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Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

Rage: A Love Story (edition 2009)

by Julie Anne Peters

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1851663,896 (3.56)3
Title:Rage: A Love Story
Authors:Julie Anne Peters
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2009), Edition: First, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:GLBTRT, Rainbow Book List, 2010

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Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters


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The first half was a little tiresome and hard to get into — the characters and storyline started fleshing out by the second half. Although the discussion of abuse in lesbian relationships is an important one, and I appreciated Julie Anne Peters's attempt to show how the abuser in this situation was a complex character with her own history of abuse, but her portrayal did not feel too realistic. The extent of abuse in Reeve's family was so extreme — culminating in her stepfather murdering her mother and brother — it was as if to say that anything less wouldn't constitute an abusive home, and the absolute lack of anger in Johanna, in response to Reeve abusing her, was hard to believe. The fact she would try to excuse the violence and manipulation and focus on how much she loved her, fine, but that she would never ever even blink, shout, cry? Not too realistic. It was also strange to me how quickly Reeve fell in "love" with a girl she had never talked to. I was also bothered by Johanna's best friend, Novak, who consistently referred to her as Lesbo, sexually harassed her, and was an all-around jerk to her, being presented as the "good friend" alternative to Reeve.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
". . . what's wrong with me that I stay and no one else does?" (p.68)

Rage is a YA novel that explores the emotions of someone in an abusive relationship.

Johanna's parents are dead, she lives in her own apartment above her sister and her sister's husband's house and doesn't feel particularly loved or wanted. Her best friend Novak frequently takes advantage of her apartment as a place to have sex with her boyfriend, making Johanna feel even more lonely. She's obsessed with Reeve Hartt, a beautiful but damaged girl. Johanna frequently daydreams about Reeve - slipping into an imaginary world she calls "Joyland" where sparkly romantic fantasies ensue. "Letters from Joyland. Love, Johanna." (p.57)

When her teacher asks Johanna to help Reeve's autistic brother, Robbie, write an essay, she is shocked by what he writes about - horrific sexual abuse that both he and his sister suffered. If what Robbie has written is true, it makes Johanna's own problems seem mild in comparison. "My own tragedies are so . . . ordinary." (p.104)

Johanna's dreams come true when she and Reeve strike up a relationship - despite everyone, including Reeve, warning Johanna not to get involved with her. Johanna has seen the abusive way Reeve treats other girls - biting, hitting, making them cry - but she's sure that Reeve will never hurt her. It's not long before Reeve is hitting her and stealing from her, but Johanna has caught glimpses of Reeve's home life by this point - a junkie mother and a violent, abusive uncle. She can't help but feel sorry for Reeve and want to help her, protect her. She can't let go of her love for Reeve, or admit that there is a problem.

"By afternoon, the bruising has spread down my whole left cheek. It symbolizes something - trust? Intimacy? You can trust me to take what you dole out, Reeve. I gaze into the mirror and think, This is a phase of our love." (p. 228)

Rage is well written, but the subject matter makes this a more difficult, painful read. One thing I didn't like about it was how Johanna was so nasty towards her friend, Novak. Novak was inappropriate at times, but Johanna was way too cold towards her. Novak was going through her own tragedy - getting kicked out by her mother - and clearly trying to figure out her own sexuality. She needed Johanna's help and Johanna was too self-absorbed to even talk to her! I guess the author was trying to show that neither character was a saint, but Johanna's callous attitude towards her so-called "best friend" still really bothered me. ( )
  catfantastic | Sep 22, 2013 |
Intense and raw. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
I kind of hated this book. On the positive side, it's queer and the writing style isn't bad.

But... if a main character is wrong, they need to figure it out for themselves. Other characters can't tell them that they're wrong for half the book and then turn out to be right. I think this is a common problem when old people try to try to write books for young people, at least when there's an intentional message and it's not just an adventure story. The stuff I've read by Sarah Dessen annoys the heck out of me for the same reason. ( )
  cecily2 | Dec 29, 2012 |
I adore Julie Anne Peters and I am thankful that she writes the books she does. When I was in high school the GLBT books were few and far between, and most of them just dealt with coming out. Peters goes beyond the coming out process (which is vital, of course) and tackles topics such as having a brother who is transgendered (Luna), being kicked out of your home because you're a lesbian (Keeping You a Secret), and intimate partner abuse (Rage). Rage gives a very open and honest look into Johanna's psyche as she rationalizes the actions of her abusive girlfriend.
At the end of the book there is a list of resources for victims of violence, both general and LGBT-specific.
1 vote jurai2 | Dec 17, 2012 |
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At the end of high school, Johanna finally begins dating the girl she has loved from afar, but Reeve is as much trouble as she claims to be as she and her twin brother damage Johanna's self-esteem, friendships, and already precarious relationship with her sister.… (more)

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