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During her freshman year of high school, Ally Griffin is determined to find her thing, a talent that will let her gain praise and recognition. Her cousins, Billy and James, have found theirs in sports and music, but Ally has yet to discover something that will make people cheer just for her.
At her best friend’s suggestion, Ally tries ballet. When that doesn’t turn out the way she hopes, she signs up to sing in the school talent show. Thanks to support from James, Ally’s performance goes well, and she thinks she has found her thing at last.
But when James gets into an accident, Ally’s whole world is turned upside down. As she tries to be there for her cousin, Ally wrestles with why God allows bad things to happen and whether she should keep doing her thing at all.
Listening to the Rain by Miriam Thor opens at a grandfather’s hospital bedside, but most of it takes place in the past when his three grandchildren, the book’s main characters, were in high school. It centers around the family’s turmoil when one of the teens has an accident, resulting in permanent life changes. Resources are given to him, but not to the family surrounding and supporting him. That struck me as interesting, and I wondered how prevalent that is in real life. Other sub-themes that rose out of this were school bullying and the legal obligations of providing accommodations to a student.
This is a YA story, and I was a little disconnected at the beginning with all the teen drama happening at school, even though it was important. However, once the crisis hit, the story drew me in, and I became deeply invested in all the characters. A couple of themes came out as they each processed the results of the accident in their own way: that bad things happen to good people and the
I loved this story. It was full of heart. Ally's family, dedicated to each other and to their faith, get through very tough times. Most of the story is set during the high school years of Ally and her cousins. It's been a long, long time since I've been in high school, but what happens to Ally's family rings true. There are the bullies--as there always are. But there are the good and understanding friends, too, along with the truths young people need to learn. This is such a beautiful book.