“About a girl. Don’t look at her.”
“Still the same day. It’s not done with me yet.”
These are some of the words that frame the powerful and thoughtful landscape that author Courtney Summers created in her amazing book All the Rage.
All the Rage tells the story of Romy Grey, a young girl trying to navigate the cruel waters of her life when her self-doubt is fed by the tragic events she experiences in her small town of Grebe. Romy is viewed as an outcast; she is the unwelcome stain in a society hellbent on undermining, distrusting and demeaning her. As a result, she prefers to live her life as a “lost” girl seeking solace (and questioning her desire for romance) in her job as a waitress in a diner removed from the town that shuns her. In this environment, Romy can blend into the crowd and disappear from her heartache. That is until tragedy collides into the quiet anonymity of her diner life.
All the Rage threads well-drawn characters within the fabric of a plot rich in the far-reaching rape culture, class bias and bullying. The book goes beyond a feuding “haves” and “have-nots” for a look into the volatile behavior of teen tormentors. The sheriff of Grebe perpetuates the undercurrent of hatred towards Romy. In many ways, Romy battles an intense internal war along with her external struggles: she feels unworthy. She is a lost girl not wishing to be found.
In the end, All the Rage does not seek to comfort readers by wrapping its plots in a neat package of optimism. Rather, the challenge set forth in this book seems to be to open a dialogue about the pervasive rape culture and the environment of bullying. It is an unpleasant, yet necessary conversation.
I applaud Courtney Summers for a well-written, poignant and thoughtful book that should leave an indelible imprint on the minds and hearts of its readers.