by Courtney Summers
Review by KM
Okay, we have to start here: there’s rape in this novel. It’s not something you can skip; it’s not a singular scene that can be ignored. It’s harsh and unforgiving; it’s not going to sugarcoat anything. This is your warning.
Courtney Summers is one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read This is Not a Test, I totally suggest you run to your nearest bookshop or library and take it out now. And then get this one. It’s not a sequel or anything, but the other one has zombies. Zombie books always come first.
Summary (thanks, Amazon!)
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.
If I could have as much writing talent as Courtney Summers does in her left pinkie nail, I would be elated. Her style is just remarkable; I’ve never seen anything similar. All the Rage doesn’t deviate from this trend and the ending of this novel is probably my favorite of hers.
In fact, let’s talk about endings. Endings that wrap everything up into tight little bows like Christmas presents are great, but life doesn’t work that way. Stories and situations end abruptly, just like a Courtney Summers novel and that’s marvelous.
Now that one of my author crushes has been exposed to all of you, let’s get into the beef of the novel:
All the Rage is hard to read. It’s hurtful and it’s aching and it’s desperation and feelings of worthlessness. It embraces what it feels like to be a girl and how some of us live in fear. It shows girls putting other girls down, girls defending each other when they aren’t friends, and just the way misogyny can be internalized after traumatic events.
It was a hyper realistic novel, one that I could unfortunately pull out many news stories in the past year that would sound eerily similar. It discusses how worth is defined in both a biological sex point of view, as well as a social hierarchy point of view. Women are just valued less in the small town presented; they’re expected to take the fall for men’s mistakes and keep each other quiet.
My absolutely favorite choice in this novel was the fact Summers chose to use the word slit instead of slut. I hadn’t realized until today how desensitized we are to the word slut. Teenage boys scream it down halls, girls use it as insults and then call their best friends sluts with affection in their tone. It has lost its sharpness. Slit, however? That just felt dirty and degrading and oh my gosh. It was the impact that slut should be getting.
Overall, I’d recommend this book so highly, in my top 10 that have come out in 2015. I want everyone to go into this with wide-eyes though because 1 in 6 American women has been the victim of attempted or successful rape.