A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Courtney Summers' All the Rage is a serious-issues book about a young woman who's a social outcast in her small town a year after accusing the sheriff's son of date rape. Mature teen readers (and adults) may find the heavy themes in the book difficult to process, but it's a powerful way to discuss rape and sexual abuse with teens who might otherwise think the issue doesn't affect them. There are disturbing scenes of sexual violence, self-harm, bullying, and cruelty. Very few people in the main character's life believe her, and she regularly suffers from harassment (both at the hands of other students and the town sheriff, father of the rapist). Language is frequently strong ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "whore," and so on), and there are a few kissing scenes and discussions of sex. Despite the intensely painful subject matter, All the Rage is a memorable addition to the list of young adult novels about sexual abuse.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In ALL THE RAGE, senior Romy Grey has spent a year as the social pariah of Grebe High School. After being date-raped by the local golden boy Kellan Turner (son of the small town's sheriff and its biggest CEO), she told people but was pressured not to file charges. Her accusation cost her everything, and a year later she's basically invisible except for the coat of blood-red lipstick and nail polish she wears every single day. The only bright spot in her life is her waitress job at a diner outside of town, the one place nobody knows about her past and where the handsome young cook looks at her with interest, not anger or disgust. Just as Romy begins to open herself up to the possibility of romance, a former friend goes missing, triggering Romy's thoughts about everything that's happened to her.
Is it any good?
Author Courtney Summers' unflinching look at the horror of not being believed after a rape is difficult to read. All the more so because Summers doesn't pander to readers by making Romy's violent encounter a run-in with a masked stranger. No, her attacker is the Big Man on Campus, a guy she openly liked and desired.
Romy's story arc doesn't come with pat solutions to the anxiety, isolation, and outright cruelty she has faced in the aftermath of accusing her rapist. Although she starts to fall for Leon, a 19-year-old graphic designer and part-time diner cook who does stop touching her when she asks him to, Romy struggles to overcome the shame she feels about her body. Terrible things happen to and around her; she isn't a senior with hopes of a good college and a vision for a sunny future. Nonetheless, Summers makes you ache for Romy's nearly perpetual sadness and cheer for her to find happiness and healing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of "issues" books and why they're helpful for teens to read, even if they've never dealt with those issues.
Why does the protagonist feel sorry for baby girls? Why does she think it would be better for someone to be dead than to be raped?
Discuss the relationship Romy has with her body. Is it healthy? How could she have been helped more? Why did she keep so much secret instead of telling the truth or asking for support?
- Author: Courtney Summers
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
- Publication date: April 14, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 321
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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