by Courtney Summers
Genres: Realistic Fiction
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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?
I have come to love Courtney Summers writing from her zombie novels to her newest novel All the Rage, a gritty and realistic look at rape and other events in a small-rural town. A poignant, beautifully written story Summers holds nothing back and once again, her writing left me breathless.
If you grew up in a rural town that still has social ladders where everyone knows your name, and your family secrets and some family names are untouchable then you will at once identify with the characters and events in this book.
Chilling and realistic Summers’ shares the story of Romy Grey a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Who had to endure the unthinkable and when she spoke out, she was branded a liar by the town. Friends of Kellan Turner relentlessly bully her. He is the wildly popular sheriff’s son who changed her life in a single evening. He is one of the untouchables. Summers shares Romy’s deepest thoughts and fears as we see her try to find normalcy. When another girl goes missing and rumors begin to circulate that a girl in another town was assaulted Romy has to decide to fight or live with the consequences.
We spend a lot of time in Romy’s head and it is a very dark and difficult place to be. We experience her emotions, witness her coping mechanisms and see her try to adjust as she deals with the bullying, a romantic interest and her concerned parents. We feel her anguish, the constant need to be clean and the fragile shell she has become. You can feel her rage, tears and frustrations just below the surface. Imagine no one believing that one of the most horrific things to happen to you actual happened. You are told you are a liar, you were wasted and that these pleas for attention need to stop. Summers’ does not stop there, as our protagonist needs to make a stand, and speak out for the sake of others. As difficult, as the subject matter is I was riveted and my emotions ranged from outraged to frustration. If I were Romy’s parent I would be in jail right now.
In typical Summers’ fashion, she balances the darkness with light and in All the Rage; she does that with a young man named Leon. Patient, sweet Leon who dares to fall for a girl that is fragile and cracked. The romance was light, sweet and not without hurdles. Leon works at the diner a place where Romy feels some anonymity. The diner is located on the outskirts of town and is not a local hangout for her peers. Her job waitressing offers her an escape. Her parents are present and supportive but even they feel the pressures from this small-town.
All the Rage while gritty really makes the reader think about the shame and stigma young girls face when they speak up. If you ever wondered, why so many rapes go unreported step into Romy’s shoes. If you have read any of Summers’ book you know they tend to open ended and while we got some closure a lot was left open. I have come to appreciate the way in which she ends her stories and this one was exceptional and left us with hope.