Saturday, April 25, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: My Review of All the Rage

Hey all!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! *tosses confetti* 

We had a bit of an unexpected break yesterday because I got caught up in my take-home exam and couldn't finish writing my review. I got up extra early today to work on it though, and it is done! SO! Here is me, attempting to put how I feel about All the Rage into words (no doubt rather unsuccessfully).

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Griffin Teen
Release Date: April 14th 2015
Source: Borrowed ARC

My Rating: 5/5

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? (Summary from Goodreads)

Oh man, how am I supposed to review this book? I'm not going to lie, I've kind of been avoiding it. Writing reviews about books that I love with a burning passion and that I think are so incredibly important is really hard sometimes. And I'll never be able to put into words how amazing this book is.

I've been a Courtney Summers fan for five years now. And after having her books pushed on me (thanks bestie!) I try to push them on everyone I can. When my friend Emilie told me she was getting an ARC of All the Rage, I flipped out. And then, when she brought it for me, I flipped out some more. But, I didn't read it right away. In fact, I had the book for four months before I read it. Some of that was school related, but a lot of it was nerves. I never doubted how brilliant it was going to be (even though Courtney, once again, passed my already ridiculously high expectations) but because I could already tell how important it was going to be. There's something special about all of Courtney Summers' books, but there was something extra about this one. Reading All the Rage felt like tapping straight into the mind of Romy Grey, but also into the larger conversation happening about rape culture. I've probably said it a million times already, but I'm saying it again: All the Rage is a book that needs to be read.

I've talked about it time and again but Courtney Summers' writing is phenomenal. She uses sparse prose that packs a punch in every line. It's lyrical and poignant and never fails to make me cry and ache and hope. Her writing grabs you instantly and demands to be read. You have to feel these stories in your bones and sometimes, well, it hurts. I read All the Rage in almost one-sitting (I went to bed in between) because I simply couldn't let it go. Once you're in this story, Courtney's writing makes sure you are in it to stay. The story itself is impacting, but Courtney's writing brings it to an entirely other level of power.

As for the story itself, it is a heart-breaker and absolutely anger-inducing. Bullying has been something featured in Courtney's books before, and it is always just so gut-wrenching. Because it's realistic. And that's what's frightening about her books, All the Rage in particular. This horrific account happens to girls. All the time. This bullying, this victim-blaming, shaming, and humiliating happens all across the world. It's so hard when reading this book not to toss it in frustration at all the horrible people doing such horrible things. Just like it's hard when you see real-life stories similar to Romy's on the news that make you want to quit this world. All the Rage is a hard read. But, it's also an incredibly important one. All the Rage can change lives. We desperately need more books like this and more writers as incredible as Courtney Summers.

I always have trouble talking about the protagonist in a Courtney Summers' book. Not because I don't fiercely love them (cause I do) but because they're always hard to describe. And I love that. I love how they show all their strengths and weakness, their flaws and their powers everything that makes them who they are. I think Romy is just incredible. There's no other way to describe it. She shows that bravery can be holding your head up when everyone is trying to push it down. And she shows how deeply rooted trauma can go and how hard it can be just to keep moving forward. But she does. I am so proud to have been able to meet her on the pages of this book. Because she is, truly, incredible. 

Basically, just go read the book cause I'm still having trouble putting into words how much I loved her.

If you've read a Courtney Summers book before, you'll know parents aren't really a feature in them. All the Rage was different. I asked Courtney about it during our Q&A because it was something I loved about the book. Because Romy had absolutely incredible, real, parents. They offered her unwavering support, even when they didn't know exactly how to handle the situation. Because parents aren't perfect. They don't always know exactly what to do or how to handle everything. They're just as human as their kids. But it's the parents, like Romy's, that provide unshakeable support and encouragement that are so damn incredible. I loved reading about Alice and Todd because you could just feel the love they had for Romy pulsing from the pages. They believed her, they loved her, and they made sure she knew. It was one of the things I loved so so much about this book.

When I finished All the Rage I was numb. I actually sat in my room for like an hour, not moving, only texting my bestie and holding the book. I wanted to read it again. I didn't want to let go of the story. I also just flipped to page one and start it again (although my heart was like UH CIARA TOO MUCH PAIN ALREADY NO MORE). I wanted to grab hundreds of copies of this book and just hand it out on street corners (I still do, actually). Because this is a book that should be read by everyone. And, really, there are so many things to love about this book. I'll never be able to describe everything that's amazing about it, or how important I believe it is. Even now, as I'm telling myself to stop writing, there's so many other things I want to say. I'll never be able to say it all.

I hope this month has convinced even one more person to read this book. I hope that if you're reading this you have picked up/will pick up this book. Because it's that good. And it's that important.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

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