C.G. Drews's Reviews > Rules of Rain

Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier
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bookshelves: autism, contemporary, disability, read-2017, young-adult

I was invested in the characters and I totally wanted to see what what happen next. But overall I was a bit insulted at how it treated autism. (I loved that Rain was a foodie and a blogger!)

+ Let's talk about Rain.
Her problematic character development is there, but she totally has this I Am Perfect™ attitude and analyses all her friends and acts like she knows 500% what's best for her autistic brother. She is so pig-headed in her perfection.

+ The secondary characters were the actual best.
In just a few sentences they were totally fleshed and engaging! I was really really invested in Marcus and Kathy's lives?!? LIKE SERIOUSLY I WANT A SPIN-OFF ABOUT THEM. I also thought Hope was sweet (if originally I hated her because she wanted to "break Ethan out of his shell" ... no). But books with engaging and sweet and interesting secondary characters are just NAILING IT. Well done.

+ OK you want to talk about autism? Lettttt's talk about autism.
I think I just generally have hopefully high expectations about ASD (autism spectrum disorder) books because it's a topic very personal to me. (Aka I'm on the spectrum which I don't generally say but jesus i am so sick of being bawled out on Goodreads for my opinion being "wrong" on asd books so there you go.) Basically, Ethan's rep was good...but filled with stereotypes. And the way everyone TREATED his autism was so. freaking. problematic....which I get. Put that into books because people with ASD go through so much crap to make them "normal". But NO ONE IN THE FREAKING BOOK REALLY EVER REBUFFED IT. <--- That's the important part there, ok? Write the truth of what ASD people go through. But make the good characters change and learn. Ethan's mum did "everything to try and fix him" and Ethan's dad has a "list of 'dreams' to make Ethan better" and even Rain says problematic things like Ethan doesn't have a lot of feelings and could never have a proper romance.

So Ethan being Ethan = 90% grand. (No joke, he was a really really well written asd character!)
Everyone treating Ethan and the book not calling them out = a huge problem

This is what the mother says about Ethan's autism:
"They told me that I should accept his diagnosis and learn to live with it. But I refused. And, in the end, who was right?"
"Maybe you were both right," I suggested. "You have accepted it."
"No. I didn't accept anything."

She goes on to list what milestones Ethan's hit (aka getting a girlfriend, thinking about surgeon school, going out of the house) which is GREAT...but the way it's said is that she isn't going to accept him being autistic until he's doing less autistic things And holy freaking hell that's so horrible. For an autistic person to read, it's just another smack in the face that says: you are quirky and loved but...like you would be more loved if you acted less autistic. *CUE HAPPY WELL-MEANINGFUL SMILE FROM A NEUROTYPICAL*


+ So while all the characters were happily being well-meaning ableists that kind of made me scream into the void...Ethan was there being GOLD.
Like he has a line where he says to Rain, "If I crossed boundaries you should tell me, not the nurse." Because Rain is explaining Ethan's social-mistep to the nurse. Not to Ethan. A classic case of treating him like less than a person. BUT ETHAN IS THERE. CALLING IT OUT. AND THAT'S SO ENCOURAGING. Less encouraging that no one seems to learn from it!! But ok!

It's just so freaking weird how this book chooses to talk about autism?? It seems to be built on a good foundation but like why couldn't we have some more lines in there where people were telling Ethan they wanted to help him cope with the world (ie: manage panic attacks, give support, explain things, engage in his world) instead of wanting him to be more neurotypical?? Rain freaking says she "indulges" him when she listens to him talk about his passion, ie surgery and biology. (view spoiler)

I'm exhausted.

Like literally I was really engaged and I thought the writing was AMAZING and visual. I kind of wanted to vomit over Rain's recipes (she cooks, like, with kale and you lost me there) but I did love her passion for food. And her love for her twin Ethan was sweet. and there are some GREAT relationship dynamics there. I also want Liam to have 100% the best life of all he is so perfect, so pure. And the pacing is great! Like no boredom.

I just kiiiiind of once want to read books about autistic characters where they get supported, challenged, learn to cope, and people stop cheering when they act less autistic.

Queens of Geek
Are You Seeing Me?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Lady Midnight
Made You Up
Things I Should Have Known
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Reading Progress

September 16, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
September 16, 2017 – Shelved
September 27, 2017 – Started Reading
September 27, 2017 –
7.0% "Chapters Read: 2
Times Insulted Autism: 7
Levels Of Hope In Humanity: dwindling"
September 27, 2017 –
September 27, 2017 –
67.0% "This is quite a good book apart from suffering from the syndrome of The Main Character Is So Annoying I'd Rather Eat Hot Knives™.

