Thursday, April 30, 2015


And, that's a wrap!

ALL THE RAGE APRIL has come to an end! I can't believe its already over! This month has been incredible and I'm in awe of the response it has received. I can't even begin to tell you all how grateful I am.

I want to say a massive THANK YOU to all the lovely people that participated in this month. You are all wonderful, insightful gals and I'm so lucky to have you in my "awesome people" circle. I also want to send another huge THANK YOU to the wonderful Courtney Summers who has been so dang fantastic and supportive and I appreciate it more than I can say.

If you missed any of the posts this month, there's a master list here. I hope you'll check them out, because they're honestly so powerful.

I want to keep this conversation going. I want to keep talking about All the Rage, talking about the effects of rape culture, and what we can do to combat it. Below I've rounded-up some reviews/guest posts/etc. about All the Rage from other wonderful bloggers and websites.

This isn't even close to the amount of posts about All the Rage that are floating around the internet (and that makes me intensely happy). If you have reviewed All the Rage, or wrote a post about it, please link to it in the comments and I'll add it to this list.

I hope you guys have loved this month as much as I did. I hope you guys will check out All the Rage. It is just incredible. I'm so happy it's out in the world.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Why All the Rage Matters To Me

(Apologies in advance, this post is a bit all over the place.)

I've been thinking about this post all month. What was I going to say that hasn't already been said? How was I going to contribute to this conversation?

I've seen so many wonderful posts from brilliant women about rape culture and the importance of All the Rage and books like it, it's hard to know how to add my voice. I decided to tell a story, a personal one, that I always think about when it comes to rape culture. 

It happened a few years ago, but it has always stuck with me. I was leaving a party, and grabbing the friends I had come there with to head out. When I found one of my friends, a guy we both knew had his legs laid across her lap. I knew what kind of guy he was, and my warning bells went off right away. I turned to my friend though and told her we were heading out. 

She never got a chance to respond.

The guy jumped right in, telling me that she was going home with him tonight. I bristled. I didn't like him speaking for her or how trapped she looked. She was speaking for her, he was practically on top of her, and he wasn't letting her say anything. So, I told him simply that I wasn't talking to him. He kept pushing it, though. Kept telling me to go, they were fine. This wasn't my business. I told him no, it sure as hell is my business that if she told me she wanted to stay, that's fine, but I was hearing it from her. Not him. We went back and forth a bit, getting pretty heated until another guy, one I'd never met before, jumped in.

"Stop being a cockblock." He told me. 

He didn't stop there.

"You're just jealous you don't have a guy." He laughed. 

So did the guy on the couch.

So did other people at the party.

I don't remember everything he said, although those lines stuck in my head particularly well. But I remember how it felt and, I'm not going to lie, it hurt. I felt ashamed. Embarrassed. Like I was being attacked for speaking my opinion. That maybe I was just being making a big deal out of nothing.

But I also felt angry as hell.

If you've ever seen me angry, it isn't a pretty sight. And this guy knew really quickly that I wasn't going to take his words and back off. I let the guy have it. I try not to swear on this blog, but I'm sure you can imagine the curses I was hurling at him. I told him he wasn't involved in this. I told him he need to back off. He didn't, of course. But neither did I.

While we were in this heated exchanged, my friend ran out of the room. I followed a few minutes later and she told me simply that she wanted to go home. The guy followed me, and looked at me in disgust and anger when I told him she asked to go home. I'm sure he didn't believe me. I sure as hell didn't care. On the way home, my friend and I were crying. Because she hadn't known how to say no. And I had been attacked for trying to let her.

And I was alone. No one else was standing up and saying anything. They let me be degraded like that, and laughed along with them. All because I was trying to protect my friend. I didn't know the people at that party, so I can't tell you what they were thinking. But, I do know this: what happened was rape culture in action. One guy thinking his wants trumped consent. Another thinking a girl's voice should be silenced. And a whole group of people ignoring how wrong the situation was because it was acceptable to them. 

It's not acceptable.  

I'm a thinker. And writing this post had me looking back on all those experiences I've had that could've ended up worse. It dragged up memories of nights out dancing with strong hands on my arms, bodies against mine, a gentle 'no' turned into an invitation to convince me otherwise. One of those nights, after a particularly bad experience with a guy, I left the club alone, something I absolutely never do. I think back about how lucky I am that he didn't follow me.

