I just finished reading an ARC of Dancing in the Rain, by Lynn Joseph!
Note: I received this ARC from the publishers at Netgalley! Thank you! This does not change my opinion on this book in any way, shape or form.
"Twelve year-old Elizabeth is no normal girl. With an imagination that makes room for mermaids and magic in everyday life, she lives every moment to the fullest. Yet her joyful world crumbles around her when two planes bring down the Twin Towers and tear her family apart. Thousands of miles away, yet still touched by this tragedy, Elizabeth is swimming in a sea of loss. She finally finds hope when she meets her kindred spirit in 8 year-old Brandt and his 13 year-old brother, Jared.
Brandt and Jared, two boys as different as Oreo and milk and just as inseparable, arrive on the island to escape the mushroom of sorrow that bloomed above their lives in the wake of the tragedy. Elizabeth shows them a new way to look at the world and they help her to laugh again. But can Elizabeth and Brandt help their families see that when life brings showers of sadness, it’s okay to dance in the rain?
Set against the dazzling beauty of the Dominican Republic, Dancing in the Rain explores the impact of the tragic fall of the Twin Towers on two Caribbean families. It is a lyrical, well-crafted tale about finding joy in the face of loss.”
I had no idea what to expect with this ARC - I just knew it was centered around 9/11 and its aftermath. I haven’t seen any reviews for it, and don’t even know if people generally like it or not (I guess people do, though, it has an award sticker on it!)
Guys! Read it!
Oh my goodness this book was as sweet and happy as it was heartbreaking. The emotions were conveyed so well, even though they were given from the point of view of two kids. You feel real feels throughout the book. It’s a super short and super quick read, it could almost be a bedtime story, or one of those books you read for class in middle school. If I had to suggest a modern book to be in a classroom, this would be one of them, for sure.
So in this book you have Brandt and Elizabeth - these are two kids who don’t even know each other exist. Brant is 8 and Elizabeth is 12, they live in different countries, but one day something happens that links the two. 9/11.
Brandt and his older brother, Jared, live in New York with their mom, who works in the twin towers. She is traumatized by the event, even though she wasn’t there at the time. The two brothers have such a well thought-out relationship. Brant is an excited 8-year-old who practically knows his brother by heart. Jared is hyperactive, and people think he should be on medicine. He is during the week but not on the weekend, and only Brandt can really understand him when he’s himself on the weekends. They are super close even though Jared sometimes pretends they’re not.
Elizabeth lives in the Dominican Republic with her mom and dad, until her dad dies in one of the towers. She is a perky and happy teenager, who believes in the impossible and has faith in the craziest ideas and beliefs.
Brandt and Elizabeth become neighbors and friends. This whole book focuses on, to quote Dumbledore “Find(ing) happiness even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light”. They’re looking for a way to turn on the light for their mothers, who are both suffering from the aftermath of 9/11.
This book conveyed this whole strange silence there is after an accident so, so well. I’ve experienced something similar, but on a much smaller scale. With the attacks in France, Belgium and other areas around Europe, whole cities fall into a strange silence for a few days. When you wake up and hear on the news that people died in a subway explosion, or a gun attack, or are being taken hostage, most likely caused by terrorism, you feel strange and helpless in a way. Your first thought is “No way...". You think of what happened, and it is hard to feel exactly ’normal' during the rest of the day. It’s so hard to explain, yet this book manages to do it very well. There’s a sense of distance and an idea of ‘what now?’ that comes up during such times. Now none of the events affected my family directly, thank goodness, so I cannot claim to know what the book characters are going through.
One of my favorite parts of the book was near the end, when Brandt’s grandfather explains how he escaped from a concentration camp in Germany with one of his brothers. That part was written really well, and related well to the rest of the story.
Both the pace and the writing of this book were really nice. It was quite simple english, which makes it good for younger readers as well, and the ideas were explained in such a way that they were fairly easy to grasp.
I’m going to give this a 4.5/5. Definitely something to read and to think about.
Have you read Dancing in the Rain? Are you planning to? Let me know!
Have a great day! It’s still super early for me, I had an 8 o’clock tutorial so I’ve been up for ages, but it’s only just 11 now, haha. First day of spring here, can’t wait until the weather gets warmer!