In this small town, you don’t accuse the sheriff’s son of rape. But that’s just what he did to Romy Grey. No one believes her. Her accusation becomes the stick her former friends use to beat her. There’s only one place Romy can go to find peace. At the restaurant on the edge of town, no one knows Romy’s past. Handsome grill cook Leo likes her. Really likes her.
But when those two parts of her life collide and a girl goes missing, Romy has nowhere to hide anymore. She finds herself cornered and terrified by a town that wishes she were gone instead of the beautiful missing girl. As pieces of a night Romy can’t remember begin to fall into place, she learns another brutal truth. A truth she can’t keep quiet any longer.
To many contemporary YA readers, this isn’t an unfamiliar story: girl gets raped; town crucifies her for telling the truth. It’s been told before. What makes All the Rage so powerful and fresh is Summers’ intense, evocative writing.
Romy’s situation ultimately places a larger burden on the town and forces them to confront their own fears. At the beginning of the story, no one wants to cross the sheriff. Not even Romy’s own mother. But the illusion that this is a sustainable way of life is dismantled brick by brick as the story unfolds and the cost of turning a blind eye rises to terrible heights.
It definitely brings to mind the famous quote by Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Extreme profanity and some crude language, infrequent use.
Romy remembers being raped. It’s pretty raw. There are some descriptions of the physical event but what’s more center-stage and so powerful about Summers’ writing is always the emotional impact on the character.
There are some explicit sexual comments made at Romy or in her presence.
Later, Romy has an opportunity for a relationship with a boy who’s kind to her. We see her trying to process her past through this new relationship. There are some explicit details about her encounters with him. He respects her and is often confused by her mixed signals.
In the locker room, girls bully Romy. She has a lot of shame about her body, and the girls pick on her pretty relentlessly. A boy trips her while she’s running. Students steal her underwear and use them in a prank. The physical bullying is bad, but it’s the constant emotional bullying that’s truly awful.
Romy gets very drunk at a party and is later raped. High school seniors have a party by the lake, and everyone knows drinking and sex are a huge part of what goes on there. Adults turn a blind eye with the mentality that it’s a rite of passage and shouldn’t be stopped. (They’ll have a reality check on this later.)