YA Review: ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

I am sitting in a hotel room in Orlando writing this, but I didn’t want to put it off because this book was so amazing! Plus, I plan to do a lot of reading on my vacation and don’t want to forget what I loved about it. I’m not surprised. I’ve loved every other book Ally Carter has written. ALL FALL DOWN had the familiar intrigue you expect from an Ally Carter novel, but it was also very different. In any case, here is the description.

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 an 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 Emb.assy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Here are the five things I loved most:

1. The unreliable narrator – I’ve written before about how impressed I am when an author successfully pulls off an unreliable narrator. (I’d link to it but I’m writing this from an iPad and haven’t quite figured out how to use the keypad like my laptop.) Anyway, Ms. Carter keeps the reader guessing to the very end about those very three points Grace is so sure about. It’s so well done!

2. The pacing – The night I started reading this book I kept telling myself I’d stop after the next chapter. Part of it was that the chapters are fairly short and my Kindle kept telling me I only had four or seven minutes in the next chapter. But the other part was the fact that each scene left me dying to find out what happened next.

3. The twists – Oh, how I love a twisty book, and this one delivers. I’ll just leave it at that.

4. The supporting characters – Everyone from her self-appointed best friend Noah to twelve-year-old former gymnast Rosie to Megan, with whom Grace had a past, was so well-drawn and multi-dimensional. I cared about them as much as Grace.

5. The ending – I knew this was the beginning of a series going into it, but I started to wonder about two-thirds of the way through what was going to be the common thread for the other books. I admit I was a bit concerned. I shouldn’t have been. The ending was entirely satisfying–except that I want the next book now!

Well, I’m off to play at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter today and Aruba the rest of the week*, so I probably won’t reply until next week if you leave a comment, but I still want to know if you’ve already read this and what you thought.

*Yes, I’m out of town, but no crazies should get any ideas. We have a house sitter. And an alarm system. And a dog. And black belts in the family …

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About Michelle I. Mason

I'm a full-time writer, focusing mainly on middle grade and young adult fiction with some freelance PR writing and editing on the side. I'm also a wife, mom, Christian, violinist, avid reader and St. Louis Cardinals fan. And I watch way too much TV.
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3 Responses to YA Review: ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter

  1. Ann M. Noser says:

    This book sounds SO good.
    And I just read your bio–once again, I’m hit with self-disappointment. Why didn’t I stick with violin? It’s such a beautiful instrument. Actually, I know why–I’m such a sight reader (with piano)–not much of a play by ear girl at all, and I was enrolled in early Suzuki violin lessons and couldn’t get a handle on it at all (it was all playing by ear).

    • Um, I can’t play by ear, either. I’m surprised your Suzuki promoted that method. I totally have to follow the music. And it’s never too late to go back and learn :).

      Definitely check out the book, too!

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Reads of 2015 | Michelle I. Mason

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