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No Place to Fall

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Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published December 9, 2014

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About the author

Jaye Robin Brown

8 books446 followers
Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to her friends, has been many things in her life--jeweler, mediator, high school art teacher--but now writes full-time. She lives with her wife, dogs, cats, and horses in a sweet house in NC horse country where she hopes to live happily ever after. She is the author of young adult novels, NO PLACE TO FALL, WILL'S STORY, GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT, THE MEANING OF BIRDS, and THE KEY TO YOU AND ME. In 2022 she released her first adult novel, FIVE MONTHS OR FOREVER.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 297 reviews
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,363 followers
November 25, 2014
I was extremely bored while reading this. Even at 80% I felt like the book was going nowhere. The plot was dragging through the mud and the characters, while some are well-developed enough, were uninteresting and lacked any sort of compelling nature. It might be a good book to pick for when you just want a mindless read one boring Sunday, but otherwise I wouldn't expect to become especially enthralled with No Place to Fall.

When we meet our main character, Amber, she seems like this party girl who makes a hobby out of hooking up and getting high with strangers from all over the world who stop by her town. She keeps track of her nightly… adventures.. on a map. But then we learn that she's supposedly this good girl from an uber religious family, going to church every week, singing in the choir, with big dreams she considers pointless because she can't possibly leave her mother alone. Overall, she's a mixed bag that I was never able to give any kind of concrete personality to. I fared better with the secondary characters who were at least distinguishable. I can't say I especially liked any of them, however. They were very stereotypical and brought in a bunch of unnecessary drama that became annoying rather than thrilling.

The plot was also all over the place. The whole ordeal about Amber needing to buy this guitar was so pointless, yet it's the only thing that really happens in the book as far as excitement - if you want to call it that. I mean I get it, it was meant to be this big life-changer for Seth and his broken past or whatever, but the whole thing felt… incredibly predictable. Added in for drama, no doubt. In addition to the drug dealings, stealing, cheating (x3!), "tragic" parental figures, the new kid in town, the unexpected romantic interest, the gay best friend… Honestly, this could have been a really potent story about finding hope when the cards are stacked against you, instead it just all felt like clutter. It lacked the tension and emotional investment needed to make for a moving read. We also kept coming back to this singing storyline - we couldn't forget for one second how amazing of a singer Amber was, with lyrics scattered throughout the book and people constantly making her sing because she's so darn good became repetitive and tiresome.

There isn't much more I can say about this one, really. When you're over the halfway mark in a book and you're still waiting for it to start that's a very bad sign. Maybe this is a hit-or-miss kind of read - those who enjoy slow moving contemporaries should still give it a try - it definitely wasn't a hit for me.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 12 books5,135 followers
October 15, 2014
This book RUINED me. BEAUTIFUL writing, so lyrical and so honest. And this is coming from someone who doesn't really like contemporary novels. I am always hesitant to pick them up, because I enjoy fantasy, scifi, books that really push the limits of reality.

But then I opened it, and there was MUSIC. And the wilderness. And horrible, broken families, and love.

NO PLACE TO FALL turned a small town story into something really quite extraordinary. The writing style was fluid and gorgeous, reminding me of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, one of the few contemp books to really suck me in. Now NPTF is on that list.

The main character, Amber, is incredibly well fleshed out. I felt that as I went through the book, I was truly able to understand her motives. She wanted to succeed. She wanted to feel loved. She wanted to be greater than her surroundings, and the things she says, thinks, and does throughout this book, are all true to who Amber is. I know this is a single title, but the end of the book made me feel like there could be a sequel---here's to hoping, right?

I'm happy I read this one. I'm so happy, because now I might have a tiny bit of a taste for contemp books. Hey, books can change lives, right? :0

Amazing job, JRO. You nailed it with this one.
Profile Image for nidhi :).
303 reviews717 followers
December 31, 2020
this did not pass the capricorn vibe check 👎

theres something about reading books with white ppl’s problems that just doesn’t hit anymore for me. there’s something about having the only LGBTQ rep be the gay best friend that just doesn’t hit anymore for me. there’s something about the only POC rep be the stereotypical indian kid that just doesn’t hit anymore for me. there’s something about slut shaming your sister because of internalized misogyny and using religion to justify your actions that just doesn’t hit anymore for me. AND KISSING THE GUY YOU LIKE KNOWING HE HAS A GF AND BEING A MF HYPOCRITE 🚩🚩

as a capricorn, i’d hit you.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
August 17, 2014
"But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all."