Why do we think of it in those terms? That I'm "lucky" the guy that held me against the wall, and kept me there despite my protests, didn't take it further? That I'm "lucky" the guy that followed me off the bus didn't follow me all the way home? That I'm "lucky" I was okay all those times I came home late at night alone?

I shouldn't be lucky. I should be safe. Girls should be safe.

But we live in a society that doesn't protect us. That tells us we are less. That our bodies are up for public scrutiny and debate, and what we do with it isn't always our decision. It's hard to not feel defeated at times. Because if you ask a girl, they will give you stories like mine, too often unimaginably worse. Sometimes you just want to scream at the top of your lungs, because how is this still happening? Why haven't we changed?

But, then there's books like All the Rage. They bust open the door on the conversation about rape culture, and how girls are treated. About all the ways society can kill girls. These books are pivotal, vital, and so so needed. Books create empathy and understanding, and create a dialogue on subjects that are sometimes hard to discuss. We have to have this conversation, because we can't keep treating girls like this. It's needs to stop. 

It's why I try to champion books like All the Rage. Because if maybe, just maybe, everyone reads this book, things would start changing. It would foster understanding and anger and maybe people would finally get what women have been telling them for years. I truly think books like All the Rage are going to make a change. 

I really hope they do.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)   

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post from Kelly

Hello, everyone!

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.

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
Thank you, Kelly, for that wonderful post.

Tomorrow, I talk about my personal thoughts on All the Rage and it's importance.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Monday, April 27, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post by Jess from Read My Breath Away

Hello, all!

We're down to are last few days of ALL THE RAGE APRIL! I can't believe how fast this month has flown by! If you missed any of the wonderful posts this month, check them all out here.

Today on the blog, I have another one of my fellow Ottawa Bloggers (y'all are incredible, just sayin), Jess from Read My Breath Away, talking about how society fails girls. Check out her post below:
When Ciara asked me if I wanted to write a post for this wonderful celebration of Courtney Summers and All the Rage, my first thought was about all the ways in which we as a society tend to discredit and abandon young women when they need us most and how, while we most definitely do it with our actions, it's almost more dangerous the way we do it with our words.

Think about any news article you've ever read about a sexual assault/abuse case wherein the victim was a young woman. Now think about the kind of language that was used by anyone discussing that case. Look at the words used within the article, in the comments (because we all know the internet rule "DON'T READ THE COMMENTS" and yet somehow we all find ourselves drawn to that fiery rage pit anyway, don't we?), and in outside discussion on the news or talk shows or on social media. There may be a few things that stick out.

Things like: Questions about the girl's behaviour - what was she wearing, was she drinking, was she alone, did she say no?

Things like: are we sure this is true, did she make this up, is she lying?

Things like: she probably wanted it, I bet she liked it, she was asking for it. 

And if the girl is lucky enough to see some sort of justice served against her attacker, we see things like: that poor boy, he had such a bright future ahead of him, this is going to follow him around now, how unfair for him. 

What are we saying to young women if this is how we talk about sexual assault? What are we doing, teaching them that this is how you react when a girl tells you that she has had this wrong committed against her? Why are we turning young women against each other, teaching them to turn their backs on one another and leading by example? Why are we telling our girls to keep their mouths shut because if you speak, your options boil down to being branded a liar or being blamed for your own abuse?

Here is where I say thank god for Courtney Summers. For Courtney Summers and for the other incredible people who write about and speak out for our girls. Thank god for books like All the Rage because it asks all these questions I'm asking. When you read that book, it gives you a glimpse into the life that girls are now suffering through because of the way our society treats them. And it makes you mad. It makes you care. It makes you want to stand up and demand that these things change. It makes you never want to let another stupid comment about a girl in this heartbreaking position fly ever again.  And if more people read books like All the Rage, more people would think twice before blaming a victim or defending an abuser. With every person who refuses to engage in that kind of behaviour, we are one step closer to saving our girls.

