All the Rage
By Courtney Summers
Published: April 14, 2015
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, Courtney Summers' new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.
All the Rage is a book that really makes readers feel the protagonist's pain and anger. Romy told the truth about what happened to her when Kellan Turner raped her but her community refuses to believe her and the other kids at school bully her instead. The Turner family is a big deal in Grebe and the sheriff's sons can pretty much get away with anything and so can their friends. I expected Kellan to be a menacing presence in this book but he actually wasn't there in the present day parts but only in flashback or mentioned by other characters. His actions continue to haunt Romy and the way she sees herself and others. His brother Alec is the most popular kid at school and he is dating Romy's former best friend Penny. Alec and his friend/lackey Brock Garrett along with mean girl Tina continue to make Romy's life a living hell. Then Penny goes missing at the big Senior party, the same night that Romy is also missing briefly. Romy is found but Penny is not and the town can't forgive her for that either. Does Romy's missing memory have some clues about what happened to Penny?
The mystery of Penny's disappearance and its possible connection to the Turner family and what happened to Romy are only part of the story. It deeply affects Romy and so does the fact that she can't remember what happened that night. I felt frustrated and angry with Romy because she put herself in dangerous situations around people who hated her guts. She is a broken person and that led her to make some unwise decisions though really it is her classmates who are to blame for the way they treated her. The book is brutal in depicting their hatred and bullying of Romy.
Romy's only source of comfort are her mom and her mom's boyfriend Todd as well as her job at the diner and her coworker Leon that may be more than just a friend. I liked Romy's mom and Todd and how they always support Romy and try to be there for her. Unfortunately Romy doesn't let them in or tell them what is going on at school. In her opinion there is nothing they could do anyway. The Turners rule the town and she doesn't want to make things worse for her family. At the diner, Romy has the friendship of Leon, a boy who doesn't know the truth about her life in Grebe (the diner is outside of town) and this allows her to feel safe even if it means keeping a part of herself from him.
I like how the author explores the aftermath of rape and the reason why some choose not to come forward. The account was certainly reminiscent of real life stories of communities where popular athletes, etc. were accused of rape and how their communities backed them instead of caring about the victims and seeking justice. I think it is also good that the book examines "slut shaming" and will hopefully cause teen readers to think about how they treat each other. The book is similar to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak in some ways but more raw and gritty. The writing style was also emotionally affecting particularly in the flashback scenes. This is a dark book but I think it is an important one that teens should read.
Note: I received an e-ARC courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley