Book Talk: All The Rage by Courtney Summers (Plus A Giveaway!)

Book Talk: All The Rage by Courtney Summers  (Plus A Giveaway!)All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Some Girls Are
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

When Romy is raped by the sheriff’s son and school’s golden boy nobody believes her. She loses all her friends and is a target for bullying and the community further brands her as trouble — as if she didn’t already have a hard time being the daughter of a notorious drunk. But then Penny, her old best friend and friend of the boy who raped her, goes missing the same night something happens to Romy that makes her unable to remember any of it. Romy is faced with speaking up about the things she knows that could help find Penny or keep silent because nobody will believe her anyways.

a2LADIES. I love you all. It’s not easy being female. Can we all have a big group hug out of mutual respect? So much more strength in empowering one another than tearing each other down (something the world already does).

a4This is my second Courtney Summers novel (the first one was Some Girls Are which is AMAZING) and I’m just going to need to read ALL of her books. I’m in awe of her ability to explore the female experience with such intricacy and depth. Her books are thought-provoking, smart and are pretty much books I want to hand to every teenager ever.

All the Rage was a fury of raw emotions and touched on a lot of important issues — victim-shaming, slut-shaming, rape and rape culture, etc. — without feeling like “HAI I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT ISSUES.” It’s bold and unapologetic. And important. SO IMPORTANT. I felt similar to how I felt when I read about Speak — like I just wanted this novel discussed by everyone everywhere. Like, let’s talk about this and how real it is and how we can change it and look at our own lives and the things we perpetuate.

3 things made this book really work for me:

1. THE EMOTIONS: You ever read a book and just feel like you have FIRE just running through your veins and you are about two seconds away from accidentally lighting the book in your hands on fire and everything around it? THIS WAS ME. How Romy was treated??? I WANT TO SCREAM JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. I felt so much anger and sadness at the same time which made me a hurricane of feels. Nobody believes that Romy was raped. Not even her best friend. The adults around her (minus her awesome mom and the mom’s boyfriend) are extremely shitty about it, too. The victim-blaming and shaming that goes on is hard to endure. They think she’s just the Girl Who Cried Rape and they won’t ever let her live that down. EVER. Especially because the precious popular boy gets sent away. So not only is she getting bullied but she has to live with the truth and the trauma of being raped. Everybody fails Romy in this situation and it is HEART-BREAKING. I just wanted to reach out and be like, “I believe you.” I felt how hopeless she feels. The gut-wrenching sorrow in her heart. The unbridled anger towards these people. I felt it all.

2. The mystery: In the present part of the storyline (it jumps around a little), something happens to Romy in which she ends up on the side of the road and has no idea how she got there or what happened leading up to that. She’s found but learns that Penny, her former best friend, is also missing. The two mysteries — where Penny could be and what happened to Romy that same night — and the question of their connectedness made this quite the page-turner.

3. All the important conversations this book can bring about: Sometimes I forget, because the book world especially that on Twitter, is ALWAYS having these conversations — about slut-shaming, victim-shaming, rape culture, feminism, etc — that it’s not the same for other circles I run in (and my Facebook minus the book people). Largely these issues are ignored. Because people don’t want to talk about them. People don’t know what to say. It makes me SICK to my stomach that what Romy goes through is a reality. Girls are raped. People don’t believe them. People tell them it was their fault because they were dressed a certain way or because they are “that kind of girl.”  Girls question whether they were raped because of the way society spins it — “but you liked him” “but you had sex with him before” “but you didn’t SAY no” “you were drunk” etc etc. We, as humans, need to have a discussion about rape and rape culture. It makes me want to protect my nieces (similar to how Romy wishes for a baby in the story to not be born a girl) from how harsh life can be for us ladies. All the Rage also made me so so shameful for my own past in high school and college with slut-shaming and judging and making other assumptions about other girls. We need to stick together. We don’t have to like or understand each other but we have to look out for each other. I could go on and on in more depth about the things this book tackles in a real and honest way.

If I’m honest I had two minor issues with All the Rage, but the importance of the story and what it made me feel, trumped those but they are worth noting. I don’t know WHY but I was having some troubles with the timeline (I don’t normally have issues with different timelines). I mean, I figured it out but it confused me some. The second thing was, that while I rooted for and loved Romy, I did have a hard time feeling like I KNEW her. We don’t see a whole lot of Romy before everything happens so I can’t get a sense for who she is. It makes sense in the context of the story because Romy kind of doesn’t know who she is anymore and WANTS that old girl back — but it *did* make it hard for me to feel like I knew who she was.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, plot, importance of content & the voice it gave, emotional connection
–  timeline issues, little bit of distance from who Romy was

Re-readability: It was a HARD read that took a lot out of me so it’s hard to tell right now.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I want to buy it for every person on this planet to read.

a5fans of contemporary YA, readers who don’t mind something a little grittier and “darker”, readers who want a great issues book without being an “issues book” (never felt for a moment like that), fans of Courtney Summer’s other books (same signature ability to write amazing females & explore the complexities), readers looking for a book like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

a8What an important book! It’s the kind of book that riles you up because its in-your-face truth and makes you want to change the world. It’s a tough read, no doubt, but I couldn’t put it down for the mystery and to know what would happen to Romy. Loved the sweet romance but was glad it didn’t overtake the story! Wish I could have a novella to see how things turned out for them!

review-on-post-itreview blog All the Rage by Courtney Summers

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

GIVEAWAY

 Thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin I have a copy of All the Rage to give to one of you! You must have a US/Canada mailing address to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers | Book Review

Some Girls Are By Courtney SummersBook Title/Author: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Publisher/Year
: 2010 St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Cracked Up To Be, This Is Not A Test, Fall For Anything,

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

Borrowed from a friend!

