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5.0 1
Young Adult Fiction 1534
powerful and compelling YA contemporary
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ALL MY RAGE is an evocative, emotional, and powerful YA contemporary. The book is told from three perspectives, Noor and Salahudin in the present and Misbah in the past. Misbah's story tells of her journey from hope before marriage to Toufiq through the challenges they faced and her life with her child(ren) at the motel they owned, Cloud's Rest Inn Motel.

In the present, Noor and Salahudin have been best friends since they were small, but the each are keeping secrets. After a terrible fight, they stopped speaking, also cutting off Noor from Misbah, who was a mother-figure for her. Noor lives with her uncle, who saved her when she was small after an earthquake devastated their hometown. He was left to care for her, putting his own education on hold, a sacrifice that he will never allow her to forget while he runs the liquor store in which she is instructed to work. She dreams of going to college and becoming something more, a doctor, but the weight of her uncle, his expectations, and his cruelty may be too much.

After his mother's death, Salahudin struggles to find his own way and take care of his alcoholic father. He is desperate to keep the motel running, even though the bills and collectors make it seem a monumental task. As he begins to sacrifice himself to keep what he believes is his mother's dream alive, he must also reckon with the things he is willing to do and friendships he may lose on this path.

What I loved: The writing of this story pulls the reader in quickly and is paced really perfectly, making it feel like a fast read. All three characters felt incredibly compelling, and it was easy to get lost in each of their stories. They have all been challenged by life and still try to see the hope and goodness around them. The writing was particularly evocative and made this a truly emotional and powerful read, bringing their stories to life in full color. This is certainly a read for which tissues should be handy! While there are ultimately messages of hope, this is not a smooth or easy journey.

There are some important themes around grief/loss, kindness, forgiveness, physical/domestic abuse, assault, racism, treatment of immigrants/those who are not white, alcohol/drug abuse, friendship, religion, the value of honesty, and family. If it sounds like these are some hefty topics, they certainly are, and they are all handled really well. There is a lot to unpack in this story, and it would be great for discussion with a book group or class. These deep and complicated topics are all presented really vividly and poignantly, making for a truly thought-provoking and potent read.

Final verdict: Evocative and poignant, ALL MY RAGE is a powerful and thought-provoking YA contemporary about finding our path, perseverance through tragedy and trauma, and the ties that bind us. Highly recommend picking up this vividly emotional read.
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