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Book Review – All the Rage

She’s agonized over this night, agonized over every second of getting ready, like the perfect combination of clothes and makeup will unlock the secrets of the universe.

This book started on such a high note for me and, slowly, agonizingly slowly, it bled out into the void.

All the Rage follows the unpopular Romy Grey, who rose to and inevitably fell from grace after accusing the sheriff’s son of rape. Nobody wants to believe the girl from the wrong side of town, even if she’s telling the truth. Not even when the town’s golden girl goes missing.

I’m going to cut right to the chase–I didn’t like this book.

I think the author tackled rape with a finesse not a lot of us have–she got the frustration of it down to a science. The feeling of losing control. As a reader, watching Romy struggle, you just want to shake her and tell her it’s going to be okay, but of course, how could I be so naive? How could I tell someone who’s been through something unspeakable it’s going to be okay? I can’t, and I think that was the big thing about this book that I both liked and didn’t like.

It’s the kind of night that’s slow and impatient.

It was the kind of book that required a reader that was slow and patient. I couldn’t stand the pacing. It felt really off to me the entire time. The biggest complaint I have in regards to the plot and the way it moved was that it lacked the villain the back flap description was not shy in mentioning–Kellan Turner.

He rapes Romy, that’s where the story begins, and you expect to have this big showdown, this moment where finally, he’s held accountable, just as the back flap said, but it never happens. Kellan Turner is but a mere blip in the larger picture of this book. The ending was a big, sort of WTF moment for me. Like, what sky did this random turn of events fall out of?

Don’t get me wrong–this book had some really strong moments. Some really great themes. Some really powerful messages. And interweaving the weather with the storyline was a great way to show just how split open and wrong everything feels when you’ve been violated, broken apart without permission, left to patch yourself up and push yourself forward with no reason to persist.

I glance down the ditch, at all the overgrown grass and garbage in it, and think of my classmates searching for [retracted name] and I think as long as no one finds her, she gets to be alive.

That’s the thought that breaks the sky.

It’s like the rain has been up there, accumulating for ages, getting heavier, too heavy, and now it’s all coming down at once. It drenches me, plastering my hair to my face and my clothes to my skin.

Of course, when battling this kind of subject matter, invoking emotion is inevitable. I just didn’t feel we went far enough into the subject. For a book about rape, it didn’t really talk all that much about it. And I get it–this is the aftermath. This isn’t the story of the rape, this is the story of what life is after the rape. And it’s hard. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun to read. It shouldn’t be. But I didn’t feel like there was enough to keep me engaged. I wanted to feel like in some ways the main character was discovering the meaning of life again–to me, she continued on in the same arc nearly the entire time, with little to no showdowns to grant her the voice I hoped she’d find.

Touching me without permission. There should be a death penalty for that. 

His voice. His voice is all over me. I want to rip it off my skin.

I’m not saying in any way, shape, or form, this isn’t a good novel. It is. It’s strong. It can stand on its own two feet. And I would bet, especially for rape survivors, this novel feels like a breath of fresh air.

I don’t feel right judging it, because I’ve never felt violation like this. I’ve felt small moments of it, but not enough to understand the fullness of the tragedy. My heart broke for this girl. It broke and it broke and it broke, and I wanted to scream at her to be stronger, to let this person in, to not follow that path, but she never listened, and I suppose that’s no fault of hers, it’s the fault of her demons, the demons put inside her against her will. And I hate myself for being so hard on her, because that’s a huge theme in this novel–that NOBODY understands.

Helen Turner hates me and the way Helen Turner hates me feels like the worst kind of betrayal. A woman who doesn’t think about daughters she doesn’t have.

She murmurs, beautiful, she’s so beautiful and it makes me feel like the level of tragedy here is directly proportionate to [retracted name’s] looks.

There’s a pink camo pattern. I’m sure it’s the perfect knife for some girl out there, but I wonder what, if any, kind of sincerity the manufacturer made it with. If they were thinking of that girl, or if they just thought it was a joke.

Maybe they don’t know how easily a girl could make this knife serious.

So here’s what I will say. Despite the frustration of it, this novel is something I imagine will be loved by some and hated by others. I’m not going to take a stance and pick one side. For me, it didn’t swing me so far in either direction I could bold-faced tell you to skip over it. This book might change your life. It might. It has that power.



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