All Fall Down
By Ally Carter
Pub. Date: January 20, 2015
After devouring the Gallagher Girls series, when I heard Ally Carter was coming out with a new book I knew I would have to read it. For those who haven’t read the Gallagher Girls series, I would highly recommend it. Picture this: a hidden all-girls school to train spies where hacking into government websites is homework, martial arts and combat training is p.e., and friendship means risking your life to save each other. These books dealt with some serious issues, but had enough comedic moments to keep it light.
All Fall Down, the first book in the Embassy Row series, has a lot of secrets and twists with another unreliable narrator like the Gallagher Girls series, but it is darker without as much humor. Grace is the daughter of a military man, the granddaughter of an ambassador, and the witness of her mother’s death. Three years later after her mother died, Grace still has daily flashbacks, only made worse by the knowledge that no one believes her when she says her mother was murdered. She is trying not to act too crazy, but she knows everyone is worried about her mental state. Now she is living in Europe at US embassy with her grandfather, where a wrong move could start a war and everyone wants her to act normal and go with her grandfather to state functions. Of course, things do not work out as planned and Grace finds herself getting into even more scrapes than usual with a new group of teens as she tries to figure out how to stop the man she believes murdered her mother.
I thought this novel was well done: it has a unique setting based on life in an embassy and it does a good job staying in a first person narrative with a complex story line. I often found myself annoyed with the protagonist, but I can see she is the way she is because Grace went through a traumatic experience. The Gallagher Girls series is still my favorite though, because I liked the humor and I enjoyed the characters and felt more invested in what they were doing. Altogether, I would recommend reading All Fall Down for those who want a good suspense where the teenage girl everyone thinks is crazy collaborates with her friends to save the world. It doesn’t have any romantic entanglements (although there is a hint of one), and it doesn’t have a lot of violence. I enjoyed reading it, although I kept myself distant from the protagonist.