Monday, July 13, 2015

Guest Review: All The Rage by Courtney Summers

Title: All The Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Publication Date: April 14th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: From the publisher
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: 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?
“I don't believe in forgiveness. I think if you hurt someone, it becomes part of you both. Each of you just has to live with it and the person you hurt gets to decide if they want to give you the chance to do it again. If they do and you're a good person, you won't make the same mistakes. Just whole new ones.”
This review is from my friend, Sara, who also wrote a review on Looking for Alaska, earlier this summer. I also have reviewed All The Rage which you can find here. Sara has very different book tastes than me so I always enjoy her take on books that I really enjoyed! So here is Sara's review:

This book was not a page-turner. It did not have to be. It is not the type of book you should read in one sitting. The complex issues dealt with are so important that it should not just be another book. Upon reading the synopsis, I immediately made the connection to the book Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, a book I had read in high school. There is an issue with the fact that the only other book that comes to mind that deals with this topic in the same way is 16 years old. Society has changed. Social networks create a whole new arena for public shaming that did not exist 16 years ago.

This is why All The Rage is so important. Courtney Summers not only deals with the serious issue of rape, but also does so in a way that covers all aspects of the struggle, both internal and external, in today’s society. She highlights the harsh reality of the culture that surrounds victims of rape. My hope for this book is that it reminds people that rape is not a light issue; it is a real issue that is still associated with shaming of women instead of standing up for them, and it needs to change. For girls who are victims, this book may come as a sort of haven, of someone else experiencing what they may be going through.

From a writing standpoint, it will be remembered for its message. It is an easy read, which is good for a younger preteen audience. Summers does a decent job of giving the main character, Romy, relatable qualities that are realistic. Romy is not your picture perfect hero, she is scarred and it affects her actions. No event in this story was implausible in today’s society. For as good as the main character development was, the supporting characters lacked a bit, with the exception of Leon, the love interest, who got more character development than the characters surrounding the event that drove the second half of the book.

The event, which breaks the timeline up between the before and after, almost felt forced as another example of how much of an issue rape is in young society. It could have been done better. It was too much of the story with too little information. There was not enough background on the other characters for me to build up a real sense of whether I liked them or not. I felt more connection with her coworkers at the diner who had nothing at all to do with the event than I did with her classmates. They were all just self-obsessed teenagers with which Romy used to be friends with, but you do not really get a true sense of how close they were, or really any flashback to before her rape other than a sentence or two here or there. I do not even have a sense of who Romy was before it happened other than “I’m not her anymore”. If you are going to cover the struggles after, I feel it is important to have something to compare to the after, like a before, rather than just getting her side of the story on the after.

The most important part, the actual description of what happened when she was raped, was amply placed and powerful, as it should have been. So kudos to Summers for that. This book is an important read for any young teen in today’s society, mostly because it is the only book I can think of in recent times that deals with this issue, for that it gets an extra half star from me. Maybe if we start talking about rape more, more would be done to prevent it, as well as providing a platform for which girls can freely come forward and admit what has happened to them without being shamed and shunned.

*Sara received a copy of this book from the publisher through a giveaway* 

So there you have another take on this great book by Courtney Summers. Let us know your thoughts on the book in the comments!

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