Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Series: Standalone
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★ ½

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?

 What a stupid thing it is, to care about a girl.

All the Rage is a gripping story of a damaged girl and her terrifying life, written in Summer's signature style; wonderfully broken.

Romy makes a mistake, one that so many people make every day. But her mistake leads to a horrific act. A horrific act that leads to a life of hate. A life of hate that leads to twisted circumstances, causing her to lose everything.  Her father, her friends, her sense of self worth, her sanity.

Time passes or it doesn't, but it must - because it has to.

Being inside Romy's head was not always easy. It nearly brought me to tears on several occasions, and I'm not a crier.  She has so little faith in people and life. She has no real identity anymore, she sees herself as something like a walking dead girl.  Anyone who does see her as more than she believes herself to be, she keeps at arms length.  Romy's head is a sad, lonely place.

Normally, my review would talk about the characters and what I loved or disliked about them. This review won't be that way. The secondary characters are just that, secondary.  This is Romy's story, hers alone to tell, hers alone to live, hers alone to survive.  I had big emotions for this girl.

I imagine leading him behind the school and into the trees. I imagine stomping on his skull until all his fine, sharp features have turned to pulp. Until all the parts of him that are too familiar disappear.

All the Rage could have been a perfect story for me.  It has so many of the right elements, it's emotional, dark, twisty and heartfelt.  There was one thing that just didn't work for me.

I felt like Romy's story needed to end with a little more resolve, a little more hope.  You have a teenage rape survivor. She goes through hell but lives through it, although not well.  The ending just leaves so much up to the imagination and I wanted to see Romy begin on a path to being a stronger person for everything she's gone through.  I think that's important.  I think that's where Summers was leading readers but I needed more.

Regardless, of my feelings on the ending, I still loved it.   All the Rage is a beautifully written story that needed telling. 

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