On what I thought was a very appropriate note, here is basically a visual representation of my internal reaction to the kind of things people say when girls dare to speak out about a wrong done against them (and what I wished I could actually do more than once while reading how people responded to Romy in All the Rage):

I'd just like to end on this: we MUST stop blaming the girls. We really need to shut up and listen to them, support them however we can, and lift them up when they need it most instead of making things even harder for them. We have a long way to go, but remember that even just being aware of how you're responding when talk about these issues comes up can make a difference. Read All the Rage and books like it. Gain that perspective. And let's stand with the girls, instead of against them. 
Thanks for the amazing post, Jess! (And for that gif set which will forever pop into my head now when I'm angry).

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

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) 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ALL THE APRIL: Guest Post by Indigo from Adventures in YA Fiction

Hello, lovely readers!

Welcome to another day of ALL THE RAGE APRIL! Today on the blog, I have the wonderful Indigo from Adventures in YA Fiction talking about reading Courtney Summers for the first time. Check it out!

All the Rage was my first Courtney Summers book. Now, when I admitted this to a bookish friend, I swear to god I thought she was going to either slap me, or pass out in front of me. For so many, Courtney is such a staple in their YA library, but for some reason I just hadn’t gotten around to reading any of her books. But for some reason, there was just something about All the Rage that I knew it would be special. And even though Romy’s story is hard hitting and raw, and so very real, I think that it’s Courtney and her fantastic story telling that made it so special.

While I knew All the Rage was going to be special, I was still nervous that maybe the subject matter wouldn’t be conveyed properly. It was a real fear of mine, and I had no idea what to expect going into it. But I was so happy when I read that first chapter. From those first few pages, I could tell that Courtney was not in the business of telling a cliched story, or writing something that could be tossed aside. No, she was going all in. I got the impression that no matter what, if Courtney was going to tell this story, she was going to tell it right.

One thing that really stuck out to me, was Courtney’s use of minimalistic, simple sentences. These were the ones that packed such a punch, I had to put the book down for a minute. Her lines and her words had nails as sharp as Romy’s and were unforgiving and raw and just so, so captivating. I am so used to being torn apart by poetic and detailed books, and I just wasn’t expecting to be hit so hard with these simple lines.

I think that’s what really hit me hard - the fact that I had no idea that it was coming. I had no idea how hard this book would hit me, or that I would still be thinking of Romy and her story almost a month later. I will only ever read a Courtney Summers book for the first time once, and I’m so glad that I got to read All the Rage. This woman slayed me with her words, and I just loved every minute of it. And now I'm just waiting till summer so that I can read the rest of her books! - Indigo

Thanks so much for your awesome post, Indigo! I think All the Rage is such a great one to start with. And you have so many amazing books in your future!

Stop by tomorrow when I try to put into words why I loved All the Rage!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Review by Meaghan from Feeling A Little Bookish

Hello, everyone!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! If you missed any of the posts from this month, check out the master list here! There have been so many incredible posts this month, and I'm truly grateful for everyone that has participated.

Today, my friend and fellow Ottawa Blogger Meaghan from Feeling A Little Bookish is here with a very personal guest review of All the Rage! I hope you'll check it out!

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

Meaghan's 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)
**Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault**

