Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: All the Rage by Courtney SummersAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars

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?

Courtney Summers writes the sort of books that keep me from entirely abandoning the darker YA contemporaries. The thing is that the contemporary novels about tough subjects are either so incredibly powerful and hit me so hard, or they really don’t hit the right note with me. A lot of times they just make me sad, where Summers’ make me angry and they make me think. Books like All the Rage are so very important for teens and adults alike, because they highlight the incredibly shitty way our culture handles rape.

When you read a Courtney Summers novel, you know a couple of things before you get started: it’s going to be real, and it’s going to hurt. Summers’ books are harsh, which is an odd word for books that also manage to be so beautiful. They’re brutal and honest. The characters’ emotions are so raw that it’s, for me at least, impossible not to feel along with them. Their pain is so immediate, so RIGHT THERE.

I pick through clothes that cover all the places of me that seem like an insult

Romy was raped before the start of All the Rage by one of the town golden boys. She was drunk and he raped her, claiming she wanted it. He happened to be the son of the town sheriff, though, so her report was ignored. Romy became “that girl who falsely accused the sheriff’s son of rape,” a reviled pariah in the town. The golden boy and his friends remain beloved and popular. Brock and Tina, two popular kids, make rape jokes to bully Romy. They do this without any repercussions or guilt, because the sheriff obviously doesn’t give a shit.

gif sheriff lamb flip the bird

Every person’s going to react to something like that differently. Romy pulls into herself. She wears unflattering clothing, buying the worst, cheapest bras she can find. The main goal of Romy’s life is avoiding notice, always hoping that someone else will bear the brunt of the bullying. She also lets some of her spirit (and her pain) show in her bright red lipstick and nail polish.

My dad used to say makeup was a shallow girl’s sport, but it’s not. It’s armor.

The particularly painful parts of All the Rage for me were when Romy thought about other girls. There’s this moment where someone’s talking about their baby to come, sex unknown, and Romy desperately hopes that it’s not a girl. She so badly doesn’t want anyone to ever go through what she went through, but knows that any girl isn’t safe from that experience.

What a stupid thing it is, to care about a girl.

There actually is a very sweet and sad romance in All the Rage. Leon, who works with Romy at the diner, has a crush on her. She’s not sure but decides to give him a chance, because she likes that he doesn’t know about her past; she can be someone who wasn’t raped, someone alive. With Leon, Romy alternates between really wanting that physical relationship and being completely terrified of it, pushing him away. He’s confused, but Leon always respects her boundaries, which completely stuns Romy. I like the way that the book ends with them, too, because it’s unclear if they’ll be able to work through everything. I hope that they can, because she deserves someone good in her life.

“What if she was [raped]?”

“Then she’s better off dead.”

Despite all of that, Romy does have one thing going for her: parents who love her. Romy’s family life wasn’t always great, because her father was a drunk, but Romy’s mom finally left him. Now, Romy and her mom have moved in with Todd. He’s not her real dad, but he loves and cares for her the way her real dad wouldn’t or couldn’t. Romy’s mom loves her too. They don’t understand exactly what she’s going through, but they do love her, and she does know that. It really serves to show that, even with that loving support, rape wasn’t something she could deal with.

All the Rage is aptly titled, because it’s what anyone reading this book should feel. My heart aches for all the girls out there who go through this, and I hope society changes fucking soon.

Favorite Quote:

“I wouldn’t do that. You don’t have to accept it.” He pauses. “But maybe you should hate the people responsible. Because it’s not you.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif veronica mars rape

12 responses to “Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers”

  1. Brigid says:

    “She so badly doesn’t want anyone to ever go through what she went through, but knows that any girl isn’t safe from that experience.”

    This. This is where you got me. I’m trying to hold the feels down. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since it started to get some buzz. I had never heard of Summers’ books before. I’ve already ordered Cracked Up to Be.

    I think this book will actually tackle rape well because it deals with it front and center. The issue doesn’t deserve to be a backstory, it deserves attention because it’s so so important to talk about. Fantastic review. I’m so happy you liked this book.

  2. This is the first review of All the Rage I have read, I actually did not know what it was about. It sounds like a powerful read, I probably will have to be in the mood for a book that tackles such a tough topic. Great Review.
    Ashley @The Quiet Concert recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (118) – April 4thMy Profile

  3. Lyn Kaye says:

    I preordered this sucker! Summers has a way to grabbing me, and she is one of my favorite contemp writers. I’m so excited for her next one. I skimmed over the review (I love to go in blind) but I am even more excited now that I see that you enjoyed this one.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: The Winner’s CrimeMy Profile

  4. Hannah says:

    I’ve seen some stellar reviews for this book, and it sounds like the praise is well-deserved. Society’s rape culture is something that makes me so furious – I’m glad that at least this issue is being tackled in literature that can start to help change mindsets or let girls in similar situations know that they’re not alone.
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Delicate Monsters – Stephanie KuehnMy Profile

  5. Your paragraph about how she hopes Leon’s sister’s baby isn’t a girl = YES. I felt the same way and hoped the same thing if I’m completely honest. Society is so fucked up and this book fucked ME up and Courtney is still one of my favorite people ever. So are you because you’re always so much more eloquent than I am. <3

  6. This was my first Courtney Summers contemporary read and it made me realize I desperately need the rest of them on my TBR. Really blew me away, that’s for sure. Such a hard painful read but so vivid and brutally real. And that fucking town of hers and how they treated her? Good gawd. Wonderful review.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny LawsonMy Profile

  7. That is really heavy stuff. But it needs to be talked about, and it’s important that we see it in YA. I have a hard time reading anything about rape, but maybe in the future I will be able to.
    Alisa @ Papercuttts recently posted…#BookwormProblems || Bad Audiobook NarratorsMy Profile

  8. Kayla Beck says:

    There’s no way I could ever possibly read this book, but I’m so glad that everything was handled the way you described. Hopefully, this book starts conversations and gives girls strength to speak up. Great review. 🙂
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Early Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (ARC)My Profile

  9. I have this on my TBR. I am so glad that you liked it. Great review. I look forward to seeing for myself how all that heavy stuff plays out.
    Steph, Bookish Glamma recently posted…Wishing and WaitingMy Profile

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