tl;dr I decided to give this book a try considering i have had more experience with self harm than i did with the previous book's eating disorders theme. While I felt the writing had improved since the first, I still felt like the riders of the apocalypse setting was more superfluous than anything else. Again, this book and resulting review could be a trigger for self harm and suicide.
Description (from Goodreads) Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation,Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.
So the writing was definitely better in this book, and it ends up being a bit longer than the other one. But I'm not sure if the two are correlated, or if thats just the way this story went.
Anyways, Missy is a self harmer. she cuts herself in order to release the building inner pressure that her emotions cause. It is the only release she knows, and whenever things overwhelm her - she cuts herself. On her stomach, upper thighs, anywhere that she can hide. She has many scars all over her body because of it. This was something I could relate to a bit more than in hunger. The overwhelming, drowning feeling that emotions can cause and needing to find a way to release them. I personally wasn't a cutter, but one of my close childhood friends was. I can remember seeing her scars and being so sad, wishing there was something I could do .
I thought Kessler did a decent job of portraying those overwhelming feelings, but it didn't see max spot on. Though, the author admits she never struggled with self harm like she did with an eating disorder. But I think she did her research well and overall encompassed the need and the feelings that cause a person to cut.
As for the humiliating thing that happens at the party.... Oh boy. That shit is BRUTAL. I don't even think there are many adults that could overcome that treatment (especially in the same type of environment as a high school), and I think it was a little extreme. There are definitely other things Kessler could've done to Missy that would've led to the same result.... but she did what she did and no matter who you are, you'll be able to relate with the overwhelming humiliation/hurt/disappointment that the situation would cause.
Anyways. Again with this one, the whole Kurt Cobain as death thing (I really don't feel like she nails down Cobain's personality either, but then again it does say that death is just using Cobain's looks and isn't actually the dead rock star), and the riders of the apocalypse thing wasn't done that well. Though, Missy becoming War was interesting at first and I totally would've understood had she demolished those ass holes who get off scott free.
That reminds me, how the hell do those kids get away with the fucking prank they pulled?? Once you read it, you'll understand what I mean... but there definitely should've been some investigations and shit. Also, I hated the soccer coach's reaction to Missy cutting herself and (from my experience with my friend and playing sports with them) feel like it would've have happened.
Anyways. Again, I feel this is an important one for teens to read and understand. Especially because they need to understand that someone who is a cutter does not necessarily mean that person is also suicidal, which no doubt most people without experience in the matter are going to think.