First of all, thank you Ciara for hosting me today on your blog. Where do I start with this book? I think I should mention that before this book I was a Courtney Summers book virgin. That's right, I had never read one of her books despite Ciara raving about all things Summers. This book had all the makings of a first time. It was uncomfortable at times but it was so worth it. It was such a good read with such a good theme.
The narrative of this story is one that will make you uneasy reading about. It is about a girl who is raped and about the fallout of this rape. It is also about a missing girl and how these two events collide dramatically. The book is ripe with bullying and slut shaming. I had a very difficult time reading this book because most of the characters you encounter in this novel are so horrible. Romy is bullied because she confides in someone that she was raped. The person who raped her is far more popular than Romy and as a result she becomes a social pariah. People treat her horribly and she is ostracized. Romy feels shame, anxiety, and loneliness all because someone decided to take what wasn't his. He decided that his need to overpower someone was more valuable than their self worth and sense of security.
I can relate to this book is some ways more than others but it was very touching. When I was in university I was date raped. It was not the violent, pin you down kind of date rape that is commonly depicted. At the time, I thought that this made a difference. Despite being violated and despite feeling paralyzed and numb I thought that it was my fault. That I could have somehow stopped it. That I should have fought back more, been louder. I thought that because I was stupid enough to go back to his house after one date and fool around with him that I sent mixed signals. That my 'no' somehow looked like a 'yes'. I am a smart, educated woman who heard all the time that rape is not the victim's fault yet I still blamed myself. Did I report the incident? I sure didn't. I felt ashamed and didn't tell many people at the time. I didn't allow myself to cry after that night and even now I speak about it rarely. So, why take a paragraph to write about this in a book review?
I think that women cannot hear it enough that it is not the victim's fault. So many women and girls who find themselves in this predicament blame themselves and worry about the fallout. This book highlights how difficult it is to be honest and open about sexual assault. It showcases that there are still major changes that need to take place in our society. Why do we pick apart women for what they wear, for how they may have acted? Why do the perpetrators of these crimes seem more believable? Changes need to happen because they are not happening soon enough.
I think this a book that both boys and girls should read. It's heartbreaking to see Romy go through her healing process. This book doesn't try to gift wrap everything up with a nice bow. It's gritty, raw and poignant and needs to be in the hands of all teens. Let's be serious, I think most adults should read this book too. I will be reading more of Courtney Summers this much I know for sure. This is a definite 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you, Meaghan for your brave post. I think it's really important to keep this conversation open, and I appreciate that you were willing to tell your story.

Stop by tomorrow for a guest post from another first-time Courtney Summers readers!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post from Susanne

Hello, everyone!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! We've had a bit of a break, but don't expect more of that. If the schedule holds there will be posts coming your way from now until the end of April! I can't wait to share them!

Today, I have a guest post from the lovely Susanne (@opheliet on Twitter!) on trauma and All the Rage. Check it out!

Once you've experienced trauma, sometimes it can seem as though a wall has been built, between you and everyone else. They're still living in their world, happy and shiny as though nothing bad has ever happened. Meanwhile, your world has changed forever and why can't everyone see that? It's a lonely place, behind that wall.

I'm pretty sure Courtney Summers is determined to knock it down.

Trauma isn't pretty. Its reactions aren't neat and tidy, able to be folded away when convenient. It often presents at the worst times, in the worst ways. It's a beast of a thing, able to cause horrific reactions that can be debilitating.

And, perhaps worst of all- it's ugly.

I can only imagine how uncomfortable some people must be at the honesty portrayed in All the Rage.

How downright “unlikeable” Romy might appear (though I quite like her a lot, myself). She's impulsive, and selfish, liable to snap your head off for seemingly no reason, with little ability to follow social cues or accept help that is right there in front of her so why won't she just take it?

That's how it looks when you see it from the protection of the wall.

But when you keep reading, get inside her head, and you are face to face with the monster that is PTSD, it looks a bit different. Selfishness is due to the desperate need to survive, impulsivity comes from a reckless place of not always caring if you make it to the next day. Emotions swing wildly from one extreme to the other, and often no one notices that you're halfway to hyperventilating because you got triggered ten minutes ago. Accepting help, even help that's right in front of you, doesn't even seem like a possibility when your brain is telling you that you don't deserve it, or when everyone seems dangerous.

Maybe Romy is unlikeable. Maybe that's because she doesn't much like herself. Maybe it's because girls don't have to be likeable to be relatable.

I've worked with dozens of girls who have experienced trauma- some with stories eerily close to Romy's. Their parents would often say to me, “When will she be better?” 

And in my head, this would translate to, “When can we go back to pretending this never happened?”

Trauma isn't comfortable. It's not something that settles well in your stomach, that lets you sleep easy at night. And books like this remind us of that. They shove it in your face- that our girls are out there and they're vulnerable, and hurt, and dying. Courtney Summers doesn't want you to be comfortable because nothing about this is comfortable.

Romy experiences things far too many girls do. And yet, people still try so very hard to ignore that we as a society have a problem with protecting our girls. It's too hard to look at the problem, so just push it away. Paint it up pretty, and we can all just pretend it never happened.

All the Rage is a vital book, not just for teenagers, but for everyone. Because the thing is, it may not be comfortable, or pretty, but it's happening every day. And we've got to stop looking the other way. We've got to stop waiting for things to just “get better” so we can go back to pretending it never happened.