....WHAT does that mean?


I started reading this, but fewer than 20 pages in, and this line: "[H]e must be part Indian. Red dot, not feather."

Meant to showcase the main character's small town mentality, I got it, but sorry. You lost me right there, with that line. I don't need to read more.
Profile Image for Tiff.
569 reviews539 followers
February 12, 2015
2.5 stars.
Review originally posted at: Mostly YA Lit

Warning: this book has some sexual situations, drinking, drugs, and cursing. It's probably rated R - meaning that I would get it parent or teacher approved first if you're younger than 15. 

No Place to Fall is a book I really, really wanted to love. The concept appealed to me as a choir singer, and I love sweet romances. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Here's what worked and didn't work for me:

The Good: 

The characters felt like real high school kids in a real small-town. You get a major slice-of-life feeling with the kids - they go to school, they're in the library, with their parents, in the cafeteria, etc. You can really tell that Jaye Robin Brown is a teacher, because she really gets how teens act and interact - and how boredom in a small town can result in sex, drugs, and alcohol.

The chemistry between the Amber and Will really works. In fact, I would argue that the romance between them is the best part of the book - Will is a bit dangerous, but he's also sexy and completely believes in Amber - and their chemistry when they're singing or playing together is DELICIOUS.

The Southern charm and the way Amber learns to appreciate it. I definitely felt like I was in another world when I first started reading - Brown very quickly establishes the culture of the town and how much they all know about one another. The town kind of reminded me of Friday Night Lights a bit - where everyone knows everyone else, but everyone is also talking to and in everyone else's business. Amber hates it at first, but I think it's interesting how much she comes to appreciate it.

The Not-So-Good: 

The lack of plot because the cast of characters was way too large. This, to me, was the major issue with the book - it just didn't go anywhere. I felt like I was still at the beginning of the book when I was two-thirds of the way through. The narrative meandered between characters and subplots very quickly, and I never felt like I knew why a certain scene was in there. There was very little structure to hang onto, and as a result, I didn't feel any urgency or desire to see Amber reach her goals.

The not-very-believable amount of attraction between Amber and every other guy in the book. Holy COW, I know I'm supposed to believe that Amber is gorgeous and talented and all that. But every boy in this book wanted to hook up with her! It's just not believable to me that almost everyone in her circle of friends was interested in that way.

The descriptions of Amber singing. This is really nitpicky, but I just had to put it out there. For the most part, I liked Brown's writing, and she has some really good passages, but the way she described how Amber felt singing just felt cliche to me - Amber would "open [her] mouth and the notes fly up" or a "songbird" or "butterflies" would come leaping out of her chest. It just felt like too easy of a metaphor, and I wanted more from the author.

The Final Word: 

I wanted to love No Place to Fall so much more than I did. But unfortunately, about two-thirds of the book meandered aimlessly, with more subplot than plot. As a result, I didn't feel very strongly about too many of the characters, and I felt a very tenuous connection to the MC. That said, once the plot does get moving, it bounces along, and the romance is very satisfying. Overall, not a great book for me, but if you like slice-of-life books, this one might be for you.
Profile Image for Paula M.
547 reviews643 followers
March 3, 2015
Any book that mentions The Avett Brothers will be a pleasant read for me. Though its not the mind blowing read that I was expecting, No Other Place to Fall was still an enjoyable read.

I have a love hate relationship with Amber Plain and Small. I love how passionate she is when it comes to singing and how she fought for her dream but small things gets in the way when it comes to me completely adoring her as a main character. First is, she can be a harlot sometimes and stupid. She is so boy crazy that sometimes I think she forgets that she have a lot of brain cells..and she can actually USE IT.

I take it back. Those are not small things.

But, the real problem that I have with this book though, is the love interest. What a manipulative jerk and... and... and... okay I'm running out of insults but he is a douche. I don't like anything about him and I still can't comprehend why he's considered as swoony by our main character. He did a very jerky move at the first part  and my dislike for him just intensified through out the book.

News flash: just because you know how to play a guitar, doesn't mean girls will worship you. Practice how NOT TO BE A FRODO DOUCHEBAGGINS FIRST.

