When Rain Turns to Snow
About the book
A runaway, a baby and a whole lot of questions...
Lissa is home on her own after school one afternoon when a stranger turns up on the doorstep carrying a baby. Reed is on the run—surely people are looking for him? He's trying to find out who he really is and thinks Lissa's mum might have some answers. But how could he be connected to Lissa's family—and why has he been left in charge of a baby? A baby who is sick, and getting sicker ...
Reed's appearance stirs up untold histories in Lissa's family, and suddenly she is having to make sense of her past in a way she would never have imagined. Meanwhile, her brother is dealing with a devastating secret of his own.
A beautiful and timely coming-of-age story about finding out who you are in the face of crisis and change.
About the author
Jane Godwin is the highly acclaimed and internationally published author of many books for children and young people. Children's Publisher at Penguin Books Australia for many years, Jane was the co-creator with Davina Bell of the Our Australian Girl series of historical fiction for middle readers. Jane's books include 'Falling From Grace' and 'As Happy as Here' (a CBCA Notable Book), and picture books 'Go Go and the Silver Shoes' (illustrated by Anna Walker), 'The Silver Sea' (with Alison Lester and patients at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne) and 'Watch This!' (with designer Beci Orpin and photographer Hilary Walker).
Lissa has a lot on her mind: fractured family, a tenuous and inscrutable social life, a brother who harbours secrets that render him all but silent, and that's all before the boy Reed turns up, bringing with him his own crushing family pressures that Lissa hopes won't intersect with her own, and something far more precious and demanding of urgent attention. It all feels like way too much.
The suffocation and growing desperation—and at times almost unbearable tension—of Lissa's situation is reflected in the weather. Set in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, and in the shadow of the Dandenong Ranges during the week of the Winter Solstice, the darkness, dampness and unrelenting cold seeps throughout the novel, making the furtive glances through doors left ajar and the hurried visits to the back shed to tend to what is too great a responsibility for any child to have to bear, not to mention the enormous weight of a family and social network spinning out of orbit, all the more relentless and oppressive.
This is a fine book written with great confidence and deft handling—tempered by a sense of hope—of tough subjects, a strong awareness of the endless variables in family life, and a keen ear for the patois and internal monologue affectations of a teenager growing up in 2021. The fact that the main character in this young adult novel is in Year 8 is testament to how much earlier our young people are being forced to grow up, and the complexity of the challenges they face. But perhaps that is the point, even if it's not the 'message'; being a teenager today is harder than it's ever been.