Review Blog

Feb 09 2015

Rain dance by Karen Wood

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316405
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Rural Australia, Romance. After losing their own farm, Holly's dad finds three months work at a station west of Gunnedah. She thinks it is the end of the earth, and her mood is not lightened after meeting Kaydon, the son of the owner, back from his private school for the holidays. His mother has used his photo to advertise the coming Easter ball with the proceeds going to the local drought relief. Our two main characters clash from the start, but readers will know that they will eventually find some common ground. The author has captured rural life in Australia well, bringing to the attention of mainly city readers, the problems faced by their rural counterparts. Talk of drought and fire, of losing farms to bankruptcy, coal seam gas exploration and carbon subsidies, sit alongside hints about how gay men cope in rural Australia, or how people learning new agricultural methods are received when taking these ideas back to the farms.
Kaydon's father has taken a partner, so offsetting the imminent losses due to drought, but the younger people are suspicious of this man who knows nothing about rural life and certainly nothing about farming. Their suspicions are confirmed when they find that he has links to the coal seam gas exploration company. The book gives an easily absorbed look at rural Australia and how kids like these cope with a different environment. It is a page turner, and follows the success of Jumping fences (2012).
Fran Knight

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