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Literature / Rage: A Love Story

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'Rage: A Love Story' is a young adult novel written by Julie Anne Peters in 2009, detailing an abusive relationship between two teenage girls. The protagonist, Joanna, is a lonely lesbian teen about to graduate high school. After the death of her parents Joanna lives in a constant fantasy wherein Reeve Hart, an out lesbian student at her school, finally returns her affections and the two initiate a passionate, intimate relationship. When Joanna is put in charge of tutoring Reeve's twin brother, Robbie, Joanna finally sees her chance to make her dreams come true. Early into the story, Reeve warns Joanna to stay away, but Joanna sees Reeve as the key to her happiness and pursues her against everyone's advice.


Includes examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Reeve and Robbie have these.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Invoked and subverted. The hospice worker sees Joanna's face and asks if she has an abusive boyfriend. Joanna's supervisor similarly assumes that Robbie is the one abusing her, rather than Reeve.
  • Bastard Girlfriend: Reeve often suggests that Joanna is attracted to her 'because' she is abusive, not in spite of it.
  • Bi the Way: Novak near the end.
  • Coming-Out Story: Although Joanna is already out when the story begins, Tessa has not yet accepted it and fully worked through her own homophobia.
  • Domestic Abuse: Arguably the entire plot is centered around this.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Novak suggests her feelings for Joanna might be this.
  • Love Martyr: Even after repeated violent assaults from Reeve, Joanna stays in the relationship and insists that once she truly earns Reeve's trust things will turn around.
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  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Joanna believes that despite Reeve's promiscuous past, she can commit to a relationship if given enough reason to. Later, it is heavily implied that Reeve cheated on her.
  • Parental Incest: Both Reeve and Robbie experience this from their father and possibly stepfather.
  • Rape as Backstory: Both Reeve and Robbie were sexually abused as children.
  • Romanticized Abuse: Joanna asserts that when you love someone, you stick around especially when they hurt you, and that this is a true test of devotion.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Joanna and Reeve.
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen: One criticism of this book is its frequent use of words like "asstard."
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Before she leaves for college, Novak confesses feelings for Joanna and asserts that she might be bi.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Novak and Dante try to convince Joanna of this.
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  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Reeve suggests that the abuse is Joanna's fault for not leaving when she had the chance.

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