The Rains Review
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From The Hunger Games to Divergent, adventure series for young readers seem to fly off the shelves—before being adapted into popular movie franchises. And with his young adult debut, The Rains, bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz introduces yet another fast-moving, death-defying, crowd-pleasing series.

The story is set in the small community of Creek’s Cause, where, on one horrifying night, every resident over 18 is suddenly turned into some kind of mindless monster. While some roam the countryside, seemingly searching for something, others chase after uninfected children, locking them up in cages and hauling them away. Chance Rain and his older brother, Patrick, manage to find safety among the rest of the survivors at the high school. But, with Patrick’s eighteenth birthday just days away, they’re determined to escape to safety—or find a way to fight back.

  
 
Admittedly, The Rains generally fits into the standard YA adventure formulas. The main character is a quiet, unassuming kid who’s spent his life in his bigger, stronger, more popular older brother’s shadow. And when disaster strikes—and his own brother’s life is at risk—he’s forced to face this threat on his own. But while Chance may not get the development that he deserves, he’s still a likable character. Most readers will be able to relate to him—and they’ll cheer him on as he stands up to keep the others safe and fights back against a terrifying enemy.

Also according to the formula, there are a few romantic entanglements playing out in the background, too. Though one of the survivors is interested in Chase, he’s not-so-secretly in love with his longtime friend, Alex, who just happens to be his brother’s girlfriend. And while his relationship with Alex is sometimes a little uncomfortable, it doesn’t distract too much from the rest of the story.

It certainly isn’t without its flaws—its inconsistencies and its all-too-convenient surprises. But it’s also clever and different, combining zombie action and alien invasion for a new twist on the usual post-apocalyptic teen thriller. It’s sometimes surprisingly emotional, too, as the young characters experience an instant loss of innocence, forced to say goodbye to family and friends while battling against the adults who once cared for them.

And, best of all, it’s fast-paced and suspenseful. Hurwitz has a talent for writing movie-like action—the kind that you can picture in your mind as the story plays out. The story is often violent—and it’s sometimes gruesome, too. But it’s a thrilling read, with some unexpected twists and a cliffhanger ending that will make you want to keep reading.

The Rains may stick with the ideas and formulas that have worked well with other young adult series, but even if you’ve read (and enjoyed) other series like it, the action and surprises make this new series worth picking up.


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