All My Rage
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Beautiful, heartbreaking story of love, loss, and abuse.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The book teaches about Pakistani and Islamic cultural and religious traditions, including cuisine, ceremonies, and historical events, and Muslim laws. Words in Urdu and Hindi are either translated or easy to understand because of context clues. The story depicts the symptoms of substance and domestic abuse as well as the lingering effects of sexual abuse.
The book promotes compassion, empathy, and perseverance. It encourages honesty, forgiveness, redemption, as well as owning up to your mistakes and facing the consequences with integrity. The story also focuses on identity and being true to yourself, honoring your parents and elders but acknowledging when they've wronged you, and understanding that children can't be at fault for what adults do to them.
Positive Role Models
Although they are both flawed, Sal and Noor end up role models for their ability to persevere, to tell the truth, to ask for help and forgiveness, and to also forgive others.
The book depicts two Muslim Pakistani American teens and their families. Their families aren't portrayed stereotypically, and readers see how Muslim teens navigate their faith and community as well as difficult circumstances.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Repetitive discussion of an earthquake in Pakistan that killed everyone in Noor's extended family except her. Spoiler: domestic abuse is hinted at and then overtly revealed throughout the novel, as a man beats a young woman whenever he's upset. She uses make-up to cover her bruises. Repressed sexual abuse is also revealed as the explanation for why a character can't stand to be touched.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of a few kisses. A make-out scene that stops at kissing and caressing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Strong language: "f--k," "s--t," "s--thead," "bitch," "a--hole," "d--k," etc. Racial slurs: "raghead," "Apu," etc.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Snickers bar, Old Crow, and other convenience store snacks mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters smoke and drink -- Sal's father is an alcoholic and is often described as drinking or obviously drunk. Characters deal and use drugs. One young woman overdoses (but survives). A dying (and later dead) woman's prescription drugs are mentioned. Noor works in her uncle's liquor shop.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that All My Rage is a work of realistic fiction by best-selling fantasy novelist Sabaa Tahir (Ember in the Ashes) that won the 2022 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. It's about two Muslim Pakistani American teens living in a small California desert town. The story is told in three points of view: between 18-year-old former best friends Salahudin and Noor, as well as chapters in flashback from Sal's late mother Misbah. The book explores mature content -- substance abuse (drugs/alcohol) and dealing, domestic violence/abuse, sexual violence, a drug overdose, and parental death. The main characters have dealt with prejudice, racism, bullying, and a host of family difficulties. There's a fair bit of strong language ("f--k," "bitch," "dick," Muslim slurs like "raghead," "Apu," and more). There's no sex (just some kissing and one make-out scene) but several disturbing scenes involving ill/hospitalized/dying characters or violence, including vivid descriptions of an earthquake that kills a character's entire immediate family. The story could prompt plenty of conversations about a variety of topics, from Islamophobia and drug laws to the cultural reasons certain communities are drawn to certain retail jobs and the resources available for those experiencing family crises. This is a particularly thought-provoking pick for a parent-teen or school book club.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
Report this review
What's the Story?
ALL MY RAGE takes place in the small California desert town of Juniper, where 18-year-old high-school seniors Noor and Salahudin (Sal) are two of the only Muslim teens. Former best friends until a big fight left them unable to even speak to each other for six months, the two reunite after the death of Sal's mother Misbah, whom Noor considers an auntie. Both are working-class Pakistani American students: Sal's family runs a small motel inn, and Noor's uncle (her only surviving relative) owns a liquor store. Both have serious issues at home: Sal's father is kind but an alcoholic, worse now that Sal's mom has died, and Noor's young uncle resents that he had to give up his college dreams to raise Noor after an earthquake left them both the only living members of their family. Noor has secretly applied to college, despite her uncle's insistence that she, now 18, will take over the liquor shop while he goes to college. Sal is desperate to save his mother's beloved roadside inn from bankruptcy, even though it means making money in shady ways. Told in alternating points of view between Sal and Noor as well as a third perspective -- Misbah, Sal's late mother.
Is It Any Good?
This is a devastating, thought-provoking, and moving story of grief, loss, first love, and prejudice in a small town. Sabaa Tahir is best known as the best-selling author of the Ember in the Ashes series, but here she will wow readers with her gorgeous contemporary fiction writing, her creation of a realistic setting, characters, and personal challenges. Noor and Sal's story (individually and together) can be difficult to get through, because they are each dealing with nightmarish homelives filled with tragedy and fear. But the story is also about Salahudin and Noor's unbreakable (shakeable, yes, but not severable) bond. They are more than friends -- not simply because of the simmering romantic longing they feel for each other, but also because of their shared sense of otherness; their sense of grief over Sal's beloved mom/Noor's Misbah Auntie; their complementary academic interests (he thrives in English language arts, she's a star STEM student); and their different but integral relationships with their faith community.
Sometimes when an acclaimed writer switches genres, readers have reason to be wary, but in this case Tahir does a fabulous job mastering realistic contemporary YA fiction, which can be even harder than crafting fantasy worlds. Pop culture references, particularly music, play a large role in the story -- with Noor always listening to custom playlists that reflect her mood or cause nostalgia. The romance doesn't fit the typical friends-to-more trajectory, because both Noor and Sal live with serious mental health and family issues, and they already kissed once before the events of the book start. The love story is beautiful but alternately messy and agonizing. Readers should keep faith, though, because as with Elias and Laia, Tahir knows how to honor true love.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how abuse (domestic and substance) are portrayed in All My Rage?
How do you think the challenges Salahudin's and Noor's families face compare with those faced by other immigrant families?
Do you think Muslims in the United States face the kind of prejudice explored in the novel?
Are there any characters in the book you consider role models? What character strengths do they display?
- Author: Sabaa Tahir
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Empathy, Integrity, Perseverance
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Razorbill
- Publication date: March 1, 2022
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Awards: ALA Best and Notable Books, Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: January 30, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Teen Books Trending on #BookTok
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate