Sometimes, I really hate Courtney Summers.
This is the third book of hers that I read. This is the third book of hers that hurt me.
I don’t know what it is, but there is something about a Courtney Summers book that makes you feel like watching a train wreck — knowing the inevitability of awful things to come but being powerless to stop any of it. This was how I felt while reading Some Girls Are. This was how I felt while reading Cracked Up To Be.
And now with All The Rage… I can’t decide whether to say it got better, or it got worse. Courtney’s talent definitely got better, with her undeniable ability to add a touch of humanity even to her most unlikeable characters, her talent of stringing words together that prevents a reader to turn away, even when the scenes unfolding on the page are just plain horrific. I wish I was immune from this magic touch of hers, but I’m not. And once again, I have ended up being viscerally affected by a Courtney Summers novel.
There is something terribly inconvenient about being a girl. And no, it’s not about having the parts that assigned us to this gender in the first place, although that’s not a small part of it. But mostly, it’s about how girlhood and womanhood are perceived by the world at large in this day and age. It’s about rape culture and slut shaming and victim blaming — all of which run rampant in a society struggling to correct itself, but failing, for the most part, to do so.
What is it like to be a survivor of rape? What is it like to be a survivor of rape in a community that refuses to accept the reality that something so awful can happen within the confines of their perfect, white picket fenced world? I said before that being a girl and a woman is difficult, but being a teenage girl is a hundred times more so. Especially in a world that is so eager to dismiss and silence young girls, a world that refuses to take a teenage girl’s cry seriously.
This novel is about the cost of telling the truth when you’re a young girl. This novel is about how hard it is to make society see a wrong, when it is a wrong they are willing to justify. This novel is about the price it takes before someone finally recognizes the truth they’ve been running from.
All The Rage is one of those books that will leave you speechless right after you finish it. It’s one of those books that makes you pray. I’ve been praying for someone to save Romy Grey, all the while acknowledging the fact that it’s not that easy. No knight in shining armor can take away the magnitude of what happened to her, not even her mother can help. Sometimes terrible things happen to people and it begins to define them, whether they want it to or not. It doesn’t help when people around you make it harder to forget it, make it all the more difficult to forgive yourself because they make it YOUR fault instead of the perpetrator, because it’s easier to believe that someone is lying, than to believe that someone you’ve known your whole life can do something so awful… like rape a girl.
Everything’s out of her hands now. All the things coming Ava’s way they won’t be able to control, things she won’t always ask for because she’s a girl. She doesn’t even know how hard it’s going to be yet, but she will, because all girls find out.
I think it’s a good thing someone decided to write about this, because no one talks about it enough. No one talks enough about how, until now, we blame girls for the awful things that happen to them. No one talks enough about the fact that it’s hard to be a girl, so hard that many of us have come to resent our body, to wish we didn’t have all these parts at all. We are being deconstructed until we are nothing but our body parts, and it is not a good feeling. Because we are so much more than that. And this book? This book makes sure that we are reminded of it.
The only thing I can complain about is how open-ended this book is. I hate the fact that there’s no after. I hate not knowing what happened to a character I’ve grown to care so much about, because even though I’ve never been in the same situations as her, I can identify with her. Because I am a girl.
Needless to say, this book hit me hard, like all the other books of Courtney Summers that I’ve read, but somehow, a little harder than the rest. Right now, in YA, Summers continues to be the only author who’s portrayal of high school and teen girl politics remain unparalleled. I think it would be safe to say that I am willing to read every book that CS would push out in the future, because she is just that good.
I recommend this book to everyone looking for a worthwhile read. As for ratings? No question. Five coconuts.