“All Fall Down” by Ally Carter
4 out of 5 stars.
Grace isn’t crazy like people say, she’s just dealing with the trauma of losing the one person she loved most in the world, the only person who could make her feel safe and sound wherever she was: her mother. Years of therapy and medications haven’t healed a single wound concerning that awful night where her world came crashing down, and nothing, and no one, has been able to help her because they don’t believe a word she says. That’s the hardest part for Grace; everyone who has the power to do something to catch her mother’s killer assumes that the trauma got to her, that she’s just some crazy young adult trying to cope with something no one should have to ever witness. Added to Grace’s list of problems, she has been shipped off to Adria, where her estranged grandfather is an American Ambassador.
Three years is a long time to not see or talk to someone and Grace can feel the yawning distance between her and her grandfather. He was the only one who would take her and that’s why she’s in Adria, the only reason she’s here. Life can’t be too awful having Alexei, her brother’s best friend, next door and Noah, who has dubbed himself her new best friend, visiting her fairly often. The longer Grace stays in Adria, though, the more her memories begin to haunt her. She wishes she could forget that she witnessed her mother’s murder, but she also never wants to forget it so that, when the time comes, she can catch her mother’s killer. But what can a sixteen year old in a foreign country do when their mother’s killer could be anywhere in the world? Grace has always believed that her timing was off–she been in the wrong place, wrong time for most of her life. But after a life changing discover rocks her world, Grace realizes that sometimes the best place is to be here and the best time is now.
“All Fall Down” was a really good book. Ally Carter is one of my all time favorite authors because every book she writes ends up being fabulous, and “All Fall Down” was no exception. It was fun, interesting, and intricately plotted just like the “Heist Society” and the “Gallagher Girls,” and it also had a bit of its own flair too!
Grace came off as a very prickly character at first: she was intense, broken, frail, and strong all at the same time. Those are all very extreme things to be, but Ally pulled this character off wonderfully. Grace never grated on my nerves, and sure, I was frustrated at times but it was more out of, “Don’t hurt yourself like that again, Grace!” than anything else. My heart ached for her to stop picking at her wounds so that they could heal, and I desperately wanted her to trust the people who loved her. Some people may think that Grace was too harsh, too broken, but I liked her because I enjoyed reading about a character who had been wounded in the deepest possible ways and she was still breathing. I kept thinking of a puffer fish or a porcupine when Grace lashed out because you could see how desperately she needed someone to believe in her and help her, but she wouldn’t let anyone get close enough for them to truly help her.
Ally did a great job of creating a wounded heroine who had to learn that it was okay to let people in and to trust them. I also loved the relationships that bloomed between Grace and all of her new friends in Adria. Some of them reminded me of characters from the “Heist Society” and the “Gallagher Girls,” and it was really good to see that Ally Carter didn’t lose her talent for making awesome secondary character!
Noah was a great supporting character. At first he reminded me a tad of Hale ( for his cheekiness and charm) and Simon (for his nerdy awkwardness) from the “Heist Society,” but the more I got to know him, the more he became his own character and I ended up really liking him. Noah was sweet, kind, and charming and exactly the kind of friend that Grace needed. The two of them had some really funny moments, and it was wonderful to see Ally’s humor show up in her new characters! Another reason why I liked Noah was that he was the first character who really believed in Grace and what she witnessed the night of her mother’s murder, and it was great to see the two of them work together and build a team to catch the bad guy. Five golden stars to the adorable boy that is Noah!
I liked how Ally also brought in Megan and Rosie. The two of those girls were awesome and I loved how everyone started working as a team. Megan reminded me a bit of Macey from the “Gallagher Girls,” so I ended up liking her character a lot, and Rosie was just plane adorable! There were some ups and downs with all of the character on the team, especially with Grace, but I liked how they worked things out by the end of the book.
I feel like the only person I was unsure of was Alexei, the boy next door (literally). Alexei was Grace’s brother’s best friend, and so he was watching out for Grace while she was staying in Adria, but we all know that he will become a love interest of sorts soon enough. This saddened me a bit because I liked Noah and Grace together; I get that they will only ever be just friends, so I’m learning to accept that fact even if I don’t like it. I think the reason why I wasn’t super into Alexei was because I honestly discovered zero about him in “All Fall Down,” and so I don’t know anything about him other than the fact that he was a nice guy. I’m not against Alexei, I just don’t know him yet, and because of that, I’m not the hugest fan. I hope that the next book in the “Embassy Row” series will develop him a bit more so I can give him a chance, but for now, Noah’s my favorite.
That ending!! I think that my brain came to the correct conclusion before I even finished this book, but it was like I hadn’t registered what was right before my eyes; I did peg something else, but the MAIN thing was still kind of a surprise. It made sense, but it was super sad and I almost cried. Ally always knows how to hit right where it counts, that’s for sure.
Overall, a really great read. Thank you Ally for another fantastic book! Now I have to wait a year for the next “Embassy Row” to come out. *weeps*