A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
All the Rage will launch a number of discussions, from dealing with clique politics to surviving rape. Parents and teachers may want to take the opportunity to discuss issues about sexual violence, "slut shaming," bullying, and violence against women.
Readers will learn the importance of believing girls and women who say they've been raped or assaulted and that it's wrong to shame them or assume that because they knew or liked or dated the person who assaulted them, they somehow were at fault. The book makes it clear how much support and help victims of sexual violence need and that people need to learn to be sensitive to those who say they've been assaulted.
Positive Role Models
Romy's mother and stepfather both love her and want to help, even though she shuts them out and refuses to tell them about her difficulties. Leon and Caro are a positive example of a loving brother-and-sister relationship, and Leon is patient and careful with Romy, even though she often lies to him. Romy is emotionally scarred and doesn't think anyone will be able to help her with her pain. She eventually realizes that others do mean her well and that it's OK to trust in those who love and care for you.
Violence & Scariness
In addition to flashbacks to the rape that led to Romy's isolation, she is frequently bullied, usually physically: being tripped in PE; being jostled, pushed, and shoved in the halls; and so on. She gets into a physical confrontation with a female bully, and both end up bleeding from scratches. Romy is drugged, and someone writes "Rape Me" on her body before leaving her on the side of the road. A girl goes missing and may be dead. Romy's nearly raped a second time.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A rape survivor has romantic and sexual feelings about a new guy, but she's not sure whether she can do anything physical with him. They kiss and make out, but any time things progress to under-the-shirt touching, she freezes or asks him to stop (he does). Locker room and bathroom gossip sessions include discussions of sex and sex acts. Male athletes make vulgar jokes about which girls want to "ride" their "dicks" and who wants to get "f---ed." Romy remembers thinking about desiring her attacker before he raped her, of wanting his hands on her.
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Frequent: "f--k" (as both a term for sex and an exclamation), "s--t," "whore," "pussy," "a--hole," "dick," "c--t," "bitch," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Cadillac Escalade, Ford Explorer, Pontiac, Chrysler New Yorker, Heineken.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage teens and adults drink, smoke cigarettes, and go to parties where the majority of folks get "wasted" and even do the drug GHB. A character gets drunk easily and vomits more than once.
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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.
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.
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.