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Racing the Rain

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,133 ratings  ·  139 reviews
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Once a Runner—“The best novel ever written about running” (Runner’s World)—comes that novel’s prequel, the story of a world-class athlete coming of age in the 1950s and 60s on Florida’s Gold Coast.

Quenton Cassidy’s first foot races are with nature itself: the summer storms that sweep through his subtropical neighborhood. Sh
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Scribner
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  1,133 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
“And they were thrilled as only children can be thrilled to exist for a moment at the very edge of things…”

“Racing the Rain” is a novel that took me to the extremes, and not in a good way.
I was drawn in by the lovely 1 page-opening chapter. It is entrancing. The text moves right along, tightly paced with short chapters. By page 100, you are in the middle of the novel’s 21st chapter. And the author writes running pretty well. The physical and emotional components of a race.

And that is about it fo
Scott Stewart
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
First I want to thank the author and publisher for providing this novel for review.

It has been 8 years since John Parker published the last book in the series, Again To Carthage. The first book, Once A Runner, came out in 1978. Racing the Rain is a prequel. This is the story of young Quenton Cassidy's life before college. I will not provide any spoilers or quote from the book. If you have read the other two novels, you will not want to miss this one. If you are a runner, ever been a runner, or p
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry, but there was no chance I could give a dispassionate, objective review of this one. I've known, and become emotionally attached to, Quenton (the protagonist) for too long. I'll come back to the original, cult classic, Once a Runner, but ... like the long-delayed sequel, Again to Carthage, I lost significant sleep quickly plowing through this one, reading through the night and well into the morning. And it made me smile.

Full disclosure: I remain squarely in the camp that proclaims Once a R
Letitia Moffitt
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good prequel to "Once a Runner." A lot more of this book is about basketball than I expected (and I am far more into running than basketball) but Parker is good at describing any kind of athletic endeavor, and the running scenes once again are terrific. There's a slightly weak-ish plot point thrown in there, but it doesn't detract much. The characters and setting are sharp and well-drawn, and this is a fine third book in the series. ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good book. I enjoyed it almost as much as the other two Cassidy books, but I wish he would once make a mistake or do something that doesn't make him more of a heroic figure. I guess that's not the type of book this is.

Anyway, it's time for a run!
Paul Duffau
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Racing the Rain: A Review of John L.

Parker’s newest novel Racing the Rain delivers the goods on young Quenton Cassidy with Parker’s flair for inspirational running scenes, an intriguing cast of characters, and a verdant setting above and below the surface of the Florida Gold Coast.
John L. Parker returns in Racing the Rain to flesh out the character of Cassidy, beginning with the young boy that would toe the line barefoot to run his first race, not against people, or even himself, but just to fe
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What does it mean to be an athlete? All the civilians see is the triumphant moment, the victory lap, the fulfillment of the dream. they don't pay much attention to the also-rans and the missed by inches, the great majority of us who go on with the rest of our lives driving whatever comfort we can from the fact that we were close. That we were mango those who at least died, were willing to put ourselves at risk. That we would live with the results, whoever they were. Bot always to try. That is wh ...more
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, sports
More than a book about running it's a great coming of age tale. We follow young Quentin Cassidy from first grade when he tries to outrun a squall line to freshman year of college. It reminded me of Tom Sawyer tales and the movie "Stand By Me" with an idyllic childhood in the South. Boys being boys and wandering all over creation during the 50's and 60's. It's about sports and learning how to thread your way in an adult world and knowing which battles to fight. A beautiful book that should be mad ...more
Dillon Allen-Perez
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running-books
"It would have been difficult for an adult to appreciate their boundless sense of possibilities as they stood waiting: the vastness of the coming summer, the endless expanse of school years ahead, the insignificance of their tiny lives when measured against any grown up conception of time."

