Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ARC from 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, 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?
Wow. Just wow. I knew going into this that I would be faced with incredible prose and an engaging story, but I definitely did not expect this much.
Romy Grey feels like she would be better of if she were dead. She feels like inside her body, there are two girls – the girl before and the girl after. She wishes she would just be able to get rid of her body, get rid of everything that reminds her of what happened with Kellan Turner, the son of the town sheriff. Every fibre of her being reminds her of what happened and her body and her mind do not let her to forget. But though Romy remembers it all, vividly, to the last detail, the group of kids she used to call her friends how torment her, bully her, call her a liar. How dare she blame the golden boy of the town? Who does she think she is?
After a yearly party, a tradition of the graduating high school class, a girl goes missing. Romy has an idea of what might have happened to her, but she knows that if she goes out now and tells what she knows, no one will believe her. Everyone thinks she is a liar already, and the information she would just add fuel to the bullies, to the people who think that she's to blame.
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of a book such as this. All the Rage is not the first book I have read about sexual violence, but it certainly is the most honest, harrowing account of the topic I've come across to. The way Summers writes about Romy and the people around her made me really think about the way our culture often deals with sexual violence and the things especially girls have to deal with. Yes, there is sexual violence towards boys and men as well, but too often, it seems like girls are the victims. And unfortunately in many cases the people who hurt them are not punished. In too many cases, our society blames the girls, tells people that they were asking for it, tells the girls that the way they dress or the way they act around men justifies such actions. Way too often, there are situations in which young men go on with their lives without consequences despite their actions, just because they seem like “such promising boys” with great futures ahead of them. Our society blames the communities in which such things happen, they blame alcohol, they blame the girl. Why is it that the blame is not placed on the violent individual? Why does the society still often protect the one who has been violent, arguing that what has happened was just a fluke, caused by some exterior force and forget the one who has been hurt, the one who is supposed to keep going with her life despite the scars, both physical and mental?
The suffering and torment Romy goes through feels so real and so wrong. Summers's prose, beautiful, honest and lyrical, engaged with me from page one and it was impossible to put this book down. This book made me feel angry, sad, hopeful, hurt, indiscriminated. It made me re-realize all the difficulties girls and women might have to face. It made me angry about the fact that our society still does not seem to know how to protect girls, how to make them feel safe. But it also made me feel hopeful about the fact that there are good people out there, good guys who are not in this world just to hurt us, guys who want to protect us and make us feel like we are worth it as individuals. Romy and her story will stay with me, in my mind, for a long time.