The plot is not really unheard of because honestly, I've read this concept before. Small town girl with incredible talent fights for her dream. Etc etc.. I love how the things ended and how it got there. I still don't understand why I gave this book a 3 since its nothing special but now that I'm writing this review, I just has this realization. No Place to fall is very charming and dreamlike. Maybe its because of the authors writing.. or the setting of the book.. or the poor-girl-got-her-dream concept, but I did really enjoy this book. Though I'm not gaga over it, I still recommend this for readers looking for a mild and slow read...
Profile Image for Paula Stokes.
Author 15 books1,150 followers
February 3, 2015
I generally always give a book five stars when I read it in a single sitting, because I am easy distracted, but there's lots to love about this one.

The prose manages to be evocative without being weighed down with figurative language. The MC is sympathetic while still being realistically flawed. The whole thing felt a lot like a Sarah Dessen book to me, with a bit more country flavoring.

There were a few places where I thought it wasn't going to end the way I wanted it to end, but I should've just trusted my Val-pal JRo, because the denouement was perfect for the story.

And THE BOY. So many <333 for the boy.
Profile Image for Kelsey Macke.
Author 1 book115 followers
March 8, 2014
I LOVED this book... Jaye nailed the heart of a singer and the ache for more that so many dreamers know.

I'm so glad to know Jaye and grateful for the chance to experience this beautiful book. <3
Profile Image for Celine.
240 reviews127 followers
November 15, 2014
This review also appears on YA Midnight Reads.

I’m afraid No Place to Fall ended up being… not my sort of book. I liked its original premise, but ultimately the book and I just ended up not working together. I think it’s a little bit of it’s-not-you-it’s-me and also a little bit it’s-also-a-bit-you. That’s not to say I’m entirely negative about No Place to Fall. In the end, I mostly felt “meh” about it.

One thing I liked: In No Place to Fall, out protagonist Amber has a lot of casual sexual relationships. During the summer, she goes to the hiker’s barn to talk with hikers and also make out with them a little. Later, she kind of casually sleeps with a boy she knows. Thankfully, nowhere in the book did the narrative look down on that. There is a bit of slut-shaming by other characters, though that has nothing to do with this particular boy. However, it’s made really clear that having kissed quite a few different boys is in no way a really bad thing, or somethign you should be shamed for. It’s something that happens. Period.

Now, Amber’s reasons for doing these things might be a little bit… dodgy at times. Mostly she just does it because she likes to (which I’m completely fine with), but there’s also a part of her that uses it as an escape from her home life. And what a home life it is. Amber basically has every possible problem at home: her mother is way too protective, her father is a cheater, her sister is married to a drugs dealer and going down that path herself, while living in a trailer with her little kid. The drugs dealer, Sammy, is basically a complete asshole and keeps pressuring Amber to do things she doesn’t want to. Sammy felt like a bit of a charicature at times. Yes, there is some depth to his character and it’s kind of fascinating to see his “I only need this and this, then I’ll stop” mentality, but he was just so “evil” in basically every way. Over the course of the novel, he deals drugs, neglects his wife, pressures Amber to do things she doesn’t want to, blackmail Amber, make inappropiate sexual advances towards her, which evolves into what could have been sexual assault (he only stopped because someone caught him, luckily very early on). That’s quite a list.

Luckily, Amber also has some friends, both old and new. I especially liked the shy guy, Sean, who was overall very nice. But then this had to happen (in this scene, Sammy is pressuring Amber to sing for Sean, even when she doesn’t want to):

[Amber:] “Sammy, I told you no.”
“You think I listened? I need you, Amber, and you know we’ll be great.”
Sean nudges me. “I wouldn’t mind hearing you sing.”

After that, Amber gives in and sings for him. It might seem like an unimportant scene, but basically what’s happening here is that Sammy is pressuring Amber (once again), who has clearly expressed she doesn’t want to do something. Sean, who is supposed to be her friend, doesn’t stand by Amber and say something like “you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” No, instead he sides with Sammy and also pressures Amber until she gives him. I’m sorry, but this is just wrong on so many levels. It might be changed in the final copies, though, since I read an ARC, I don’t know that.