 

 

 

 

 

Regina is best friend’s with the most popular girl in school and the keystone of their group “the Fearsome Five.” They have the reputation for being super popular but also being really nasty and being capable of ruining people’s reputations without even blinking. A nasty rumor that isn’t at all true starts to circulate that pits Regina and Anna against each other and Regina finds herself being ignored and on the outs. Soon enough she finds herself the target of a major revenge plot and bullied relentlessly. Regina doesn’t find much pity in the rest of the student body, the same people she has terrorized, but begins to find a reluctant friend in a guy who had a hand in destroying socially. As she fights back against her old friends she also fights to be forgiven.

WOW. Courtney Summers, I will be reading all of your books. Some Girls Are was one of those most venomous mean girl stories I’ve ever read and made me want to dive into these pages and drop kick these girls. I love the “popular mean girl fall from grace” kind of stories for some reason (I just read Speechless by Hannah Harrington recently which was great) but this one was the most powerful, authentic feeling one yet. I read most of this while on vacation for 2 hours in the TUB because I couldn’t put it down long enough to get out. I kept having to blast hot water and I ended up looking like a pruny old lady but Courtney Summers pulls you in, friends. I never knew what was going to happen!

It was such an interesting experience to watch Regina fall from grace because you feel so conflicted. On the one hand, you can tell she is a mega biotch who has been a HUGE bully and so you kind of hate her from the start. But early on you have sympathy pangs for her because something terrible happens to her and it all gets twisted into an AWFUL rumor by someone in her group. But then you think, (about the rumor aspect… NOT about what happened to her), “pshh girl got what is coming to her with all HER nasty rumors she’s started.” But then as the bullying gets worse from everyone in school you feel for the girl. Having a heart…it’s a bitch sometimes! I can’t stand to see anyone get bullied and what happens to her is TERRIBLE and nobody deserves it. I felt really emotional and sick about it because it felt so real. I’ve never been bullied before but I’ve heard about terrible things and seen stories about kids being bullied to the point of suicide and it angers me. Courtney Summer made sure your heart would flip flop over whether to like/dislike Regina but you could agree she didn’t deserve THAT.

I loved the characterization and the arc of Regina. For these years her identity has hinged on being the second most popular girl in school…part of the Fearsome Five (what a lame-o name to call yourselves lol). That’s who she is. She’s done a lot of things to a lot of people and now starts to understand what it is like to be in their shoes. What I loved is that, even though I was pulling for her, she left a bad taste in my mouth a lot. She really did. Just because somebody becomes an outcast doesn’t mean they automatically change or stop THINKING the way the used to and I loved that Courtney Summers didn’t try to sugarcoat her for the sake of making her more “likeable.” I felt like the glimmers of goodness in her that I saw really came from somewhere that was buried and I was rooting for her to dust it off and BEGIN to see that she could be a better person. She had to endure a lot to learn things about herself and about how she wanted to live and I felt like that’s true of life a lot. We don’t learn things easy most of the time thus I don’t expect a character to suddenly be this different person when their circumstances change.

I also love that Regina didn’t have these characters who were, no questions asked, just NICE to her and felt bad for her. Sometimes I feel like there is always, in books, that ONE person who automatically scoops them up and is nice to them and that CHANGES THEM FOREVZ. It felt realistic that Michael and others would be skeptical of her and not so welcoming and she had to do a lot of the CHANGE herself and make amends for what she has done. I also thought it was really realistic that she DIDN’T tell anybody like her parents or a teacher. So often, teens feel like nobody will believe them or it will cause them to be ostracized even more for telling. Plus a lot of times people think it will go away if you endure enough.

Color me very, very impressed. Where have you been all of my YA reading life, Courtney? You gave me a plot that I couldn’t resist that delivered on so many levels. At the very height of the bullying I was appalled and ready to dive in and kick some mean girl butt with Regina even though she herself was not entirely forgiven in my mind. I had very intense and conflicting feelings towards Regina most of the time, Summer’s intent I’m sure, which was actually awesome because it’s a testament to that struggle we have in our head and our hearts where we feel conflicted about justice, compassion towards people who you feel don’t deserve it and second chances. Courtney Summers lets us grapple with that while reading the most page-turning, appalling story of mean girls and bullying. It was so addictive but I feel weird saying that because of the subject matter?

 

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers Book Review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think? Did you like it as much as I did? Did you like Regina and find her redeemable? What are some books you’ve read that deal with the “mean girl fall from grace” trope or bullying?

four-half-stars
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