All the Rage by Courtney Summers [twitter • website]
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Target Audience: Mature Young Adult
Keywords: rape, growing up in a small town, missing person
Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!)
Summary: Romy can’t wait to escape her small town, where she’s ridiculed for “claiming to be raped”. (That’s what they say; the townspeople refuse to believe a cop’s son could do such a thing.) Romy can’t escape the truth and must face it head-on when her ex-best friend goes missing and all of her hidden fears and feelings are forced to the surface.
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Pre-motherhood I read purely for enjoyment. I could read tougher, hard-hitting subjects and be emotionally distraught, but not in the same way they’re affecting me now that I am chasing after my own little one. All the Rage by Courtney Summers certainly sent chills up my spine and made me hope and wish and pray for a better future for my daughter. It prematurely worried me into thinking about all the future boys and parties and experiences she’ll have that I’ll have zero control over.
But Summers’ book also helped me realize that I hope I’m not Romy’s mom. I hope I don’t ignore a terrible situation for Everett like Romy’s mom did when she was raped by the town’s golden boy, Kellan. When word got around that Romy was raped, her town rallied against her — they called her a liar, cast her aside and made her life more difficult by harassing her, and labeled her as attention-seeking. She bides her time at school, works at a diner just outside of town where no one knows her story, and is just trying to pass the days until she can get away.
When Romy’s ex-best friend goes missing after a large party, her anxiety worsens and so do the attacks from her peers. People disturbingly murmur wishes and lies that are so downright cruel they made me shake with rage. She is determined to bypass all the crude remarks and outright stares to make sure another girl’s wellbeing isn’t threatened or overlooked like hers was.
Summers’ tackles the challenge of rape and abuse by telling Romy’s alarming story. In every possible way, Romy is completely distraught — she’s broken and shattered after no one listened to her outcries. Though she wants a physical relationship with someone, the truth is she can’t escape the terrifying place her mind resides 90% of the time. It broke my heart when she learned of someone’s pregnancy and hoped the baby wouldn’t be a girl so she wouldn’t know the struggles women face.
Romy is compelling and gosh, I just wanted to hold her tight and tell her everything would be okay. Sometimes she came across as a bit cloudy and murky because she was reflecting on past events and I had a bit of trouble distinguishing present day versus past, but it all made sense in the end. Her present was consumed by the past. Summers has gifted us with a girl who thinks she’s damaged beyond repair, that makes some really poor, frustrating decisions because she can’t mentally break free of her suffering. In her typical refined manner, Summers forces us to stand up for victims all over the world to say, “Enough is enough.”