Today is our last guest post of the month! I can't believe it's almost over. This has been such an incredible month and I'm so thankful to have had such amazing people contributing.
It's an extra special guest post today from my lovely best friend Kelly. She is the person who first introduced me to Courtney's books, so I basically have her to thank/yell at for all the awesomeness/pain I've been through. As usual, Kelly has written a beautiful post so I hope you guys will check it out.
Thank you, Kelly, for that wonderful post.
I was 19 when I first read a Courtney Summers novel. I was still a teenager, but a few years out of high school, a few years more sure of myself and who I was and who I wanted to be. A few years removed from the lives of the girls on the pages. But I remember the feeling of being stunned, dumbstruck, by the real and raw and unapologetically honest way in which these girls were portrayed. They were flawed and they were hurt and, yeah, they could be downright cruel sometimes. But I recognized some part of myself in them. And I couldn’t remember ever reading about girls quite like them at the time—the “unlikeable” girls.
But these are the kind of novels I wish I had had when I was in high school. Because for the first time I had been forced to acknowledge something lingering on the edge of my unconsciousness, pushed down and denied over and over again: that I cannot always be the “likeable” girl, and the world does not accept that. And that was something I struggled with in high school. Trying to figure out who I was when everyone kept telling me I was one thing, and I should be another thing, but I felt that I was this other thing. More and more I started to rely on books, as an escape, and as a way to explore who I was as a person. And I wish I had found that book in high school that told me I could be complicated and contradictory and that was okay in the way that reading a Courtney Summers novels did.
I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant when I heard what All the Rage was about. I mean, we all know that Courtney Summers is master at breaking hearts, and what’s more heartbreaking than a book about a world that lets down girls (I have this thing where I have to prepare myself mentally for, like, weeks before I can pick up a Courtney Summers book, even though they’re always brilliant).
I don’t know what it’s like to be Romy. I don’t know what it’s like to be in her position. But I know what it’s like to be 15, to still feel like such a kid but forced to face the fact that the world is so willing to take advantage of you just because you’re a girl. I know what it’s like to be 15, to hear that someone has done that unspeakable thing to your friend, but she must have been asking for it because she was drinking, right? I know what it’s like to go to the school counsellor asking for help for your friend and to be told that they are not equipped to handle issues like that, and, sorry, that’s just the way it is.
I know what it’s like to be young and unsure of yourself and to hear that the world does not think your problems are important enough or real enough, and to sit there and accept that because it seems like it just is what it is and, well, no one has stood up to tell you any different.
I’m much older now, and with age and maturity has come the ability to recognize and call out this kind of bullshit for what it is. And I’m forever thankful for Courtney Summers’ books for pushing me to be able to do that in the first place.
Teenage girls are probably some of the most resilient people I have ever met. So much of our world is designed to break them, push them down, and tell them the things they like, the things they do, the people they are are worthless. And yet, they continue on, they fight back, and they speak out. They survive.
I’m a writer at heart. I write about teenage girls. Because teenage girls matter. Because teenage girls have voices worth hearing. Because no one should be told that they’re not important. - Kelly
Tomorrow, I talk about my personal thoughts on All the Rage and it's importance.
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)