ARC Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers10:00
Author: Courtney Summers
Published January 28th 2016 by Macmillan Children's Books
Kellan Turner is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. But when she speaks up, she is branded a liar. Telling the truth has cost her everything, because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town.
But when news of Kellan assaulting another girl gets out, the cost of staying silent might be more than Romy can bear.
All The Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.
Now, I'd like to apologise in advance, because I think this review may be a bit rant-y, and all over the place.
First things first, this was a horrific book, but also an amazing one. The writing style was excellent, and Romy was the very best protagonist you could wish for, for a story such as this. What was horrific was the fact that this isn't something you will only find in fictional novels. Rape culture is a very real, and very dangerous thing, and All The Rage showed this perfectly. The book begins a few months after Romy was raped, and she is still being very much ostracised for daring to accuse the sheriff's golden son of rape. She has lost her whole reputation, her friends, everything. Because she had been drinking the night of her assault, and the fact that her rapist was the sheriff's son, no one believed her. To further top it all off, her ex-best friend, Penny, spread emails she'd sent about crushing on the rapist, making people think she was just saying she was sexually assaulted for the attention. It also wasn't helped by her father mouthing off the rapists mother, and being fired by her, just before it happened. Now Romy is a pariah, and the subject of the a whole load of controversial rumours.
When she finally finds a guy who likes her, really likes her, and doesn't know about what happened, she can't believe it. I honestly felt like crying when she couldn't understand how someone could stop kissing her, just because she said 'stop'. She has been blamed so much, and is so traumatised, that she no longer feels normal
Everything comes to a head when Penny tries to reconcile, and says she believes Romy, and that another girl alluded to something similar happening to her. At the annual Wake Lake party, Romy is treated horribly, and is later found, half dressed, at the side of an abandoned road. And, Penny is also missing. This becomes even worse for Romy, as people are saying they'd rather the police spent more time looking for Penny, instead of wasting it on her
There's a whole lot of stuff in this book that made me so angry, I thought I would scream. The people Romy goes to school with are some of the worst I've ever seen, and the way they treat her, someone who has gone through the worst thing imaginable, is atrocious. They even know that GHB (the date-rape drug) has been spread around the school, but still think Romy is just a drunk looking for attention. I've already mentioned how the rapist was immediately acquitted of the accusation because of who his family were, because of who he was, and this is something that really annoys me in actual, real life. You always see on tv when teenagers are being accused of rape, how they have such glowing backgrounds, and have a whole life ahead of them, in sports, education, etc. - yeah, but so do the victims. Just because a person seems perfect - perfect life, perfect family, perfect everything - does not mean that they are hideous, vile people, capable of anything.
However, I did love some of the characters. Romy, as I've mentioned, was the best lead for this story. She was strong, but also wasn't - she was how I imagine someone would be if they were in her position. Her mother, and her boyfriend, Todd, were wonderful parental figures, and wanted to help Romy in whatever was possible. The people she worked with too, especially Leon and Holly, were also great for her, and I'm so glad that she did have some people there for her, and not everyone was a crappy waste of a human being
One thing that I thought was missing from this was the resolution of discovering the other girl. Because it's mentioned in the synopsis, I thought that would play a larger role in the story, but it didn't. I'm kind of hoping for a sequel to resolve this, and also deal with the aftermath of the conclusion, but at the same time, I'm somewhat happy with how it ended.
All the Rage was a book that will stay with me for a very long time. It's such a harrowing read, that I probably wouldn't recommend it for younger YA readers, but I still think it's one that should be on everyone's TBR. I can't recommend it enough, it's so hard hitting, and true, that it was sometimes easy to imagine it being non-fiction.