Wednesday, April 22, 2015

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
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 of 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?

There are certain books out there that I strongly believe people need to read. Not because it’s a heartwarming romance (that’s my usual reason) or because one of the characters is the best I’ve read in a while (typically, my second go-to reason), but because the story is powerful and needs to be read by everyone. And that’s how I feel about Courtney Summers’s All the Rage.

All the Rage wasn’t an easy book to read. In fact, at times it was downright painful to read and I had to take breaks before it got to be too much. That had absolutely nothing to do with the writing, because Courtney Summers’s writing, as usual, was absolutely fantastic. It had to do with the story itself and the subject matter it dealt with. All the Rage is a book about sexual assault, and the way that society has a tendency to treat victims of sexual assault. In this story a girl was sexually assaulted but no one in her small town believes her and instead chooses to bully her because she tried to speak up. It’s not right, not even close. But sadly, that’s how our society has a tendency to react when someone says they were sexually assaulted. In All the Rage, Courtney Summers did a fantastic job depicting this. For most of the book, I wanted to scream and get angry at the people in this town. Because the way they were treating Romy wasn’t right, but sadly, it was very realistic. That’s what made this story so difficult to read at times, how real it felt. How much I could see this happening in real life because it does happen to people on a daily basis. I could go on about this, and in fact I’ve already done so over at my friend Ciara’s blog, Lost at Midnight Reviews, as part of her month long feature for the book.

Much of the reason this story felt so real was because of Romy herself. Romy is flawed and imperfect and some people might find it hard to like her. But that wasn’t the point. For me, reading about Romy was reading about her struggle, both with what happened to her and going on with her life after what happened to her. Because of what happened to her, she has trouble opening up to people (understandably) and believing that her voice will be heard when she speaks up. It was hard to read about it all. The whole time I was reading, I felt her pain and I just wanted to be able to tell her that I heard her and that what she had to say mattered. When Romy finally had her voice heard, she couldn’t believe it. And that made me both extremely sad and extremely angry. No one should be made to feel like what they say doesn’t matter, that their experiences don’t matter. I did take some comfort in the fact that Romy did have a few people on her side. There weren’t many, but they were there. I wanted to hug those people for being there for Romy because she needed some people on her side. Desperately. 

Once again, Courtney Summers wrote a story that hits all the right marks, challenging her readers to think about issues that need to be talked about. I can’t recommend All the Rage enough and I hope that if this books gets into enough hands, we might start to change the way we view sexual assault.

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