Book review: ‘All my Rage’

6 mins read

Heart-wrenching new contemporary novel All my Rage by Sabaa Tahir is a must-read

The dazzling new novel All my Rage by Sabaa Tahir was released in early March. The young-adult, contemporary story proves to be a moving book about two High School seniors in a deserted small town in California dealing with the hardships of life and their relationship through these struggles. 

With All my Rage Sabaa Tahir, the successful fantasy author of the bestselling An Ember in the Ashes series, brings a ravishing new story that hits all the right spots for readers that like bawling their eyes out.

The novel, told through three perspectives, introduces reoccurring flashbacks for Misbah, the main character´s mother, giving an insight into her past in Pakistan.

After that we get to explore the lives of protagonists Salahudin, nicknamed Sal, and his childhood best friend Noor through their own perspectives switching smoothly with every chapter. 

Misbah and her husband Tahir left their home in Pakistan, to move to the United States, open the Clouds´ Rest Inn Motel and start a new life.

The motel has been home to Salahudin for all his life and takes on an important role throughout the novel, symbolizing the hope that his mother had for the all-consuming life-changing American Dream.

Noor lives with her uncle and works in his liquor store, after her family died in an earthquake in Pakistan, when she was only six. Now, nearly 18, Noor tries to escape the dull, painful life of small-town Juniper. 

Sal and Noor are like family, sharing their unconditional love for Misbah and their origin, until their biggest fight to date breaks them apart and leaves them in silence with each other for months.

Now, both have to deal with their struggles by themselves, but when Misbah´s health deteriorates and Sal´s father loses himself to alcoholism, Sal´s attempt to save the Clouds Inn Motel leads him into desperation.

Sal needs Noor more than ever, bringing the friends back together but testing their relationship in every possible way as they are trying to navigate through grief, anger and hopelessness. 

Sabaa Tahir does a wonderful job in striking the reader with all the tragic events that have happened and continue to happen to the loveable main characters, while continuously feeding you hopeful crumbs to a happy ending.

All my Rage certainly leaves you with the feeling of ‘all the rage’ that these characters have within themselves and lets you take part in the drowning feeling of unfairness, sadness and anger at the world. 

And it never stops. Every page delivers new information about what makes Sal and Noor tick and invites you deeper into their stories and lives. 

The novel truly is a page-turner, that is fast paced, easy to read and keeps you on your toes at all times. 

It masterfully paints a picture about grief, racism, generational trauma and the feeling of endless rage at life and the perspectiveless of it, while indulging in constant hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. 

This novel launches the successful fantasy author Tahir into completely new waters and does so incredibly, opening doors into new genres and paving a path to the important stories that she can tell.

Growing up in her family´s own Californian 18-room motel, the former journalist magnificently describes the dull deserted life in small-town Juniper and pointedly understands how to tell a story with this much tragedy and depth, while still making it feel real.

All my Rage will take you on a beautiful ride of friendship, generational and interconnected relationships, young love and the many hardships of life that knock you down and may seem so hopeless that it feels like you are stuck in them forever. 

The novel makes you feel deeply with Noor, Sal, Misbah and their families and will most likely break your heart, make you cry, make you scream, make you angry and make you feel helpless all within a few pages of each other.

However, this book should be treated with care, as it can be triggering for some readers. Content warnings for this novel are: drug and alcohol addiction, physical abuse, Islamophobia, mentions of repressed sexual assault, tense exchange with law enforcement and death.

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