Kate le Vann writes books of a consistently high standard and Rain is no exception. At first sight, the storyline seems removed from the average teenage girl’s experience – the eponymous protagonist has a scientist father, her maternal grandmother is smart, sophisticated, funny and lives in a fashionable part of London where Rain is to spend the summer – but Sarah, her mother, is dead and Rain knows little about her. The stay in London gives her unexpected access to Sarah’s diaries and a process of discovery begins in which Rain learns as much about herself as she does about her mother.
Rain’s developing relationship with Harry, a student who is helping her grandmother to renovate her house, gives le Vann the opportunity to explore young love, which is what she does best. This is compelling reading, utterly, painfully believable, painstakingly and movingly charted: it’s difficult to accept at the end of the book the reader must say goodbye.
There’s one wobble – a rather artificial construct involving a former rock star whom Rain and Harry mistakenly believe is Rain’s real father – but the rest of the narrative is a masterly construction.