All the Rage by Courtney Summers
read in September 2018 (Contemporary-a-Thon)
This is a spoiler-free review!
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.
After reading and absolutely loving Sadie by Courtney Summers, I had to read All the Rage. It has been on my TBR for as long as I can remember and I’m glad to say it did not disappoint.
Needless to say, I struggle reading books that deal with sexual assaults. There are so many I want to read, but I know they won’t be an enjoyable time. That, however, doesn’t mean novels such as Sadie and All the Rage are bad, but merely that they’re difficult to get through.
All the Rage is the perfect title for this book. The way sexual assault survivors are treated is infuriating, and sadly, not fictional. Romy – the protagonist – won’t wear a push-up bra “in case something happens”. Her best friend didn’t support her when she needed it most. All of this is heartbreaking and yet so very real.
As a reader, I was often frustrated by Romy’s actions, though I won’t judge her. Everyone copes differently and in Romy’s case, she knew she would be scrutinised relentlessly, so she wasn’t always completely honest. I actually found this one of the most compelling elements of the entire novel. Survivors don’t need to be flawless in order to be believed.
There is a romance in this book, but it’s not the centre of the plot. In fact, throughout Romy’s interactions with her love interest – who is black – we see the effects the rape has on her.
If you pick up All the Rage expecting a mystery novel, you will end up feeling disappointed. Instead, I would compare it to Far From You by Tess Sharpe. It’s primarily a hard-hitting YA contemporary with mystery elements.
The chapters are short, so this was a quick read! My main complaint, sadly, is the writing style. Many people praise it, but I didn’t dig it. I sometimes had no idea what was going on, when that was clearly not the author’s intention. I, for instance, don’t understand the scene with the suspicious man from the diner. I re-read it several times and I still don’t fully comprehend what happened in the woods.
content and trigger warnings for underage drinking, rape (on the page), memory loss, bullying, victim blaming, slut shaming, alcoholism, menstruation, animal death, GHB/drugged against will, disappearance of teenage girl, murder, PTSD
All the Rage is a solid Young Adult contemporary about a rape survivor. It didn’t exceed my love of Sadie by Courtney Summers and I sometimes struggled with the writing style, but I’d nonetheless recommend it if you can handle the heavy subject matter!
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