Saturday, May 16, 2015

Teen review: Edgy fiction

All the Rage
by Courtney Summers
321 pages
Contemporary YA, not part of a series
Reading level: 10th grade and up

Reviewed by Patrick Castro, grade 11

All the Rage begins with Romy Grey, a fragile and vulnerable protagonist, who knows personally that the sheriff's son Kellan Turner isn't the boy he seems. Romy faces a band of bullies and is branded a liar, which only causes more stress. Her only safe haven is a diner where she works late shifts, which helps her to stay low. Summers kicks up the suspense when a girl goes missing after a party, and when news of Kellan assaulting a girl in another town gets out, Romy has to decide whether she will fight for the truth or feel responsible if more girls get hurt when she didn't speak up.

Hands down, this was one of Summers's best YA books to date: She has created a perfect yet flawed protagonist, with a message and also with perfectly woven suspense. I loved seeing Romy's growth in the novel and how she slowly starts to uncover what happened the night of the party. All the Rage is very much a character-driven novel and I think Romy was great for it.

Summers's writing was amazing in All The Rage. She wrote Romy's thoughts and emotions in such a simple, clean way that any reader could easily relate to what Romy was experiencing. In addition, the book had great suspenseful elements - for instance, when Romy was piecing together clues about who drugged her and wondering if she could open up to those close to her. Summers wrote a powerful piece of fiction here.

“He was planning to rape me -"
 "Why would he ever -"
"Because he knew he'd get away with it”

The message behind All The Rage is so accurate in today's culture, especially on issues of lying, bullying, and especially rape. These things are rarely talked about in schools or in real life, and I think they should be. The young generation needs to know the problems women face. It is real, it does happen, and Courtney Summers's depiction of a girl finding a way to break the silence of what happened to her is perfect. Everyone definitely needs to pick up All The Rage right now. It is such a poignant and mind-opening book, and will hit home for any reader. Easily one of my faves this year!

Editor's note: BPL doesn't own this book, but after Patrick's review, I will hasten to buy it! In the meantime, we do have three other titles this author has written.

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