Anyone that has known me for a while knows that running is important to me. Obviously all the friends I’ve made as teammates and club members in the running community share that passion with me. If you have co
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! John Parker Jr. strikes again. Though in the early stages it is more about basketball than running, it tells of the same dedication that he applied to both sports to become a champion. And the ending has that same old heart beating out of your chest feeling. It was also interesting as someone who read the books in the order they were written to see references to what would happen in the future. Must read for any runner or serious athlete.

Series Order
Racing the Rain
Once a Ru
Corey Glover
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great insight into running!

This is a great prequel to the previous Parker books featuring Q. Cassidy. It is the best book about running since Born to Run. If you just like to run or know someone who does, you will want to read this book. You don't have to be a runner to enjoy it. It is a great story of growing up in a time without the dangers the world today holds.
William Lutz
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Racing the Rain was a phenomenal book . . . if you ran track or was swept up in the 'glory' of high school sports at some point in your life. If you never ran, it might be a little tough to relate to. Runners: read this book. ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
If you're a runner or fan of the sport, then you probably (like me) found yourself at some point reading Parker's "Once a Runner." As much as any training manual, it's the serious runner's bible. Before the days of e-books, dogeared copies of "Once a Runner" were passed around by athletes. "Once a Runner" is actually part of the Quenton Cassidy trilogy. It was written first, then "Again to Carthage" was written as a sequel, then "Racing the Rain" appeared as a prequel. Now that all three are in ...more
Josh Liller
Jul 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I am not a runner and I don't read much fiction so I probably shouldn't have picked up this book. I did so because of a historical character who appears in it.

Racing the Rain is the story of boy growing up in Citrus City, a generic fictitious town in Palm Beach County. He likes to run. The book is 349 pages long, with 65 chapters - an average of just over 5 pages per chapter. Some of the chapters are literally two pages long. Some seem completely tangential, like when the main character talks ab
Cough, cough, cough...

Man oh man, my luck is running flat this week. I saw RACING THE RAIN by John Parker and was trying to do a challenge read... this book indicated that it was a coming of age story about a kid in Florida that was a runner. The kid is cute enough and has a military family, it started off ok. He wants to run and play sports, but then the book shifts to left. A new character enters, one that is a nonfictional character of some repute in Florida and the book shifts focus, the ki
Matthew Komatsu
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a wonderful cap to the Quenton Cassidy trilogy, each of which (Once A Runner, Again to Carthage) have cemented Parker’s lonely position as the greatest author to have written fiction about running. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars was because a murder plot drops into the last eighth of the book and does little to move the plot. I suspect Parker pulled something about the real Trapper Nelson into the novel, and his afterword indicates an appreciation of the man. I struggle ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bree Taylor
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fitness, 2018
It's taken me YEARS to get to the trilogy that is Once a Runner. The first book came easily many years ago and I loved it. It instilled both a love of running and the reality that I will never be an Olympic athlete.

My friend Gail mentioned two years ago that it was a trilogy and my jaw dropped. Again to Carthage was similar to Once a Runner with the seemingly unrelated side notes and long drawn out descriptions of training schedules. In spite of that craziness, I loved both novels. The trials an
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
John L. Parker jr’s “racing the rain” is an amazing fictional novel for runners and people who want to be inspired. In the 1950s in Florida is where the book takes place. Quenton Cassidy the main character is relatable, and athletic person who is interested in basketball. when his P.E. coach interests him in track he decides it will be good conditioning. In track he has an injury but his coach ignores it. Tensions rise and Cassidy proves his coach wrong about his injury. When he gets into high s ...more
Chip Scarinzi
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another excellent read by Parker. His unique, somewhat meandering storytelling style runs through this story of a young Quenton Cassidy - before the reader truly gets into the running, Parker takes you on a lengthy journey through Cassidy's early days as an aspiring (and, ultimately, successful) basketball star. I tend to find these departures from the main event to be endearing. Much like "Again to Carthage," where Parker spends several chapters exploring Cassidy's lazy days skin diving and gab ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
I read this because I liked "Once a Runner" and because I'm familiar with the running scene in "Kernsville" in the early 70's. I also tried out for both basketball and cross country as a kid coming up and living just off "the bacon strip."
It is a little formulaic, but I really enjoyed being taken for the ride. The basketball scrimmages and games and the running workouts and race passages are pretty good slices of those experiences as far as I'm concerned.
For some reason I put this down after t
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I have read and own all three books in the trilogy. The first book released, "Once Upon a Runner," is one of the best running books I've ever read because of the writer's ability to make you feel everything that Cassidy does.
"Racing the Rain" has that same descriptive feel. However, in large sections of the book, it was applied to basketball, a sport that I don't particularly follow (at least not to knowing the different types of defenses, etc.). I understand the reasoning for doing this as it i
Columbia Warren
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable read - a really fun tale of growing up and being involved in high school sports. The author did a great job of capturing the feeling of growing up, as well as some specifics about the era (50s-60s) and place (S. Florida).

