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?
Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Number of Pages: 321
Publishing Date: April 14th, 2015
After reading so many books over the past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some books that you can read and the story just doesn’t stick with you. There could be nice characters and nice writing and a nice plot, but it just doesn’t affect you as much as you would’ve liked it to. And then there are some books where you are affected greatly. There are books where you finish reading the story and you have to sit there and take it all in and try to process everything you’ve just read. I think that I’ve become used to reading books that don’t stick with me; the books that don’t really teach me anything or cause me to take a step back and look at life with a new perspective. So when I come across a book that hits me in such an extremely emotionally impacting way, it takes me by much surprise.
All the Rage greatly took me by surprise, and I have a feeling that this story will stick with me for a very long time. It is most definitely not one of those “Oh, okay, that was a nice story, time to move on to the next one!” books. This book gave me emotions that I had to sit and process for a while. I was angry. I was upset. I was frustrated. I was taken aback. I haven’t felt emotions like these since I read Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.
In All the Rage, Courtney Summers dives into the horrid realization that we live in a society where victims are usually the ones that aren’t protected, and that’s one of the reasons behind why I found this book so astonishingly good. We live in a culture where so much victim-shaming occurs, yet it’s rarely ever talked about. Not only does this novel create feelings of anger and frustration at the horrendous actions of some of the characters in the story written by Summers; it creates a discussion about how normal it has become to treat victims like they are the ones that have done something wrong. Why would anger and frustration at fictionalized characters create a discussion? Because the horrendous actions of some of the characters in this story actually happen in our society.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
The plot of this book definitely had its twists and turns. As the story developed, I found myself being set on a certain person being guilty, but then something would happen and I would suspect someone else. This plot kept me on the edge of my seat and I could not find the will to set the book down until I had finished reading it. The plot twists indeed took me by surprise, but in a good way. I felt that the ending was extremely strong.
Summers did a tremendous job with creating a book that, although it was mainly comprised of some extremely dark topics and characters that you really just want to punch most of the time, is nicely balanced with characters that aren’t bad at all. The main character, Romy, is almost constantly surrounded by bullies that constantly shame and accuse her. But then there are Romy’s mom, step-dad, and the people at the diner, like Leon and Holly, who provide the novel with a feel of warmheartedness.
I found that Romy’s character was extremely unique. She was treated so horridly and she had been through so much, yet she remained extremely strong throughout the novel. Her strength would waver every now and then, but she would somehow pick herself back up and keep striving on.
“I don’t believe in forgiveness. I think if you hurt someone, it becomes part of you both. Each of you just has to live with it and the person you hurt gets to decide if they want to give you the chance to do it again. If they do and you’re a good person, you won’t make the same mistakes. Just whole new ones.”
Leon was such a necessary character to this story. I felt so bad for Romy, and I was constantly wanting something good for her. And then Leon came along and was everything that Romy needed. I loved how understanding and kind-hearted he always was. It was so nice to see a love interest that didn’t flip out over realizations of the main characters past; instead, he was caring and willing to listen and understand.
I also really loved Romy’s parents. All to often in YA books, the parents are either nowhere to be seen, or are extremely inattentive and unknowing. But in All the Rage, Rory’s parents actually do try to understand what is happening in their daughter’s life. They try to talk to her and comfort her, and that was really refreshing to see in a YA novel. Plus, Romy’s Mom and Step-Dad’s relationship was really freaking adorable, okay, like it was so cute to read about how they would interact with each other.
“I make sure to tell her I love her because more and more, I’m thinking about the last things I say before I leave.”
Some of the side characters within All the Rage were truly some of the most horrifying characters I’ve ever read about, mainly because they were realistic, and because there are real people that are just like those characters. There are real people like Tina and Brock and Alek. While that’s extremely terrifying, it’s also eye-opening. It, once again, sheds light onto the fact that there are indeed people who victim-shame and there are people who take advantage of victims. It provides us with the opportunity to change our society for the better. It provides us with the opportunity to educate victim-shamers and to comfort victims instead of accusing them.
I loved Summers’ style of writing, it was extremely beautiful and, at times, seemed really poetic. The “Now” and “Then” chapters were very intriguing, but the way that they were executed left me confused at times, and I would have to go back a few pages and re-read what was happening in order to figure out what was happening in the past and what was happening in the present. But I think that was the thought process of the main character, and it was purposely executed so readers would have to piece together the whole story towards the end of the novel. To sum it all up, this book was beautifully written.
This book brings forth the sad fact that victims are usually portrayed as liars. This book brings forth the sad fact that victims are usually made to think that they are “at fault” for whatever horrendous events happened to them. This book brings forth the sad fact that this is what women of all ages go through every day of their lives and no one does anything about it because society has deemed it as “normal”.
This book shows that victims are exactly that — victims. This book shows how horridly victims can be treated. This book challenges society to change. This book is raw. This book is powerful. This book is honest.
“Because maybe it would be better if we all got apologized to first.
Maybe it would hurt less, expecting to be hurt.”
Have any of you read All the Rage? What are your thoughts on it? Comment them below!