All the Rage
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
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?
(This review is also being posted on Ciara’s blog as part of All the Rage April)
After I finished reading All the Rage, I wanted to write something honest.
I’m honestly tired of women’s bodies being used against them. I’m tired of a woman’s personhood being ignored and being reduced to body parts. I’m tired of reading women’s stories, all heartfelt and some all-too familiar, only to have their experiences questioned, scrutinized, doubted, and discounted.
I’m tired of reading click-bait articles and their despicable comments. I’m honestly tired of reading the comments – ranging from hate-filled threats of bodily harm and death aimed at women, to less terrifying yet still infuriating trolling.
But I don’t stop reading. It could be so easy, too easy, to pretend that nothing outside of my own experience exists, and I don’t want to be wilfully blind. I am tired though of having a voice and being afraid to use it.
These are the things that were going through my mind as I read All the Rage. There was so much about this book that resonated with me, e.g. Romy’s thoughts at times about not wanting a body, wishing she didn’t have one. I feel that way sometimes. Our bodies are so often not our own, and we see in this book how they are used against us.
I am a big fan of Courtney Summers’ books, but I know by now how intense they can be, how gritty and visceral, so I prepared myself going into this one.
In typical Courtney Summers fashion, this book’s honesty was heartbreaking. So much of All the Rage is too true and familiar. The portrayal of sexism, misogyny, rape culture, privilege, bullying, ‘mean girls’, and the wilful blindness and ignorance to these issues is infuriating and exhausting. This book’s portrayal of these issues had me nodding my head in recognition, and this recognition is heartbreaking. How can the things that happen in this book be real and true? How can this be the lived experience for so many people? Why aren’t we all shocked and outraged? Why don’t we all care more?
And then the end – oh man, there’s this thing at the end, at once so small yet so hugely representative of the problems in our society, that had me come as close as I ever have to throwing a book in anger and frustration. What makes it worse is that it comes after what I saw as a moment of hope, and then this thing that is so gut-wrenchingly accurate comes along and it just got to me.
I feel like this would have been a terrific book to read when I was in high school and discuss as a classroom full of teenagers. I mean, honestly, I want EVERYONE to read and discuss this book, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would have thought and said about this book and its ideas if I had read it as a teenager.
Part of what really stood out for me in this story is the way other girls participate in the bullying that Romy experiences. It was so real, and I wanted to reach into the book and shake these girls. It was enraging.
Tying everything together in All the Rage is the mystery of what happened to Romy the night of a big party, and what happened to her ex-friend Penny who, unlike Romy, never made it home after that night. I loved the mystery aspect of this book. It added an extra layer to the story that made for a gripping, tense read.
I love the way Courtney Summers writes. This may be, in my opinion, her best book yet. I am supremely biased in favour of her book This is Not a Test, because there are zombies in it, and I love zombie stories so much, but the way this book impacted me emotionally, the way I am still thinking about it so much after finishing it, the way I couldn’t put it down once I started reading, has me thinking that this could be my new favourite Courtney Summers book.
I absolutely recommend this book. It’s a must-read for so many reasons! I wish I could make everyone read it and discuss it and recognize the importance of what the book is saying, because it shows that we are failing girls in so many ways.
Check out Courtney Summers’ #ToTheGirls campaign and support it on April 14, 2015. You can participate by writing and sharing your own message on social media.
You can purchase All the Rage via the links below, and for the time being, you can pre-order and receive your choice of a previously-released book by Courtney Summers for free! More info here.