And Romy Grey is one step in making that happen. -

Thank you so much Susanne for your thoughtful guest post!

Stop by tomorrow for a guest review of All the Rage!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Friday, April 17, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post by Emilie from Emilie's Book World

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to another day of ALL THE RAGE APRIL! Today, we have a guest post by Emilie from Emilie's Book World. In it, she talks about her angry feelings regarding how our society treats sexual assault and its victims. Without further ado...

When Ciara asked me if I wanted to be part of her All the Rage April feature, I said yes immediately even though I hadn’t read the book yet. I just have a lot to say when it comes to sexual assault. And having now read All the Rage, I have even more.

All the Rage pretty much embodies the way our society is making women and girls feel when it comes to sexual assault. In the book, Romy was raped. There is no doubt about it in her mind and in mine. But, when you ask the people in her small town, they have a different opinion. What they’ll tell you is that Romy wasn’t raped because she liked the guy who assaulted her, she even sent an e-mail to her best friend saying she dreamt about him. SO that makes what that guy did okay and gives everyone else the right to call Romy a slut or a whore.

In what world is that even close to okay? Could that attitude be even more messed up?

With All the Rage, Courtney Summers did a fantastic job showing how those attitudes can make the victims feel. The whole time I was reading, my heart was breaking for Romy and I wanted to yell at everyone who kept telling her she was lying about having been assaulted. And once I finished reading All the Rage, I wanted to give the book to everyone I know. Because maybe if enough people read it and realize how our society’s screwed up thinking is making all these girls feel, then maybe something might start to change.

At the end of the day, that’s what needs to happen. Society needs to start thinking differently about sexual assault. We need to stop telling girls that by dressing a certain way they can avoid being raped. That if they learn certain self-defense techniques they’ll be able to fight off a potential attacker. That when they behave a certain way, they’re inviting unwanted attention. Instead, we should be teaching people that rape is not okay, that sexual assault is not okay and that it just shouldn’t be done. Or we could even just stop making victims of sexual assault feel like they were asking for it because they wore a short skirt, they were alone at night in an unsafe area, or because they were dancing a certain way at a party. It doesn’t matter how it starts. The change just needs to happen somewhere.

I’m not idealistic or optimistic enough to think that a change like that is going to happen over night. But the way I see it, if enough people read All the Rage, and more books like it get written and read, something might finally start changing. - Emilie
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Emilie!

ALL THE RAGE APRIL is off tomorrow but we'll be back soon with more guest and discussion posts!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post by Kathy from A Glass of Wine

Hello, everyone!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! If you missed my Q&A with Courtney Summers yesterday, be sure to check it out! Today on the blog, we have a brave guest post from the wonderful Kathy from A Glass of Wine about finding your voice. 

I'm going to give a mild trigger warning for this one, just in case.

This is probably the most personal blog post I've ever written. I had debated not writing it. However, I feel that this book, and this topic is that important. It also helps that I am sharing it on someone else’s blog. 

Ciara is hosting a wonderful month long event to celebrate All The Rage by Courtney Summers. If you've read any of her novels before you know how important, and searing her novels are. She prompts the tough questions and leaves you thinking long after you've finished reading. All The Rage is no exception.

Reading All The Rage took me back to a time when I was younger and in school. I am deliberately going to be vague and not mention my exact age. A guy I had been casually ‘dating’ had gone some where quieter to talk and be alone together. We started to kiss and make out a bit. It quickly became evident that he wanted things to progress much faster and further than I was ready for. Despite my saying no he kept trying to push the issue. Kept trying to take this further. Murmuring reassurances and almost flat out saying that we had been dating long enough and that I was being a tease. Luckily it never escalated too far, as two guys walked in and heard me say no and asked the guy what his problem was. 

The thing that stayed with me after that night was how my voice didn’t seem to matter. My no meant nothing. This thought however, was not instantaneous.  Instead I placed the blame on myself. I never even considered reporting what happened because in my mind he never raped me so why report it. What had happened to me wasn't that bad, right? So why cause a scene. His stance that  I ‘teased’ him was in the back of my mind.  He had called me frigid and expressed that I needed to lighten up and even mentioned knowing that I wasn't a virgin so what was my problem. I thought it was MY issue because of his words.

