The Color of Rain

The Color of Rain

3.0 4
by Cori McCarthy
     
 

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If there is one thing that seventeen-year-old Rain knows and knows well, it is survival. Caring for her little brother, Walker, who is "Touched," and losing the rest of her family to the same disease, Rain has long had to fend for herself on the bleak, dangerous streets of Earth City. When she looks to the stars, Rain sees escape and the only possible cure for

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Overview

If there is one thing that seventeen-year-old Rain knows and knows well, it is survival. Caring for her little brother, Walker, who is "Touched," and losing the rest of her family to the same disease, Rain has long had to fend for herself on the bleak, dangerous streets of Earth City. When she looks to the stars, Rain sees escape and the only possible cure for Walker. And when a darkly handsome and mysterious captain named Johnny offers her passage to the Edge, Rain immediately boards his spaceship. Her only price: her "willingness."

The Void cloaks many secrets, and Rain quickly discovers that Johnny's ship serves as host for an underground slave trade for the Touched . . . and a prostitution ring for Johnny's girls. With hair as red as the bracelet that indicates her status on the ship, the feeling of being a marked target is not helpful in Rain's quest to escape. Even worse, Rain is unsure if she will be able to pay the costs of love, family, hope, and self-preservation.

With intergalactic twists and turns, Cori McCarthy's debut space thriller exists in an orbit of its own.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McCarthy's bleak debut novel delivers readers into Earth City, "the most forgotten planet in the universe," where Rain White and her 12-year-old brother, Walker, are orphaned. Lo, a prostitute, takes them under her wing and encourages Rain to sell her body to avoid scrambling for survival. Walker is also infected with a disease that decays the mind; Rain's desperation is heightened by the fear that police will discover Walker's condition and send him away with the rest of the "Touched." On this lawless future Earth, power falls to those who can readily escape the planet—like Johnny, an attractive starship captain who offers to transport Rain and Walker to a region called "the Edge," where an alleged cure for Walker's condition awaits. However, Johnny's assistance comes at a cost: his personal possession of Rain. McCarthy's poetic language glows throughout her descriptions of a desolate and melancholy universe. Psychological and physical torture, gruesome deaths, and sexual slavery create a dense, claustrophobic narrative that may require even mature readers to come up for air. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher

"A space opera with a twist. . . . This combination of psychological thriller, adventure tale, and even some romance, is fast-paced and thought-provoking. McCarthy has made a bold decision, breaking from the norms of the usually sexually egalitarian realms of space fiction, and it works."
VOYA

"[An] elegantly written and emotionally cathartic page-turner."
Kirkus Reviews

“McCarthy's poetic language glows throughout her descriptions of a desolate and melancholy universe."
Publishers Weekly

"McCarthy pulls no punches, exploring some of the most problematic romance tropes in YA with an analytical eye and a keen sense of humanity."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“This well-written story is fast-paced, nerve-wracking, and disturbing all at the same time. Rain is a likeable character, and her plight so horrific that the reader is sure to root for her.”
—Children’s Literature

"I think Cori McCarthy deserves some applause for handling this issue so delicately. …I'm not soon going too forget The Color of Rain and I think the best praise I can give it is calling it a 5 star book. It's a unique read that I'll probably have to read again to absorb. It makes me think and question and that is one of the best qualities a book can have. 5 hearts."
—The Sirenic Codex blog

"McCarthy has written a non-stop, no-holds-barred action thriller."
—Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution

"[With] surprising twists, candid romance, and beautiful language, McCarthy will catch readers before they fall."
—The Compulsive Reader blog

