All My Rage
Noor and Sal live in the desert town of Juniper, California. As part of the tiny Muslim community, they are treated as outsiders in school. Their lives have been filled with trouble and tragedy, but they have grown up almost as brother and sister under the loving eye of Sal’s mother Misbah. It is the voices of these three complex and wonderfully-developed characters that narrate this engrossing YA title.
The intricate and fraught relationship between Noor and Sal is carefully and beautifully created. Each one is hiding so much from the other including their love. During their final year of high school, the difficulties and deep, festering burdens Noor and Sal have been carrying explode and threaten to completely ruin their futures. The plot is carefully constructed, with Misbah’s childhood and early married life in Pakistan interwoven with the current lives of Noor and Sal. Although there are serious themes including Islamophobia, drug use, alcoholism and physical abuse in this story, there is also plenty of humour and Noor’s constant uneasiness is buffeted by her love of music.
The writing is pitch-perfect, with all the characters, dialogue and plot ringing true. The writer evokes tremendous empathy for the main characters despite their poor decisions and many shortcomings. An emotionally charged and totally absorbing read.
All My Rage is a story of forgiveness and redemption that will stay with the reader long after reading. Young Adult.