Tuesday, April 14, 2015

All The Rage by Courtney Summers

All The Rage by Courtney Summers
Release Date - April 14, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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?
Prior to reading my first Courtney Summers book I was told to expect a couple of things. I was told to prepare to feel the entire spectrum of emotions while reading any of her books. I was told that there would be incredible writing. Lastly, I was told that her books are difficult for some people to read because they are so honest and real. After reading All The Rage, I can confirm that this pretty accurately sums up reading a Courtney Summers novel.

Courtney Summer's writing is raw, emotional and intense. Her prose is like a razor with each word being used cut a little deeper, and break you open a little bit more. This novel, for me, felt incredibly authentic in a completely unflinching way. It's a powerful book as a result, and one that packs a incredible punch.

Romy is a character that readers are going to have strong opinions about. She is flawed and imperfect. She makes mistakes, and sometimes even makes poor decisions. She reacts on impulse sometimes because of the things she's experienced, and who she is such a result of what has happened to her. Courtney Summers allows the consequences of what happened weigh on her, even when it shouldn't be Romy carrying it. She is angry and feels so many things that girls are told they are not supposed to feel. I have a feeling she may even be called unlikable, when in fact Romy is too busy treading the water that is trying to drown her to care if you like her or not. Romy, sadly, doesn't like herself a lot of the time. Her red nail polish is armour that she needs in order to make it through the next day. It paints a dark, but realistic picture and one that some will be uncomfortable with. It points out things inside yourself, and how you perceive people that perhaps you won't like, and that is tough to admit.

Girls like Romy have had their voices silenced. Snatched away from them, and made to feel like their voice doesn't matter. Courtney Summers makes a strong statement about how women treat each other, and the way that we should support each other. We should raise our voices for those who cannot. We should help those who've lost them find them again. We can do better, and we have to do better. If the biggest feeling that someone takes away from this novel is the one that they are not alone than Courtney has succeeded in so many ways.

There is a scene where Romy is shocked to have her voice heard. She says no and it is respected and listened to. This incredibly small thing, respecting someone's wishes in regards to what they want, is heartbreaking in this scene, because you see just how unfathomable this is to Romy. She's been conditioned to believe what she says doesn't matter and here is someone showing her that she does.

This novel points out how incredibly hard it is to be a girl. Romy even comments on it a few times, even hoping that a baby who is going to be born isn't a girl so that it would have it easier. We see different relationships that girls have with each other, to society in general and how society has failed so many girls in general, not just girls who are like Romy. It's a novel that I would have welcomed in highschool, and one that I think should be read by everyone and anyone.

While I felt incredible rage while I was reading this novel, in the end what I felt most was disappointment. Disappointment in a society that doesn't do better. Sadden that our society doesn't do more. That we live in a society that doesn't stand up for these girls who have had their voices silenced. This novel demands that you not only hear those voices, but do something to help them be heard and magnified. 

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