All the Rage, by Courtney Summers
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (April 14, 2015)
Amazon Book Description: The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won’t now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.
Reading Sara Review: Whoa. This book is heavy. Not literally. But seriously heavy in context. This is the story that we read too often in the news, hear about more than we should – young girls being taken advantage of, not believed when they tell the truth, the boys getting away with their crimes because of who their parents are or how they were raised. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START BELIEVING THESE GIRLS?? WHY IS IT SO HARD?
Sorry. Had to get that out. This is a work of fiction, so I will try not to get too fired up. It’s an important young adult book, because I hope that it teaches teenagers empathy to each other. I hope it teaches parents to love unconditionally, even when the kids do not seem to want it. I hope it helps girls stop bullying each other.
The girl to girl bullying that occurs today (and when I was in middle school) is horrible. I was bullied in middle school by a group of girls – I could not even tell you anymore what the situation was, why they didn’t like me, and it honestly doesn’t matter. I remember getting a horrible note in my locker once (I do not still have the note, and even if I did, I would not need to share the more colorful pieces of it). I showed it to my parents when I got home that day. They supported me. They took that note to the school. And the bullying (at least via mean notes) stopped eventually – yes, I got teased more for showing it to my parents, but eventually it died down. Eventually I made different friends that I could trust. Then high school came, and it was better. Then college came, and it was even better. And then life after college came, and it is amazing. 20 years later, I still remember how hurtful and awful that note was. But I also know that girls can just be mean. I can’t even imagine today with social media what these kids go through, I luckily had a note that I could throw away, and had parents that I could trust and would listen to me and be on my side.
I do feel like I need to admit here that there are things I did as an adolescent that I sincerely regret and think about often. Bullying was not necessarily a term used when I was that age, like it is now. But I am sure some of the things that I did were out of anger and confusion – and I regret that I hurt other people and there are many moments I think back to often and would do anything to take back. I don’t know if the girl who wrote me that letter remembers it at all, or regrets it, but I think that forgiveness and letting go, and learning from those mistakes, is the best that we can do. And we can hopefully teach our daughters and the next generation ways that will make them better to each other. Girls need friends that they can trust.
Back to this book – this is a well told story of a girl who was not believed by her peers or her community. The writing is lovely. There is some mystery, and the book jumps around a little, so stick with it, you will understand soon. Romy, our protagonist, built up her own armor through lipstick, nail polish, and trying to become invisible. Romy is too young to deal with these big issues – the loss of friends over boys, the bullying and the secrets that she has to hold so close to her chest. Romy is strong though, she has been through a lifetime already, and she sees things that others might miss because of that. She forgives when it is time – and in the end, she makes a big decision to be strong and help others.
This book is not an easy book to read, because it deals with things that I hate thinking about – hate knowing that these things occur in our society. But until we start believing these girls (women too), we need to talk about it and find ways to help girls stay safe and know that they will be heard. Being a girl is tough, people, lets love each other even more every day.