There's no way to explain the honesty, and brutality of this book. I usually gravitate towards books that I can relate to. I didn't expect this book to cover every emotion though. I am going to tell you that I am one of the survivors. As I'm sure a lot of you are. I felt I needed to share that in order for this review to mean more.
Survivor..That's a big word. Sometimes it doesn't feel true though. How do you know if you survived? You may be alive, but wearing a mask can only get you so far. That is what I love about this book though. Romy told them what happened to her. When they didn't believe her, she brushed off the dirt, and shielded herself behind perfect nail polish and half smiles. What else could she do in such a small town?
Now the part of this book that I was hesitant about was Penny. The girl who goes missing. I started this book thinking it was going to be an inspiring novel of a girl to pursues healing. What I got was so much better. Penny going missing (though awful), is what makes everything tie together. I kept racking my brain trying to think of why something would happen to her? When I finally understood, I was left in tears.
"You traded your life for a girl who was already dead and I'm sorry you gave up everything for her."
Leon. Ever since what happened to me, I can't trust boys. I can't be around them. I don't want to be touched. So Leon. though he was being sweet, had me thinking "Oh here we go, she's gonna fall in love". But that wasn't it at all, he was there. That's it. He made her see how someone can be good. I believe she was confused because she wanted to be with him but her body was betraying her, telling her other things, bringing up other flashbacks. That can change everything and make you want to run. Push them away because if they touch you, even out of love, all the bad can come back. And you'll be that girl again.
So she pushes him away and bites her tongue.
"My body revolts, I yank my arm away and it makes his eyes widen, makes him step back and I thing-good."
The thing I love most about this book is the way it's written. The way Romy's words are strung together. Like all of her thoughts are the same feeling. If any of you struggle with PTSD, and have panic attacks, perhaps you know what I mean when I say that you can't form simple sentences. You'r brain pushes all sense of reality away, and all you have left is this panic. Romy's thoughts are relatable, it was almost a shock, like the feeling of being the only one in the world who speaks this one language all alone, only to find somebody else is speaking it too. Madness. Rage. Chaos. Courtney Summers portrays it perfectly, and even beautifully.
I bring my fingers to my stomach, digging into the skin until I feel red under my red nails, red, my red, me, until It's something I've done to myself."
Finally, the one last thing I love about this book is the realness of it. Courtney Summers doesn't sugar coat being a "survivor". She's real about it. Sometimes you need to cover yourself in make up and nail polish, as your own personal shield. Some days you need to run in the rain, and cry. Then go home to take a hot bath and sleep. Sometimes in order to heal, you need to let yourself feel the pain first. It sometimes seems easier to push it down, turn away when you say "I'm alright", smile through the mornings..But throughout Romy's story, she learns that because she's been holding all of the pain on her own, it's okay to acknowledge it, and let others hold some of it for you.
This book is many things but for me, it's a reminder, that we are not alone. That it's okay to feel the bad things, and that things won't always stay the same. Thank you Courtney Summers for this amazing novel. After reading "Some Girls Are", and now this, I will definitely be reading the rest of your books. "All the Rage" is pure poetry.