Kissing the Rain
Moo Nelson walks through life alone with his eyes down, avoiding the rain - being pushed and laughed at by others - and wishing things were different. Until the night he sees a car chase - and a murder... Or does he? What is the truth and who wants to know? It seems a lot of people do - the police, the lawyers, the bullies at school, and one very bad guy indeed. Moo must decide between truth and lies and he must do it soon, before someone else gets hurt...
Moo Nelson likes to be alone. Overweight and shy, Moo is constantly mocked and bullied by his cruel classmates. He's happiest spending time on a secluded bridge above the highway, watching the cars go by. One day, from his special spot, Moo witnesses a crime that changes his life forever. He sees a car chase and a murder - and suddenly Moo's a celebrity of sorts. The police, the lawyers, and even the bullies are now really interested in Moo. But so is one shady character who seems intent on tracking Moo down. Now all Moo has to do is find out the truth behind the crime... before it's too late.
The hero of Kissing the Rain, Moo Nelson, is fat - pale white blubbery fat - and he gets rained on every day at school for it. The jokes, the insults, the snide laughter, the beatings - all of it he calls the RAIN. Moo has learned to "umbrellarize" it, to walk through it with his eyes down. Because after school there is always the bridge - a place where he can where he can watch the cars go by on the highway and find some shelter from the RAIN.
That is until the day he sees two speeding cars, a crash, a scuffle and a murder on the bridge. Moo is the only witness, and his story is not what the police want to hear. If he tells the truth, Keith Vine, a notorious bad guy, will go free, and Detective Inspector Callan will retaliate by sending Moo's father to jail for welfare fraud. If he lies, Vine will take violent revenge. The secret pressures mount on Moo from all sides - money and gifts, threats and beatings - until he chooses to kiss the RAIN, to take action against his tormentors.
Kevin Brooks again shows the brilliance that won him acclaim for Martyn Pig and Lucas. The story emerges through a murky stream of consciousness; Moo's working-class British voice swirls past the boulders of plot events. Moo is befuddled, hurting, and enormously touching as he struggles toward a dimly perceived Right Thing to Do, and misses the mark badly. This third YA novel from Kevin Brooks is evocative of the best of PBS' Mystery! series. (Ages 12 and older) - Patty Campbell