.. I don't think this one is available internationally except maybe through Fishpond??

What we called handball (or four square) in high school was played with a tennis ball, usually on a grid of 4 or six, although sometimes just between two players. I don't really remember all the rules but it was serious business back then :)

@Shirley - I did! And thanks :) Casey in her green dress! *sniff*


Sarah Amber J. wrote: "this is like the 3rd time this has happened - I read your review, I get all excited, then I remember oh yeah, I live in the States, crap :( lol

do you know if any international booksellers have th..."


@Amber I live in the States and was able to buy this through Fishpond. They are very slow, but this book was worth it.


Reynje Thanks Sarah!


message 13: by Maggie (new) - added it

Maggie Stay in school, fool! :) The only other early high school leaver I can think of is Ed in Graffiti Moon. Great review, Rey.


Reynje Maggie wrote: "Stay in school, fool! :) The only other early high school leaver I can think of is Ed in Graffiti Moon. Great review, Rey."

Devastatin Dave has the best advice...

(Also, Ed. Mmm, Ed.)


back to top