YA review: All The Rage by Courtney Summers

Title: All The Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Series: N/A
Acquired: Bought
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: 14th April 2015

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.

It has been a while since I have read a Courtney Summers novel but this one instantly intrigued me when I found out about it, so much so that I had it on pre-order. My review for All The Rage is certainly not going to do the book or Courtney Summers’ talent justice though; I’m not even sure where to start. 

This is one of those books that has a title that fits perfectly. I really did feel all the rage while reading this one for many, many reasons. 

Protagonist Romy has been through a lot, not that anyone cares. She lives in a town where name and family mean everything and she comes from the wrong kind. Her father shamed her family and the name has since been dragged through the mud. Romy has no friends at school and instead she’s constantly tormented, picked on and made fun of. Some scenes in All The Rage really reminded me of ‘Carrie’ and how she is treat in that book. It’s not only the girls at school that act this way towards her but the boys as well. The boys are worse. 

Romy is a shell of a person, not really living and not really being. She constantly struggles with who she is, what she looks like and everything else around her. Romy cannot function without her perfect red lipstick and perfectly manicured red nails. If she doesn’t have that, she’s ‘that’ girl. The girl that the terrible thing happened to. The girl that no one believes. Romy’s camouflage makes her someone different and she needs that to get by. 

Courtney Summers sheds a new light on rape culture and one I have not seen before in a young adult novel. Her narrative puts Romy in a place where everything she once was has been taken away from her, a place where she is ashamed of who she is, what she is and who she could be. Romy’s character is utterly heartbreaking and I connected with her on so many levels. I have felt the way she did. I have felt ignored, invisible and silenced. I felt ashamed and disgusted. Summers’ writing could not have been any more spot on. 

This book is so much that it’s hard to put into words. The characters are raw and real, the dialogue gut-wrenching and the plot utterly heartbreaking. Still, there is also hope albeit a very small amount compared with other things in the novel. This book floored me and I was thinking about it for weeks after I finished it. 

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