Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

I got this book for free during Book Riot Live last year. I think. I’m 85% sure that’s where I got it from. Which means it’s been on my shelf for about 9 months. I wasn’t really interested in reading it because of the spy/political/mystery description. Really, I rarely care about who killed whose mother. I know. I’m terrible.

I ended up reading it as part of the Make Me Read readathon challenge 


Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Here’s what I thought about it all:

Ok. So, this book is about a girl who is the 16- year-old granddaughter of a US ambassador. Grace lived at the Embassy until she was 13 or so but hasn’t been back since her mother died and she lost her mind. Now she is back and is trying to find out about the man she remembers being involved with her mother’s death. The problem is, no one believes her and all the evidence says that she’s nuts. Plus, there’s all that teenager stuff: who are your real friends, who gets invited to whose after-hours party, and is it really a bad idea to jump over a cliff onto land that is owned by Iran.

This book is fact- paced. Honestly, the main character, Grace, mostly pissed me off most of the book. She is impetuous and inconsiderate of the position she is putting others in most of the time. I tried to balance this genuine response to her with the understanding that she’s been through a traumatic event. But really, I don’t like teens that are assholes, even if they come by it legitimately. I loved Grace’s old friend Meghan and her new friend... whats his name. I would have wanted more of them. I’m also glad that we didn’t get all googly- eyed over the boys in the book and that Grace’s best friend doesn’t appear to be secretly in love with her. That’s one trope I can do without for a while longer. With another boy, though, there was just the perfect level of tingles and foreshadowing for a budding interest. You’ll know who I mean as soon as he walks in.

About halfway through reading this I started to get worried about the ending. But there was a bit of a twist and it took a darker turn than I thought the author would go. And then, on the last page, we find out we don’t even know the whole story yet.

In all, this was a pretty good read, despite the political references I totally didn’t get. It was well worth the time and I'm glad I finally read it. I would definitely pick up the second one to find out what was up with Grace’s mom. The book sort of closes with a "You didn't know everything about your mother, Grace" sort of scene. But I might switch to a different Carter series and abandon the whole Embassy thing altogether.

A note about diversity: This book has characters who are native of different countries. At one point, she enters into what's his name's house and the whole house is watching soccer, correcting Grace to say football, instead. So there is some diversity here that I think is important and adds to the story. I'd give it half a #WNDB sticker if I had that graphic. But I don't.

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