Title: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through 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.
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, Courtney Summers’ new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers is a dark and gritty young adult novel that needs to be on everyone’s reading list. It deals with difficult subject matter in such a realistic manner it is impossible not to feel the heartache and pain that Romy Grey is experiencing.
A dream date with the young man she has a crush on goes terribly wrong and a year later, Romy is still trying to come to terms with her horrible ordeal. No one believes her story and her classmates harass and bully her daily. Romy’s only solace is her job at a diner where no one knows about her past so Romy is absolutely furious when her ex-best friend Penny Young shows up one evening during her shift. Romy inexplicably follows Penny to the annual senior bash at the lake and the next morning, Romy is found on the side of the road with no memory of the previous night. Romy is stunned to learn that Penny has disappeared without a trace and once again, Romy feels the weight of her fellow students’ enmity as weeks pass with no new information about Penny’s disappearance.
It is impossible not to feel empathy for Romy as she wrestles with her shame and self-hatred while at the same time dealing with the taunts and bullying of her classmates day in and day out. She is incredibly isolated and lost as she tries to move forward without any help from anyone around her. This is partly her fault since she cannot bring herself to talk about what happened despite the fact her mother is genuinely concerned and worried about her. Her self-loathing escalates after Penny vanishes and Romy makes things worse when she begins making some very questionable decisions.
One of the bright spots in the story is Romy’s tentative romance with Leon, a young man from the diner. However, Romy is frightened by her feelings for him and she alternates between wanting the relationship while at the same time pushing Leon away. Poor Leon is incredibly confused by her conflicting behavior but he always respects her boundaries. One of the things that draws Romy to Leon is the fact that he knows nothing about her past and when he unwittingly steps in the middle of the drama, she reacts so badly that it does not seem possible that their relationship can survive.
While All the Rage is a riveting read, it is a little hard to follow at times. The time shifts are rather confusing and on the whole, the story feels a little disjointed. The middle part of the novel is a bit slow but the pacing picks up after Penny’s disappearance. The mystery aspect of the storyline is quite intriguing and Courtney Summers does an excellent job keeping the perpetrator’s identity hidden. The conclusion is satisfying although not all of the loose ends are wrapped up, but this makes the ending feel more realistic.
All in all, All the Rage is an honest and achingly poignant novel that I highly recommend to readers of all ages.