Review of All My Rage

All My Rage All My Rage
by Sabaa Tahir
High School    Razorbill/Penguin    384 pp.    g
3/22    978-0-593-20234-0    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-20235-7    $10.99

In this stark and searing sort-of love story, two Pakistani American teens living in a California desert town struggle to choose connection over isolation when family crises strike. Salahudin—artsy, aimless, and anxious—feels the weight of the pressures posed by his sick mother, his alcoholic father, and the crumbling motel they own, which barely pays the bills. His ambitious and science-minded estranged childhood friend, Noor, needs a hefty scholarship to escape the domineering uncle with whom she lives, but gets rejections instead. Through chapters that alternate between their first-person perspectives, Sal and Noor tell intertwining stories of their urgent attempts to steer their own lives without support from family or their majority-white community. Sal’s mother—whose potent flashbacks of her immigration when she was young are interspersed throughout—is a reliable model of faith and optimism for both teens; her sudden death at first draws Sal and Noor closer, but grief and guilt soon lead Sal to a cascade of risky, tension-raising decisions that threaten their futures. While some descriptive language, especially dreamy Sal’s, borders on melodramatic, the tight focus on each teen’s emotional experience reveals a rich layering of determination, trauma, anger, and integrity underneath their raw reactions. This is a brutal depiction of the toll taken on some young marginalized and working-class people trying to conquer the odds; watching Sal’s and Noor’s devastating loneliness finally give way to glimmers of hope is both satisfying and affecting.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jessica Tackett MacDonald

Jessica Tackett MacDonald is a collection development librarian at the Boston Public Library, specializing in youth and teen collections. She holds masters degrees in library science and children’s literature from Simmons University.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.