VOYA - Sarah Flowers
This debut novel is a space opera with a twist: the teenaged protagonist, Rain White, is basically a prostitute. She has sold her body to Johnny in exchange for passage on his spaceship to the Edge, where she hopes that her brother, Walker, can be healed. Walker, like so many from Earth City, is Touched—his mind is slipping away. Johnny is a sociopath who uses Rain for his own purposes, pimping her to others whenever the mood hits him. Rain strikes up a friendship with Johnny's bodyguard, Ben, a Mec (mechanically enhanced human), and Ben helps her in a harebrained plot to free the cargo of Touched that Johnny is carrying on his ship. Rain is an intriguing character, making good and bad decisions, accepting her fate yet managing to maintain a core of self that cannot be extinguished. This combination of psychological thriller, adventure tale, and even some romance, is fast-paced and thought-provoking. McCarthy has made a bold decision, breaking from the norms of the usually sexually egalitarian realms of space fiction, and it works, because the reader can see how and why Rain makes the choices she makes. Reviewer: Sarah Flowers
Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
Rain has lost nearly all of her family; everyone has been taken by the authorities, except for her little brother Walker. He is sick with the Alzheimer-like disease that has been decimating the population of Earth City and desperately needs a cure. Those with the illness are called "the Touched," and they are treated with contempt and disgust. Rain needs to get her brother to the Edge where she believes the Mecs can help him. She is willing to do anything for this to happen; she considers turning to prostitution, as her friend Lo has. After Walker suffers an accident, her plea for help is answered by a charming pilot named Johnny and Ben, his Mec assistant. Johnny offers her safe passage in return for her complete willingness. Despite Ben's whispered warnings, she agrees. Once on board, Walker is frozen in a capsule for the duration of their trip. Rain find dozens of girls like herself—including Lo—classified into color-coded groups and pimped out to crew and passengers. Rain is a "red," which means she's exclusively Johnny's girl. Fierce competition and fear keep the girls alive. Johnny's methods are cruel and sadistic, and he's intensely possessive of his redhead. Still, Rain is determined to visit her brother. With Ben's reluctant help, she discovers the true mission of this strange ship and what it means to the missing Touched from Earth City. This well-written story is fast-paced, nerve-wracking, and disturbing all at the same time. Rain is a likeable character, and her plight so horrific that the reader is sure to root for her. The sex is mercifully not romanticized and details are glossed over, but the violent punishment and retribution dealt by Johnny are graphic and not for the faint at heart. Rain's terror of what Johnny might do to her brother and her confusion about Ben's motives for helping her ring true. Recommended for older teens. Reviewer: Mary Thompson
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—To get the funds she needs to jump planet and travel to the Edge, where her younger brother might be cured, Rain has only one commodity to sell: her virginity. Walker's headaches and confusion will soon identify him as Touched, and he'll be among the hundreds taken away by Earth City police each year. Attracted by Rain's unusual red hair, the starship captain agrees to transport her and Walker through the Void. Aboard Imreas, Johnny Vale controls dozens of women who work as prostitutes for passengers and crew. He will use any means necessary to make Rain totally dependent on him. Despite killing her only friend from Earth before her eyes and demoting her from serving as his exclusive mistress to having sex with whoever will pay, Johnny cannot break Rain's spirit. Her unique qualities attract the attention of Ben, whose advanced technological skills keep Imreas's complex systems functioning. They also help Ben bypass surveillance to develop a relationship with Rain. When she learns that the ship carries hundreds of Touched to work in asteroid mines, she reluctantly agrees to help him and the K-Force stop Johnny and his brother, an even-more-sadistic slave trader, who enjoys lobotomizing the Touched personally. The hopeful ending seems highly improbable. Having survived beatings and rape, witnessed torture and murder, and made choices that sent others to their deaths, Rain seems unlikely to emerge unscathed, ready for a conventional romance with Ben, who carries his own share of guilt. McCarthy's dystopian future in which "deranged people with power" control others through violence and degradation makes for bleak reading.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews
A science-fiction thriller delivers on suspense but turns squeamish over its edgy premise. Seventeen-year-old Rain White is so desperate to escape the slums of Earth City that she agrees to trade her body to a handsome young starship captain for passage across the Void and medical treatment for her brother. But Johnny, it turns out, has a whole stable of "girls," expected to sexually service his passengers and crew. When Rain discovers that his real business is even worse, it will take all of her smarts and courage just to survive. The futuristic societies and technology here are not mere window dressing but integral to the plot. Rain's narrative voice is generally thoughtful and poetic, except when she's berating herself for her inexplicable attraction to Johnny (despite presenting him as consummately vicious and abusive) while disregarding her obligatory gorgeous, supportive and noble secondary love interest. More disturbing, although everyone exclaims how pretty, clever and brave Rain is, and although the story (commendably) never romanticizes sex work, Rain--even after years on the streets with her prostitute best friend--remains unbelievably virginally innocent and prudishly judgmental. Her sexual encounters are glossed over in vague terms (unlike the many graphic descriptions of gory violence), and her unselfish motives and lack of alternatives are so frequently emphasized that her constant wallowing in shame and self-denigration becomes more irritating than sympathetic. Those ready to gloss over the stereotypical characters, the presentation of an all-white, exclusively hetero future and the unfortunate subtextual implications will enjoy an elegantly written and emotionally cathartic page-turner. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762448210
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Cori M. McCarthy has a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio University, a graduate certificate in screenwriting from UCLA, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of the Fine Arts. Born in Guam, (a military kid), she has lived in Ireland and traveled widely around the world, but now lives in Michigan with her husband and baby son.

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The Color of Rain 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Mrsjonsey More than 1 year ago
This book takes us into the future and the story of Rain White.  Rain will do anything to help her brother find a way to deal with his disease.  Cori McCarthy takes us on the journey of Rain's life as she fights for her brother's survival.  This novel was gritty and riveting, an emotional roller coaster.  The descriptions and flow of the story line kept me going until the wee hours of the morning to finish this book.  I would recommend this book, it is really good.  I give 4 stars.
cheese12412 More than 1 year ago
I only read the first few pages and was appalled by the content. Being a Young Adult and looking at this Young Adult Novel, I was surprised and angry that such a novel was put in this genre. I understand the importance of learning about prostitution, but I thought that there was too much detail in that part. There should be a warning somewhere on the cover about the content of the book. Oh wait, I forgot. No one cares what teenagers are reading and doing these days. The writing was flowing and lovely, but I recommend that the author put her skills to writing cleaner Young Adult Literature or writing Adult Literature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THE COLOR OF RAIN is beautifully crafted, expertly paced, and one of the most emotionally compelling books I've read in years. Cori McCarthy is an authorial force to be reckoned with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing is beautiful...but the main character didn't feel "real" to me. Sorry, but I don't buy a protagonist who's even remotely interested in a secondary love interest after being abused by a pimp (space or otherwise). Johnny also felt a bit too much like a cliched rake and Rain's encounters with him felt melodramatic. I half expected him to curl a mustache and tie Rain to whatever the space equivalent of railroad tracks are. Also, the younger brother didn't feel like anything more than a plot device - a convenient tool for getting Rain into space.Again, beautiful writing. A few truly poignant moments. Definitely a hard subject to tackle. The world is vivid and wonderfully described. But I don't like Rain enough to care about her...especially when her actions don't seem to match up with her character.