It took me so long to realize what happened was technically an assault. Someone was touching me without my consent after I had expressed my wishes for it to stop. After I had said no. It took way longer than it should have for me to stop seeing it was my fault.

This is why All The Rage is important. Society silences girls. It tries to shift them blame on them. What were you wearing? Why did you go there? Were you drinking? These questions are meant to diminish and take away someone’s right to have their voice heard and supported.

Courtney Summers wants to empower and give back that voice. She wants to encourage girls to have each other's backs. Nothing is worse than a girl silencing another. We need to support and lift each other and All The Rage spotlights that.

As someone her struggled to find her own voice again (and is obviously still struggling to talk about what happened) I think it’s incredibly important and this novel is one EVERYONE should read - both guys and girls alike. - Kathy
Thank you so much Kathy for telling your story! I appreciate you lending your voice to this important subject.

Make sure to stop by tomorrow for another guest post!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Q&A with Author Courtney Summers

Hello, all!

We've had a bit of a break here for ALL THE RAGE APRIL but we're back with an extra special post! Today, I have a Q&A with Courtney Summers, author of All the Rage!! I am so dang excited!

Wanna hear a funny story about this? I actually asked Courtney to do a Q&A TWICE before this, but I got too nervous and never sent questions. Being the gracious and amazing person she is, Courtney, once again, agreed to do a Q&A for ALL THE RAGE APRIL and I actually sent questions this time. It was terrifying and nerve-wrecking (not gonna lie) but I did it. And now here they are! And without further ado:

Q&A with Author Courtney Summers

Lost at Midnight Reviews: It’s your fifth book release (well, six if you include What Goes Around)! What has been the most exciting part of the build-up this time around?
Courtney Summers: It's hard to believe I'm five books in! Wow. All the Rage was so difficult for me to write, more difficult than any of my other books--which is not to say my other books were easy to write, because they were difficult in their own ways--so just knowing it's going to be out there, that it's going to be read, has been the most exciting part of the build-up. I spent such a long time with it, and I'm so proud of it, that it's a really nice feeling to let it go and give it to readers.

LM: One of the things I’ve always admired about your novels is how realistic and honest the stories and characters are. Why do you think it’s so important to write novels that don’t sugar-coat realities girls face?
CS: Thank you so much. When you write, I think you have to be as honest as possible and you also have to be aware of what your work is adding to the larger conversation. I write about uncomfortable and difficult topics--from girl-bullying, suicide, depression, rape culture--and if I sugar-coated them to make it a more comfortable reading experience, I would undermine my work and much, much worse than that, I would be undermining the experiences of real girls. I want girls who are going through the things I write about to feel less alone--not lonelier. I think sugar-coating those kinds of topics would be at the expense of the reader. I never want to do that.

LM: All the Rage appears to have gone through some major changes since the rights announcement. What would you say was the hardest part of this story to capture?
CS: It really has changed! It's hard to think about earlier drafts because they were so different. I think really getting in Romy's head, into her hurt and her anger, was the hardest part. The earliest drafts really focused on plot more than the emotion, and I always do better when I'm focusing on a more emotions-based narrative. It was hard to get Romy to open up to me. Once I was able to capture who Romy was and what she was really feeling, things started falling into place.
LM: Another thing I loved about All the Rage was that Romy had a solid, imperfect support system in her mother and Todd. Why did you think it was important to include that in this novel?
CS: Thank you! I have to admit, I'm used to writing about girls who are determined to deal with just about everything they're going through on their own. Romy isn't different in that regard, but she is so incredibly isolated, far more than all my other protagaonists, that I knew I need to balance that out with some parental figures who were supportive and made that known to her as much as she needed to hear it. I also wanted to further drive home the social structure of Grebe. Alice and Todd  believe Romy whole-heartedly, and are there to help her, but even though they're adults, they're at the mercy of the same town politics and unfair power balance that Romy is.
LM: I have a lot of thoughts about the significance of the red nail polish (the English major in me went pretty overboard with the analysis)! What would you say is so important about the nail polish and lipstick for Romy?
CS: I'm glad to hear that! The nail polish and the lipstick are armour for Romy, but they're also one of the few ways she can control her own narrative. When she puts on the lipstick and nail polish, she is directing the way people look at her--if only for a moment. They see the red, before they see past it to her trauma. And if they are unaware of what happened, they don't see it at all. 
LM: I thought about wanting to hand this book out on street corners after I’d finished it! Is there any place you would like the hand All the Rage out to people?
CS: That is so kind of you to say! :) I don't have any specific places in mind--I just hope the book finds its readers, especially those who might need it. 
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog, Courtney!
You can find Courtney Summers on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram and visit her author website!
Readers! If you haven't picked up All the Rage yet you NEED TO! You're going to love it (and have your heart ripped to shreds by it). 
Also, if you missed the incredible, worldwide trending (!!!) #ToTheGirls campaign yesterday, check out the tag on Twitter. It's moving and inspiring and just incredible!
Stop by tomorrow for another fabulous guest post!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Friday, April 10, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post by Siobhan from Conversations of a Reading Addict

