Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

ATR

Book Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Published Date: April 14th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads

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?

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from St. Martin’s Griffin via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:

Oh boy, this book. I’m not even sure where to start with this review because I can’t say I enjoyed the book. Considering all the misogyny and victim blaming that happened in this book, to say I enjoyed it, sounds weird.

It evoked a lot of very strong emotions in me, and those are the books I tend to absolutely love. Yet I didn’t totally fall in love with this book. I’m still not sure why not. It had everything I could possibly want, but I still cannot say I loved it.

When I reviewed The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen last month, I mentioned how much I hate when boys are treated so much differently than girls. Bonus points if the boy is an athlete or the son of a prominent figure in a small town.

All the Rage features the second example. Kellan is the sherif’fs son, which basically means he’s protected by his father against anyone who would try to ruin his life. Romy’s father was fired by Kellan’s mother, Helen for calling the aformentioned Helen, a derogatory name.

Add that to the fact that Romy tried to tell everyone that Kellan raped her, and  you can see why Romy spends most of the book bottling up her rage.

Now Romy’s father is not in the picture, but her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, Todd are still very much in the picture. I loved Alice and Todd so, so much. Not only were they present in Romy’s life, but they both loved her and worried about her. They supported her when it became clear that sherriff Turner was out to get her. Todd was injured many years ago, and while he’s existing on pain pills and barely able to work, he shows his devotion to Alice and to Romy in both words and actions.

Romy’s mom was incredibly supportive of her daughter, and of however Romy wanted to feel about her dad who was terrifying.

“You feel how you want to feel about your dad. It’s not ever going to be wrong, you understand me?” -Alice-

That part really stuck with me as I have been woefully disappointed by my biological dad and by my ex stepdad. I understood why Alice said that, and it actually reminded me of something my mom said once.

What really made furious was how Romy was treated by everyone else aside from her mom & Todd.  Why the hell would anyone lie about being raped? I mean come on, this town was full of Kellan worshippers and it made me sick to my stomach.  The favoritism made me angry and it made me want to hit something.

And then there was Penny, a missing girl with a complicated past with Romy, and a connection to Kellan, It was obvious to me that the entire town preferred Penny to Romy, and that drove me insane. If Romy had met the same fate that Penny did, these people would be cheering. That realization infuriated me.

There was also Leon, a boy who doesn’t know Romy’s past, and Romy is determined to keep it that way. I felt badly for him because it was obvious that Romy wasn’t letting him in, and she was holding him at arm’s length. Leon was one of the good guys, but at the same time, he was a normal guy. He was kind, sweet and patient, but he also got frustrated with Romy, he questioned why she didn’t seem to want him around her small town,

He takes her to meet his sister Caroline and brother in law, Adam both before and after Caroline gives birth. That’s a big thing for a guy to introduce a girl to his family. Yet, when Romy meets Caroline and Adam the first time, all she can think is:

I hope it’s not a girl

Given how Romy has been treated since she told her small town about what Kellan had done to her, I couldn’t blame her for those thoughts.

After Caroline gives birth and it is a girl, Romy is scared for the infant. She knows better than anyone that  being a girl is hard. It’s hard because  in her world, boys are excused from awful behavior and girls who accuse the golden boys of something, are ostracized.

Because maybe it would be better if we got apologized to first. Maybe it would hurt less, expecting to be hurt.”

I did LOVE the writing.  It was raw, gritty and it totally fit the feel of the book. I am going to give it four stars because it was really, really good. I would definitely recommend it to those who like dark and gritty reads. I feel like it is a must read for high schoolers.

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