Buy All The Rage
Special price $17.25 Regular price: $19.29
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Reviewer: Melissa on April 1, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Romy Grey knows that the sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, isn’t the golden boy everyone believes him to be. However, since no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, telling the truth about him as cost her everything – friends, family, and the support of her community just when she needs them most. She’s called a liar and bullied mercilessly by the group of kids with whom she used to hang out. Her only refuge is the dinner where she works outside of town where no body knows her name or her past; where she can exist in blissful anonymity. In Courtney Summers’ All The Rage, the paradise that Romy has found can’t stay that way forever. When a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party and news of him assaulting another girl gets out, Romy must decide between fighting or carrying the burden of knowing that more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t say anything. They didn’t believe her the first time – and they certainly won’t now – but sometimes, the cost of silence is more than a young woman can bear.
In the past, I read a few of Courtney Summers’ novels, including Fall For Anything and This Is Not A Test and enjoyed them, but for me, All The Rage blew the earlier ones I’d read out of the water. (I’m giving them all the stars.) It is a powerful indictment of the small town world where a man’s word is law, adults ignore what’s right in front of them, and all authority figures are corrupt. It is a story that builds into a young woman’s battle cry against her assault and the writing on the wall showing the insidious ways that rape culture traumatizes survivors all over again. It is a heartbreaking story that you never want to put down. It makes you want to bear witness to Romy’s experience for all the girls out there who have called a liar, who have been blamed, who have been told that they deserved it, or that there was something wrong with them because it happened to them. And perhaps most of all, it is a book that will make you feel all the rage for what our society does to young women.
While it should come to no surprise to anyone who is a fan of this Canadian YA author’s writing, the best part of this novel is how spot on Romy’s voice and psychological responses are. Courtney Summers clearly understands what happens to someone who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. She not only understands, but she portrays Romy’s fractured memory in a poetic way through jumps through time, intrusive memories, repeated rituals, and thoughts that spring into her mind, thoughts that she didn’t even know she had. She also understands that for a girl like Romy where life is filled with bullies, wolves in sheriff uniforms, and internalized feelings of shame, she needs to carve out safe spaces wherever she can find them, even if it means possibly alienating people she cares about or hiding her truth. Even better, it concludes in a way you could never have seen coming from the beginning, but which is completely believable.
Finally, one of the other things that I loved about this novel is Romy herself. Courtney Summers has always had to defend her characters against charges of them being unlikable. People claim that her main characters make bad choices or they aren’t sympathetic for some other reason maybe because, in the case of Romy, she doesn’t have any friends at school or because she does tell some lies and conceals some important information. But the truth is that I thought that Romy wasn’t unlikable in the least. She’s doing the best that she can, what she needs to do to arm herself against the destructive and hateful town she lives in, and let’s face it, Grebe could be a lot of other places, too. It could be the town you grew up in if you are or were a girl. How can a reader not sympathize and empathize with that situation? I, for one, was right there with Romy.
All The Rage is an important novel that everyone should read, not just teens. You won’t regret it!
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