Hey, readers!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! Today on the blog, I have a lovely and moving post from Siobhan from Conversations of a Reading Addict about bullying and the power of books. As someone who was bullied as a kid, I really related to this post. I hope you guys will read it!

Courtney Summers is one of those authors that transcends genre. Although they are classified as contemporary, they reach more than just that audience. In this post today I wanted to share my personal experience with Courtney’s books and how they affected me.

Bullying is something that the characters in Courtney’s books and I have in common, I have always been overweight, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t. When I was small I never really noticed the difference between me and other kids, until one day someone pointed it out. I remember his name to this day. Kastrel. I took the school bus with him, I was in middle school at the time, and he would call me all kinds of names. One of his favourites was Titanic. His taunts were daily, and in front of everyone, including my friends. Some might say, why didn’t they help you? Well it’s more complicated than that, I never let it get to me. At least I tried. No one really knew how much those words affected me. Until one day it went too far. I was on the playground, minding my own business when Kastrel came up behind me, pushed me to the ground and sat on me, telling me that the Titanic needs to give him a ride. It is by far one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, which is probably why I still remember it to this day, almost 20 years later. It was at that point that I cracked and told my mother, she tried to get the school involved but they never did. So she told me to do something that I think all children should learn to do. Defend yourself, however you feel the most comfortable. So the next day when he came at me again, I did what my mother told me to do. I defended myself by punching him in the face. The school ultimately tried to suspend me, but my mother went all HELL NO on them and instead Kastrel got expelled.

Although I stood up for myself, and that in essence made me feel good, it left an everlasting scar on me. One that no one can see, even to this day. Every time I would look in the mirror, especially in high school, I would see the Titanic. This haunted me for years. It made me question everyone around me. I was jealous of friends hanging out without me, thinking they were talking about me behind my back.

And that lead to me losing my best friend for over a year. And it was when I read
Some Girls Are while I was in university, that I understood that maybe I wasn’t alone. And maybe what happened to me was something to give me strength. Some Girls Are changed my life. What I felt for Regina, was what I was feeling for myself. I hated the way I looked, I hated what others saw in me, and I hated that I did nothing to stop it. Bullying is a silent killer, something that hides in the shadows and gets to you when you least expect it. Like when all your friends have boyfriends in high school and you are the odd one out, and you know why. It was very hard for me. I wore baggy clothes, hid behind concert t-shirt and jeans. I wore black eyeliner and died my hair black, green, blue etc. I listened to heavy metal and screamo music. It was almost as if I was drowning out the girl inside. And that didn’t change until I reached university, and I was introduced to Courtney’s writing.

In university I found…well…me. I shed caution to the wind and decided fuck this shit, I am a big girl and I am going to own it. So I took away the makeup and the weird hair colors (I kept the music for a bit) and decided to try and find the real me. And wouldn’t you know it, it changed my life. I met new people, I was happier in general because I stopped caring. I was happy and that was enough. To this day I still struggle with my image, but I no longer see the Titanic in the mirror, I see Siobhan and I want to thank Courtney for showing me that I am not alone in this world. That we need to talk about these things because bullying and topics such as rape and abuse need to be taken as seriously as ever. Because the victims deserve to be treated with as much respect as anyone else. My story is not as severe as most. I do not claim to know their struggles, but I have had my own and they have shaped me into the woman I am now, and I am proud of her. She is strong, independent and sure of herself. Something I never thought I would be in my life. -
Siobhan from Conversations of a Reading Addict

Thank you, Siobhan, for your heartfelt post. I appreciate it so so much. 