Now, according to the synopsis this book is mainly about Amber’s audition and her desire to get out of the little town she lives in. Wrong. No Place to Fall is about the life of Amber, a small-town girl, who likes to sing and, hey, guess what, she’s going to do this audition. It did play a role in the novel, but not nearly one as big as the synopsis leads you to believe. I didn’t have a lot of issue with this, but be warned if you really expect this to revolve around the audition. (By the way, if you want something diverse that focusses a lot on audition but also other issues, I recommend Hannah Moskowitz’ Not Otherwise Specified.)

I did have one major issue with No Place to Fall, but it’s very spoilery. The non-spoiler version is: some people act very -in my opinion- unnatural when something is revealed. Now for the longer and more detailed one:

Okay, rant over.

In all, No Place to Fall just left me unimpressed. There were some good sides to it, but overall I just failed to connect to this novel. The things that annoyed me took over the things I liked. I think it’s mostly an it’s-not-you-it’s-me situation, so if you like the synopsis don’t give up on this one yet. I do think it has potential, but overall: not for me.

~Thank you, HarperTeen, for the review copy!~
Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
September 2, 2014
"A girl...
A dream...
A choice..."

I am really beginning to like contemporary YA novels more and more. No Place To Fall is a debut YA novel that revolves around the life of a young girl named Amber who only wants on thing in life....to live her dream and sing to the world.

Amber lives in a small town with her not-so-normal family. Her father cheats on her mother on a daily basis, her sister is married to a drug dealer, and Amber is just trying to live day by day. To escape her life she and her best friend Devon sometimes sneak out to an old barn where hikers stay and take a break from their cross-country journeys. Amber and Devon party with the hikers, drink alcohol, and smoke marijuana. Amber feels like this is the only place she can go to be free and be herself. At night while everyone is hanging out around the fire, Amber will sing for everyone. Amber's voice is beautiful and she is told over and over that what she has is a gift and that she should use it but all Amber can see is that she is a girl living in a small town who is destined to never leave.

"And I know something else now, too. That my singing, my asking about this audition, lit something up inside my mama. Something I haven't seen on her face since Whitney was married, and Coby was born. Her face, for half a second, was proud. And it was because of me.
I picture the second red tack on my map. Maybe red isn't what I thought it had to be for at all. Maybe red is for love."

Amber's best friend, Devon has a big brother named Will whom Amber has always had a crush on. Well one day after school Devon sends Will to pick Amber up from school and from there Amber and Will develop a secret romance. Will has a girlfriend but is clearly in love with Amber so until they decide what to do ...they keep their relationship a secret.

"Will and I are both looking at our feet but that doesn't stop me from feeling the way I'm feeling. Like we're in each other arms. Like we're connected. Like we just had song sex in front of the entire chorus."

One of my favorite character's is Devon, Amber's best friend. I love his attitude and his complete devotion to Amber. He is still her best friend and stands by her side when her world comes crashing down.

Amber is faced with some hard decisions and ends up making some bad choices. I really enjoyed this book because it reflects real issues that occur in teens lives and exactly what could/would happen should they get caught. This book deals with so many teen issues such as: drugs, alcohol, and sex. The subjects are depicted with a lot more maturity than a normal YA novel so don't expect this to be subdued because...its not. Its real...with real issues.

Jaye Robin Brown's writing is somewhat poetic and deep. No Place To Fall is an emotional coming-of-age story that everyone will connect with. The characters are written into the story in detail and I was really able to connect with each character. The emotions expressed in the writing is truly exceptional. Teens and Fans of Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance will really enjoy this book.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,685 reviews1,266 followers
January 23, 2015
3.5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
16-year-old Amber has aspirations to travel the world, but until that’s possible she’s content to chat to hikers travelling through her small village. With her sister arrested, her father cheating on her mother, and boy problems to boot, Amber is just trying to keep everyone happy as best she can, even if it means doing the wrong thing to achieve that.
Can Amber really help everybody? And will she ever get what she wants?

This was an interesting story about love and loyalty, and I liked the romance.

Amber was a sweet girl, and it was obvious how much she saw, and how much she valued her family and friends. She really did try to keep things that she knew would hurt people away from them, and when someone really needed something, she always tried to get it for them, even when it meant risking everything to do it.

The storyline in this was okay, although I did get a little bored in the middle. I didn’t like the things that Amber did, but I could see why she did them, and I disliked the way that other people used her, and tried to play on her selfless nature to get what they wanted.

