After an awkward situation estranges their friendship, Salahudin and Noor are finding their way back to each other following the death of Sal’s mother. Desperate to save his family’s inn that his mother loved so much, Sal turns to some shady practices to make ends meet. Noor, aching to leave the small town of Juniper, hides her college applications from the uncle who raised her after the death of her family in Pakistan. As the two come back together, circumstances push again to tear them apart, this time in a potentially irreparable way.
This is a searing, lyrical, deeply moving novel about facing racism, coping with death, found family, and generational trauma. It does not shy away from these heavy themes, instead addressing them face on with razor-sharp observation and thoughtfulness. It’s not an easy read, there are very few moments of levity, but it’s a necessary read that details difficulties that many teens face.
The writing in this book is beautiful and cutting. Tahir pulls no punches and creates a beautifully layered story weaving between Sal, Noor, and Sal’s mother Misbah. The chapters following Salahudin and Noor are in the present, while Misbah’s chapters are in the past. I absolutely loved all three perspectives, though I thought there was something really special about Misbah’’s perspective. Her chapters revealed small things about her family and past that made a huge impact on the story unfolding in Sal and Noor’s chapters. I thought it was really clever to weave her perspective into the storyline, especially as it moved closer and closer to her death.
There are also some really beautiful moments of friendship between Salahudin and Noor. I loved the way that they supported each other and found little moments of brightness together in the darkness of each of their lives. Noor’s love of music was a great aspect to the story and I loved when they listened together and found strength in those moments. These small moments of respect and support added a needed lightness while also making the climax of the story much more intense and emotional.
All My Rage has earned many starred reviews and has a great score on Goodreads for very good reason. It’s a stunning book, both in beauty and emotion. I highly recommend it, but be sure to check the content warnings before reading as many of these themes can be triggering.
If you’ve read All My Rage, come gush with me about it!
CW: drugs, death, abuse, addiction, alcoholism, racism,Islamophobia, bullying, police brutality, references to past sexual assault