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All the Rage by Courtney Summers


Interests/Topics: bullying, violence, partying, choices, small towns, family relations, friendship, isolation

Curriculum Connections: English, Health and Physical Education

Gender: F/M

Age: 14+

Blurb: I’m going to be blatantly honest here: I went to a really crappy high school. It was a crappy building, in a crappy part of town, with pretty crappy kids. It wasn’t totally bad though; I made some good friends and the teachers were okay. And, there was that one really good thing about it: my crappy school didn’t have a swimming pool, thank the good lord almighty.

Despite countermeasures and awareness activities, bullying is rampant in high schools and locker rooms are the hub for the most vicious attacks. I still shudder at the memory of being forced to take a shower after gym class. My only saving grace at the time was that (thanks to having no pool) I didn’t have to wear a bathing suit in front of my peers and the entire male population of the school. Shudder.

Romy, in All the Rage, suffers many an attack in her high school locker room. She didn’t used to have problems with the other students, but after she (truthfully) accuses the town sheriff’s son of rape, her peers turn against her.

Branded as a liar (and worse), Romy takes refuge in her job as a waitress in another town. She’s safe there from the ridicule and bullying, and makes friends with people who aren’t aware of her past.

But she still has to face school each day where she is shamed and criticized. Her underwear is stolen and put on a school mannequin, and suggestive and rude messages about her are posted daily on social media.

It’s not until reports of another girl being abused start to surface that Romy gets any relief from the torment, and by then a third girl has disappeared.

Small towns, family connections, and close neighbours can be a good thing…until they turn against you.

Flavour: “[Kellan’s] hands are everywhere and he’s a vicious weight on top of her that she can’t breathe against so she cries instead, and how do you get a girl to stop crying? You cover her mouth.” (8-9)  

 “Tina stalks into the showers and I hear her muttering about what a whore I am before she slips into one of the curtained stalls because Tina always gets the last word one way or another….I’m the last one out [of the shower], I make sure of it. I turn the water off and stand there a minute, my wet hair clinging to my neck, drying fast and frizzing. When I get back to the change room, my locker is open and my clothes are on the floor. My bra and underwear are gone.” (14)

“[Leon] reaches over and squeezes my hand, startling me with his sweetness. But just because something’s sweet doesn’t mean it won’t push itself so far past anything you could call sweet anymore. And if it all starts like this, how do you see what’s coming?” (29)

“’There was this girl—she came up to me.’ [Penny] pauses. ‘She saw me with Kellan. She told me it wasn’t safe to be alone with him…. You didn’t report it. You can still report it,’ she says and I reach under the table and dig my nails into the scabs on my knees until the wet tells me it’s open. ‘I looked it up. You still have time. If you do it—something would have to happen.’ I almost laugh but my voice has left me. The chance of that happening is as dead as the girl Penny’s talking about and that’s what I really want to say to her. She died Penny, you know that? You know all the ways you can kill a girl? God, there are so many.” (54-55)

“’I wish I’d gathered you here under better circumstances,’ [Principal Diaz] says. ‘I’m sure most, if not all of you, know about the unfortunate news regarding a beloved member of our senior class. In the interest of making sure you have the correct information, we thought it best if you heard it from us and the local authorities directly. Penny Young is missing.’” (73)

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