All My Rage

ALL MY RAGE

Written by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill, March 1, 2022
My star rating – 4 stars

THE SYNOPSIS:

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.

MY REVIEW:

Before we get into this, I feel like I need to warn you about two things.

One – I’m going to sound overly negative in this review but I really did enjoy it! Any of my “negative” thoughts aren’t really all that negative. Most are things that I wish would have been elaborated on more to give more of a connection, because the story itself was fantastic! Sabaa Tahir’s voice and writing style is so intriguing and it was great to hear her voice outside of her fantasy novels! And if you read the synopsis above, then you know this sounds good!

Two – Trigger warnings. Because there are many. And, if the finished copy has the same information as the ARC did, she actually gives you a list of specific trigger warnings, so I will quote what was in the book for you – All My Rage contains the following: drug and alcohol addiction, physical abuse, Islamophobia, mentions of repressed sexual assault, tense exchange with law enforcement, death.

First thing I need to talk about was the “multi-generational” aspect. I LOVE this in books. I love to hear how one generations life was in comparison to the next, and all the little things that changed the course of destiny. On one hand I like the way it was done – On the other hand I felt underwhelmed. I like the way the lives come together in the end, and how you see the impact people had on each other. The issue I had was that there just wasn’t enough from Sal’s moms perspective. The chapters weren’t long or frequent enough to feel a strong connection with her. And, because so much about these characters is hidden from the reader until later in the book, I didn’t really pay attention to some of the things I should have. Yet, as I’m writing this, I realize that it was maybe the point… to finish a book and be thinking about it days later, making connections and connecting dots. If that was your intent Sabaa, then well played.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the relationship between Noor and Sal. They just weren’t believable or easy to understand. Their dialogue was flat and not expressive in the way you would imagine best friends to be. There was no comfortable ease and fluidity between them. There was just this persistent, awkward, unnerving tension. Due to their circumstances, they weren’t really allowed time on the page where their lives weren’t being upheaved, so believing in them was a hard sell. We got glimpses of their friendship in the past through flashbacks of memories and then Sal’s mothers perspective, but when we first meet them, they’re not speaking to each other after a big blow out fight. Tragedy strikes and brings them back together but, as they’re piecing their friendship together, the secrets that they’re hiding from themselves and each other come to light, and they’re fighting for their future. We were never really allowed to see them mend their relationship and get back to what they used to be. We only really saw that side of them through second hand accounts and I really wish I could have connected with them more.

Aside from their relationship though, Sal and Noor are fantastic characters!! Each person is so unique in their personalities as well as their situations. They both have things going on in their lives that they’re hiding from the other, and then theres issues they’re experiencing together. So this being a dual perspective was the perfect choice. It allowed us to see first hand what they were experiencing and also the reasons they hid it from each other. Yet sometimes, the things you hold in because you’re ‘protecting’ someone, usually backfires and propels you into a situation where you wonder if you really ever knew the other person.

I really enjoyed this book. And after writing this review and sitting with my thoughts, I think I like it a little bit more. It’s made me think and question things – so thank you. Also thank you to the authors that stray from their box and write books in different genres! I look forward to more of this hard hitting emotional stuff from her!

Until next time, happy reading!

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