Review – All the Rage by Courtney Summers

 

All the Rage

By Courtney Summers

Summary: The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Source:I purchased a paperback.

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Review:

Warning: All the Rage contains rape, violence, and emotional turbulence. It’s not graphic about the rape, but I imagine it’s difficult to read for anyone sensitive to the content.

All the Rage was very well done. I think it will be compared to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I don’t really think it’s the same, even if the content was similar. I think Speak is wonderful, but it doesn’t do the same thing that All the Rage does. Basically, even though they both deal with similar things, they do it in different ways and I think society needs both of these books for different reasons. 

I’ve never been a victim of sexual assault, so I can’t speak for how that feels or how much I can relate to the main character or if the events are realistic. But I am a woman and there is so much about All the Rage that made me just feel so raw and angry. I can’t imagine not being believed by people that are my friends. Because what? My family isn’t perfect? Because there’s no way a guy like that could hurt a girl like me? I don’t need to have experienced it to feel some of the outrage and the pain of that situation. What makes it even worse is that it was a guy she liked. A guy she wanted. A guy she could even be accused of chasing. But just because you like someone and dream about having a moment with them doesn’t mean you want to be forced into sex and I think that whole situation is just awful. I mean, I remember being into a guy or something in school and I wanted to catch their eye, get their attention, have them like me back, but not… that. I never wanted to actually get physical with anyone. And what if something like that happened and no one believed me? It would’ve been my worst nightmare. (Since I’m a married adult, I worry about this less and my fears have more to do with walking by myself in dark areas and that kind of thing, but not being believed is still one of my worst nightmares.) I actually did have rumors spread in high school that I could not stop, couldn’t refute, and I think people still think they are true to this day, so I get it. Everything that happened in the book is just so.. real. Rumors, bullying, family issues, small town grudges, cliques, rape culture… it was all there. 

Romy was a difficult character and I think a lot of people may find her frustrating and off putting. But I loved that she was so imperfect, still trying to move on and deal with her feelings. She felt like something inside of her was dead and she kind of acted accordingly. She just went through the motions, tried to get through school, and this layer of anger just seethed inside of her and exploded a couple of times. The dynamics at her school were awful, and that’s even after her rapist was gone and no longer a part of her social circle or school at all. Still, she was the liar, the girl who was always making stuff up, the girl who couldn’t say anything and be believed. 

I think the synopsis is a little misleading and I think some people expected Romy’s rapist to have more of a part in the book and for there to be more of a plot. I know I assumed someone else would be raped and then Romy would have to report hers or something to that effect and the book didn’t really go in that direction. I think for some, it could be disappointing, but I think I actually like the fact that the book was the way it was. It felt real, like the author wasn’t writing just to tug at my emotions or make grand points about rape or rape culture or anything like that. She did do all of those things, but in a way that felt honest and less contrived. It didn’t feel like she included this neat little plot wrapped in a bow like a lot of books involving issues. 

Romy felt so haunted in a lot of ways, but sometimes she’d make this remark that would sound awful, but it was kind of true at the same time. When her coworker’s sister was pregnant and didn’t know the sex of the baby, Romy’s immediate thought was I hope it’s not a girl. Which seems so awful and pessimistic, but it’s a valid thought. There was also this quote about how you can’t put a perfect golden girl in front of guys and expect them to behave and that really hit me hard, too. In a place where the sheriff’s son is untouchable, him and his buddies can get away with anything. She even mentioned how awful it was that we live in a world where we can’t accept a drink when we don’t know where it came from. It was those types of moments that made me stop and realize that even though Romy was being overly dark or pessimistic, she wasn’t really wrong and that’s the problem. 

I highly recommend All the Rage. My only advice is to expect less of a linear story that has a direct conflict or plot the way the synopsis describes and expect more of a book that deals with the aftermath internally.

Star 4

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