all the rage

Title: All The Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: 4/14/2015
Reviewed by: Willa

I’ve had hit or miss experience with Courtney Summers books, but All the Rage just blew me away. The raw emotion in this book is incredible and makes the story even better.

The story is about Romy, and the aftermath of being sexually assaulted. Romy also deals with the disappearance of Penny, a former friend of hers. No one knows what happened to Penny, but Romy has a feeling that Penny may have been harmed and wants nothing more than to find her. Especially when she remembers nothing from the night Penny disappeared, except for the words written on her stomach when she woke up, the photos on her phone, and the torn buttons of her shirt. Penny’s disappearance causes Romy to confront the memories she has been suppressing, and this ultimately is what drives the story.

Summers approaches Romy’s rape with an interesting hand – the reader can tell from page one the amount of trauma Romy experienced, but Summers never comes out and tells you what happened the night of her rape. The full story of the rape is teased out as the book progresses through a series of flashbacks, and from Romy’s interactions with her peers. The horrifying part of this book is that no one believed her when she said she was raped. No one. (I never could quite figure out if her mother knew – did I miss that?) The sheriff didn’t do anything and Romy was labeled as the “girl who cried rape,” a name that tore me to pieces. The bullying, trauma, and emotional abuse Romy experiences from her peers and the cruelty of the people around her shocked me over and over again.

I loved Romy though. She’s broken but incredibly strong, trying to just get through her life until she could leave behind the small town she lives in. She’s lost all of her friends and is struggling to find someplace she feels heard and valued. This becomes her job, which is where she meets Leon. Leon’s friendship and eventual love helps Romy realize that she is not worthless and that not all men are like Kellan. Romy’s character growth is astonishing, and her voice is hauntingly raw, two things that made me love this book.

I did have one issue with the book though – I feel like there wasn’t enough background given on much of Romy’s life. I wanted to know more about her parents, about her mother, about why she liked Leon – a lot of that stuff isn’t explained and I wish it had been.

Other than that one small quibble, this book is incredible. It’s an important book for teens, adults, teachers – everyone – to read, no matter who you are. Very rarely is rape dealt with like it is in All the Rage, and the truthfulness of this book is what makes it so important.