This book is also a great illustration of grit. In fact, it's no coincidence that I picked this off the shelf right after finishing Grit by Angela Duckworth. This book (and even moreso the original book, Once a Runner, the middle of this trilogy) is all
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
A thoroughly enjoyable coming of age story with a strong sports theme running through it. A combination of real and fictional characters run through the book, which is a prequel to two earlier novels featuring Quenton Cassidy. I was engaged with the journey young Quenton was on to achieve his goals, but a little distracted by mystery surrounding one of his friends (which was highlighted on the book jacket as one of the keys to the story but occurred late and had only a minimal impact. On the wei ...more
Jaellayna Palmer
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much - everything about it. As soon as I finished it I wanted to reread "Once a Runner," which was the 1st of the 3 books published by Parker though it's the 2nd in the life story of Quentin Cassidy. Speaking of Cassidy: It's obvious that the author truly loves his character, too. These books are not just for people who enjoy the sport of running or, for that matter, any specific sport. Far more than that, these books are reminders that "athleticism" is an ideal, a virtue, a ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'll give this 4 stars, not on an absolute scale but on the scale of John L. Parker Jr. novels. I checked out this and "Return to Carthage" from the library at the same time. Didn't much care for "R t C", so didn't expect much of this one, but I rather liked it. Recommended to those who enjoyed "Once a Runner", but the general public, especially those who never read "O a R", won't find much of interest here. ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Why do some authors insist on describing every minute detail of a sport time after time? Those running and basketball passages got long and redundant. How many times does Parker describe each basketball move by each player? Or each muscle cramp of the runners? Ugh. I kept waiting for the story to develop around the climax and I was underwhelmed when it happened. It’s like the author had to cram it in between his running and basketball stories.
Susan Arlitt
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
such a well written book. I have no interest in basketball, but the protagonist is a kid growing up in the 50's and 60's. He is a spear fisher able to stay underwater for lengthy times; he is a runner; and he plays basketball. Fine points of basketball games and strategy were in the book, and because it's all about the protagonist's development as an athlete, every game, every run is enthralling to read. What a talented author to be able to accomplish that! I highly recommend - to anyone! ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book on running. I can relate to the Darwin-esk nature of becoming a track athlete when your first love is another sport. After 9 years of competitive track, I can relate to every workout, every injury, and the anxieties. This is the prequel to Once A Runner which I have also given 4 stars. The only knock on this book is that it bites off an awkward portion of time—middle school through high school and it doesn’t flow as well as it could. Next up is the sequel...
Jim Moore
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Once a Runner is one of my favorite books, so I jumped on this as soon as I heard about it, but I was a little disappointed that it's really 2/3's basketball novel and 1/3 a runner novel. And the crime subplot was entirely unnecessary and detracted from Quenton's story. I understand why the basketball storyline was included, I just wish the emphasis was reversed. Spend 1/3 on basketball building up to the running story and then tell that in more detail. ...more
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John L. Parker Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. He was the Southeastern Conference mile champion three times, and the United States Track and Field Federation national champion in the steeplechase, and was the teammate of Olympians Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and Jeff Galloway on several championship cross-country teams. A graduate of the University o ...more

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