All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published: 28.01.2016 by MacMillan Children’s
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, YA
Rating: 5/5 stars – ★★★★★
Synopsis: Kellan Turner is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. But when she speaks up, she is branded a liar. Telling the truth has cost her everything, because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town.
But when news of Kellan assaulting another girl gets out, the cost of staying silent might be more than Romy can bear. All The Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.
Thanks to the #Bookentine readathon, I finally picked up this book. I’ve had this book on my shelf since the summer of 2015, when I got an ARC copy after working at Pan Macmillan as an intern for a while. I waited so long to read this! I do know why though. This book deals with such a heavy subject, it’s not a book I can just pick up on a whim. But I’m glad I finally read it. It was so worth it.
All the Rage centers around Romy Grey, a teenager in a small city in the U.S. She used to have a lot. She used to have a best friend she adored. That’s no longer the case now. Romy was raped. By the town’s golden boy. Why would anyone believe a girl who accused such a “nice kid”? They wouldn’t. And so Romy has been dealing with the vicious repercussions of saying she was raped.
This book made me want to set humanity on fire. I hate it. I mean, the book itself was incredible. But the fact that I could recognize so much of our society in it made me want to throw up. Courtney Summers does not pull any punches with this novel. She attacks rape culture, victim blaming, slut shaming and bullying in a confrontational manner -and it just made me want to give that woman a round of applause. We need books like this. We need authors brave enough to address these problems. Instead of all those classics, this should be required reading in high school.
I felt so much for Romy. I was angry, because of how she was being treated. I was furious, because everyone else was so weak. I was disgusted, because of the way she was treated. I felt sympathy for the girl who has been through too much. I was frustrated, because she couldn’t seem to tell anyone. I understood why she couldn’t seem to tell anyone. I was glad that she had a family that loved her so much.
I just… I can’t. I feel like I need to watch so many puppy videos after finishing this book. And I also want to set the patriarchy on fire. I will never in my life understand how an adult can treat a child like that. Can just decide what is the truth and what isn’t, based on your biased beliefs. I felt like throwing up every time the sheriff entered the story -and also felt like kicking him in the nuts.
This book was just so well written. The characters felt so utterly real, I felt like I know Romy so well. The narrative felt broken up at times which may sound like a bad thing but it actually fit with the story. Because the trauma fragments everything. It was raw, and honest. I think there were several reasons Romy’s story felt so real to me:
- We start the story after she was raped, when everyone has already decided she is lying. But you know what happened to her because of the flashback. I don’t really know how to explain this, but it did feel like a girl’s account of rape happening. It didn’t feel like an author saying: this is what happened to her. It felt like Romy was telling me.
- The littlest thing could induce a panic attack and/or flashback to her, which I believe would happen with trauma in real life too. A sentence that sounds too familiar. A smell or sound you heard while it was happening.
- What struck me most were the tiny things Romy did to try and bring control back into her life. She painted her nails and lips red religiously. She panicked if she left the house without them made up. They were layers of protection, so people wouldn’t really see her. There was a process with several meticulous steps to the nailpolish and lipstick. It may seem silly, but to her it’s a way of regaining some control.
All those things made the trauma and story so vivid. I cry for every person who has been through this -or anything traumatic at all. I hope people believed you. I hope someone was there to help you. And if you’re looking for someone to listen to your story, know that I am always here. I may be a stranger to you, that’s true. But it’s sometimes easier to tell a stranger what you’ve been through, than it is to tell a loved one.
So be strong, my people. Fight. Don’t let the patriarchy crush you. Smash it. Set it on fire. Smack rape culture in the face. Help out a person in need. Stand up for those who are not believed, those who are overlooked. And make everyone you know read this book.