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All the Rage by Courtney Summers - Review.

All the Rage - Courtney Summers

Publication Date: April 14th 2015 from St Martins Griffin

 

Source: Netgalley

 

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. 

 

This is actually an extraordinarily difficult book for me to review. I think everyone should read it. But reviews tend to give you an idea of  whether you will "like" a book or not and in the case of "All The Rage" it is less about whether or not you will like it and much much more about how it will make you feel. I'm not backwards in coming forwards about saying what a huge fan of Courtney Summers I am when it comes to emotionally resonant, authentic and hard hitting young adult fiction -  with this one she has  taken a huge real life  issue and given it voice and form in the character of Romy - taking huge leaps in writing stature, beautiful prose and absolutely stunning imagery, it is quite possibly her best novel yet.

 

This one is all about the girl behind the mask. When we meet Romy, she is getting through the days. It is obvious from the outset that something horrific happened to her - that this has had far reaching consequences both for her and those around her - how she copes, her thought processes, her actions and reactions begin to reveal a dark tale of the hidden layers beneath a seemingly decent community and how money and influence can stomp all over the very basic concepts of right and wrong.

 

Again very difficult to put into words the emotional impact this story has. I went from tears to absolute outrage more times than I can count while I was following Romy's tale, so strongly did I relate to what she was going through - Ms Summers has put you right inside the head of a damaged soul who is struggling to find some sense of herself again. Almost impossible when she is isolated, treated horribly by her peer group and shown a casual indifference by those adults in authority who are supposed to protect her. It is almost impossible to believe that this sort of thing happens, but we all know it does, this makes it all the more hard hitting and oh so scary.

 

There is some light here - it is not all doom and gloom, Romy's relationship with her Mother and "Stepfather" is beautifully drawn and so utterly compelling...they want to help her, but face a lot of the same problems she does in trying to do so. Plus of course Romy's inability to actually articulate her inner thoughts and put into words the actual facts of the matter lead to more misunderstandings and grey area's. As Romy starts to form new relationships and tries to make sense of the old ones it is elegantly flowing and absolutely addictive.

 

When things are brought to a  head Romy has some tough decisions to make. There is a mystery element to the narrative, just as authentically drawn, leading back to the central theme and giving it a focus - so well constructed to draw you in and, frankly, make you MAD AS HELL that this is happening. Really I went through an entire emotional range during the story and by the end I was a weeping heap on the floor. Clever  and utterly utterly real.

 

The ending will floor you. Courtney Summers does not pull punches, in this story, this is not a tale that is meant to ultimately take the edges off a harsh and horrific issue but more, and rightly so, to throw it at you, make you SEE it and admit it is there.  You can't hide, you can't sweep it under the rug, Romy is the living embodiment of what happens more often than we as a society would care to admit.

 

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?

 

This is exactly what the author has done. I seriously cannot recommend this highly enough. Everyone should read it, young and old alike, whether you are a man or a woman. You may not "like" it but it will make you feel. What, exactly, I cannot tell you.  Beautiful, authentic, frightening and oh so important, especially for our world today, it is one of those books that I will be forcing upon everyone. Look out!

 

Possibly not so "Happy" Reading folks - but read it you must.