September 27, 2017 – Shelved as: autism
September 27, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 27, 2017 – Shelved as: disability
September 27, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
September 27, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 27, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Ash (new)

Ash Rogers This is a great review! I have a love/hate relationship with books that call out their own problems, but do nothing to fix them. Especially when it comes to mental health since these days just being aware is no longer enough. Books like these should be addressing how to treat the ones we love that happen to have mental disorders like a validated person and not like a burden.

message 2: by Renae (new)

Renae For an autistic person to read, it's just another smack in the face that says: you are quirky and loved but...like you would be more loved if you acted less autistic. *CUE HAPPY WELL-MEANINGFUL SMILE FROM A NEUROTYPICAL*"

Hahahahahaha. My entire life. RIP me. *sobs*

Wonderful review, Cait. :D

message 3: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Ash: Absolutely. Like I'm ALL for books being real and the fact is people are often super ableist and problematic when met with atypical brains. But like??? You have to address it. ;_; Otherwise it's so depressing. (Autism isn't a mental health condition though. There's nothing unhealthy about it.)

@Lady Disdain: *cries with you*

message 4: by Megan (new)

Megan (Book Birds) AAHHHH, you’re on the spectrum Cait?! Me too! *high fives you as a fellow awesome Aspie* I don’t know anyone in the book blogging world on the spectrum, so it’s lovely to think I have a friend here who understands 💕 I’d love to stay in touch on twitter, Cait!

message 5: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Megan: AHHH HELLO FRIEND. It's always really awesome to meet others! <3 I'm @paperfury on twitter too!

message 6: by Boze (new)

Boze Herrington it would be great if people stopped acting like those on the spectrum are somehow inferior until they start acting like everyone else. good on you for calling this out.

message 7: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Boze: Thanks! I don't even see why it's such a big deal that those of us on the spectrum communicate differently?!?

message 8: by Ash (new)

Ash Rogers @cait You're absolutely right and I apologize for my poor wording! There's nothing unhealthy about autism at all. It's not a disease, illness, or burden. Its just something that every day people have. I still feel like I'm wording this poorly. Forgive me, I'm at work.

message 9: by evi (new)

evi oh my goodness, thanks for the warnings about this book. i recently figured out that i'm probably on the spectrum and will definitely check out the other books you recommended!! people have such horrid views, sometimes. just let us live, goshdarnit!!

message 10: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Ash: It's ok! I know you didn't mean anything derogatory by it! (And people with ASD often also have mental health issues too, mainly anxiety and depression.)

@Evi: I know right?! Like I said, Ethan himself was really relatable as a person on the spectrum and obviously if he wants to be a surgeon he couldn't just live in the safety of his room forever. But I felt the way they went about it and how much more happy/proud of him they were when he was being more NT (like no one cared about any of his autistic strengths) was what really gut-punched me. D:

message 11: by evi (new)

evi @cait oh my goodness. let him be a surgeon AND have special interests and stims and all of our other stuff, for pete's sake. it's really not too hard. :(

message 12: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @evi: if a person says autistic habits are a problem, that person is the problem.

message 13: by lelia (new)

lelia 100% agree with you!!!! Thank you for saying this.

message 14: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Leila: Thanks for commenting! :D

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for this review! Personally, when I first read it, I thought the Autism rep was done well because ETHAN WAS JUST AMAZING. I don't have autism so had no idea that it could be offensive and all the things you said! I did love Ethan and rain's development was really something I marveled at! Liam was a bit too perfect for me but I really loved it. I will change the bit in my review about the autism rep being done completely well because, you are right, the way people treated Ethan in the book wasn't good at all.

message 16: by Little_rat (new)

Little_rat FANTASTICLY writen review!!!! :)

message 17: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Isla: Ethan is definitely amazing and, I mean...a bit stereotyped. But he was pretty accurate on how it is to be asd (although everyone's different of course). ;D But I did love lot of other things about the book at least!

@Kayla: Thank you!

message 18: by Keerthana (new)

Keerthana Have u heard about 'Carry the ocean'?? I loved that book so much. I don't wanna say anything about it cuz I'm afraid I might ruin it. Give it a try plzzz

Cassandra Lovely review! I'm reading this right now, and read having your thoughts before I started this, I feel like I might learn a lot. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and personal experiences!!! :)

message 20: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Keerthana: I haven't! I shall look it up. :)

@Cassandra: Thanks so much! I'd be very interested to see your review too.

message 21: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra I'm dying at "50% I sort of wanted to eat a brick wall" that is the best way to describe the frustration I feel over some of the books I've read lately. I'm glad it wasn't a complete waste of time and thank you for the recommends towards the end. I totally forgot about Lady Midnight!!

Indra I love this review! It's all I was thinking while reading the book. Ethan was so well written and lovely, I just wanted everybody to be more like Hope? Like, she just accepted him and learned with him. All while Miss-I-Know-Whats-Best-For-Him-Cos-I'm-His-Twin just wanted to shut him in a box and disrespected him every two chapters. I absolutely love everything you said. I don't have autism, i don't think so, but it's a topic really close to home so I appreciate your books recommendations.

message 23: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Indra: Thanks for reading my review! I think a lot of the point of Rain was definitely to overcome how she treated her brother, but it made her a super unlikeable protagonist?! I wish the anti-accepting-of-autism behaviour of all the characters had been called out and addressed more. :(

message 24: by Tole (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tole 100% this. <3

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