ALL THE RAGE APRIL will be off for a few days! In the meantime, make sure to sign up for the #ToTheGirls Thunderclap

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post by Kim from Pingwing's Bookshelf

Hello, lovely blog readers!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! If this is your first time stopping by, check out the master list of posts from this month and catch-up on what you missed! Today we have our second guest post of the month, coming from a dear friend of mine (and fellow Ottawa Blogger!) Kim from Pingwing's Bookshelf. I love what Kim has to say here, and I hope you guys love it too.

After I finished reading All the Rage, I wanted to write something honest.

I’m honestly tired of women’s bodies being used against them. I’m tired of a woman’s personhood being ignored and being reduced to body parts. I’m tired of reading women’s stories, all heartfelt and some all-too familiar, only to have their experiences questioned, scrutinized, doubted, and discounted.

I’m tired of reading click-bait articles and their despicable comments. I’m honestly tired of reading the comments – ranging from hate-filled threats of bodily harm and death aimed at women, to less terrifying yet still infuriating trolling.

But I don’t stop reading. It could be so easy, too easy, to pretend that nothing outside of my own experience exists, and I don’t want to be wilfully blind. I am tired though of having a voice and being afraid to use it.

These are the things that were going through my mind as I read
All the Rage. There was so much about this book that resonated with me, e.g. Romy’s thoughts at times about not wanting a body, wishing she didn’t have one. I feel that way sometimes. Our bodies are so often not our own, and we see in this book how they are used against us.

I am a big fan of Courtney Summers’ books, but I know by now how intense they can be, how gritty and visceral, so I prepared myself going into this one.

In typical Courtney Summers fashion, this book’s honesty was heartbreaking. So much of All the Rage is too true and familiar. The portrayal of sexism, misogyny, rape culture, privilege, bullying, ‘mean girls’, and the wilful blindness and ignorance to these issues is infuriating and exhausting. This book’s portrayal of these issues had me nodding my head in recognition, and this recognition is heartbreaking. How can the things that happen in this book be real and true?

How can this be the lived experience for so many people? Why aren’t we all shocked and outraged? Why don’t we all care more?

And then the end - oh man, there's this thing at the end, at once so small yet so hugely representative of the problems in our society, that had me come as close as I ever have to throwing a book in anger and frustration. What makes it worse is that it comes after what I saw as a moment of hope, and then this thing that is so gut-wrenchingly accurate comes along and it just got to me.

I feel like this would have been a terrific book to read when I was in high school and discuss as a classroom full of teenagers. I mean, honestly, I want EVERYONE to read and discuss this book, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would have thought and said about this book and its ideas if I had read it as a teenager.

Part of what really stood out for me in this story is the way other girls participate in the bullying that Romy experiences. It was so real, and I wanted to reach into the book and shake these girls. It was enraging.

Tying everything together in 
All the Rage is the mystery of what happened to Romy the night of a big party, and what happened to her ex-friend Penny who, unlike Romy, never made it home after that night. I loved the mystery aspect of this book. It added an extra layer to the story that made for a gripping, tense read.

I love the way Courtney Summers writes. This may be, in my opinion, her best book yet. I am supremely biased in favour of her book
This is Not a Test, because there are zombies in it and I love zombie stories so much, but the way this book impacted me emotionally, the way I am still thinking about it so much after finishing it, the way I couldn’t put it down once I started reading, has me thinking that this could be my new favourite Courtney Summers book.

I absolutely recommend this book. It's a must-read for so many reasons! I wish I could make everyone read it and discuss it and recognize the importance of what the book is saying, because it shows that we are failing girls in so many ways.


Check out Courtney Summers' #ToTheGirls campaign and support it on April 14, 2015. You can participate by writing and sharing your own message on social media.

You can purchase All the Rage via the links below, and for the time being, you can pre-order and receive your choice of a previously-released book by Courtney Summers for free! More info here.
- Kim from Pingwing's Bookshelf

Thank you for your guest post, Kim! I really appreciate you lending your voice for this amazing novel.

Stop by tomorrow, lovely readers! We have another guest post coming your way!

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | The Book Depository 

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)