The romance was probably my favourite part of this book, although I wasn’t overly happy with the way Will behaved towards Amber most of the time. Hooking up with a girl who isn’t your girlfriend, then going back to your girlfriend as if nothing happened is not very gentlemanly behaviour.

The ending to this was bittersweet. I hated the way that Amber was punished for something that she only did to help someone else. It seemed unfair that by doing something wrong to help someone she loved, she ended up punished for it, and that upset me a bit. Thankfully we did get a happy ending on the romance front though, and Amber was able the bright side, even when she had lost what she personally wanted.
Overall; an interesting story about love and loyalty,
7 out of 10
Profile Image for The Twins Read.
277 reviews19 followers
January 12, 2015
This review can originally be found at The Twins Read.

Nothing screams good girl like singing church solos, babysitting your nephew and staying out of trouble. At least that's what Amber's definition of good is supposed to be. Good girl Amber also has a dream to sing on bigger stages and become a superstar. When auditions for an art school are dangled in front of her face she grabs at this chance to a new life. But in the span of a few bad decisions, Amber's whole world comes crashing down and she's torn between the good, the bad and everything in between.

I am not a fan of Amber. She's the supposed good girl - singing in church, hanging with friends, doesn't get into any trouble. But then from the get-go she was portrayed as sort of a party girl. She hangs out with hikers in the hopes of getting hot and heavy with one - because no regrets and they're out of town, who's going to spill her secrets right - smoking weed, doing drugs. She came off as a hypocrite and that didn't endear her much to me. The secondary characters weren't any better.

I did not like the plot. It was confusing and messy and I didn't really feel like the story was going anywhere. Amber also makes a lot of stupid decisions that puts people she cares about into trouble. It's incredibly annoying. I wasn't a fan of all the cheating too. It happened again and again and again which made it incredibly hard to finish the book because it was just so...stupid! Add to that the endless stream of pointless drama and I had to resist banging my head up against a wall.

Time and time again we hear about how Amber is such an amazing singer and she is always put on the spot. You know, I got it. She's a great singer. So? Doesn't mean I'll like her any more what with the incredibly asinine choices she's made and, because I'm petty, the overalls she always sports. Her signature, psh. Sure.

All in all, No Place to Fall just wasn't for me. The plot is incredibly slow and nothing really happens throughout the whole book. The whole incident that would supposedly change her family's life was rather anticlimactic and boring. The cheating was a definite downer and Amber is a huge hypocrite.
Profile Image for Gisbelle.
770 reviews218 followers
January 5, 2015
My thanks to HarperTeen & Edelweiss

Point of View: Single (Amber)
Writing: First Person | Present Tense
Setting: Sevenmile, Georgia
Genre: Young Adult | Realistic Fiction

The main problem I had with this book was the characters, especially the main character, Amber. She was just too depressing and a tad pathetic to read and I didn't feel connected to her character whatsoever.

The storyline was okay, generally. However, it was way too drag for my liking. The book started out somehow interesting, but it just didn't stay that way in my opinion. Amber had to go through some terrible family stuff, but still I felt pretty much nothing for her. Too much drama for me; thanks, but no thanks.

In short, I didn't like the characters which was a bummer since I had such a high expectation for this book. It just wasn't a book for me.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,323 followers
January 17, 2016
I'm being a deadbeat about writing reviews right now, but I liked this one a lot, especially the cast of characters, the Appalachian setting, Amber's passion for singing, her mother's little evolution, and that on the whole this was considerably edgier than I'd expected it to be. Which...is a lot of things to "especially," but, you know, that's a good thing!
Profile Image for Bethany Crandell.
Author 3 books323 followers
May 14, 2014
THIS book is why I love contemporary fiction! Real life situations told in an entertaining way with the perfect amount of sass, sarcasm, wit, tangled emotions and, oh yeah, hawt boys who reduce me to little more than a cougar.

A fun, endearing read that had me burning through the pages!
Profile Image for Sara Raasch.
Author 12 books5,729 followers
February 28, 2013
I have a feeling this book is going to be that kind of magically moving story that hooks you and never lets you go. Singing! Dreams! Family drama! Can't wait for this one :D
Profile Image for Christy.
609 reviews247 followers
December 8, 2014
No Place to Fall is a book that I was really looking forward to, it sounded amazing and I adore that cover. Going into it, I was expecting to fall in love with these characters and this story. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book but there were just a few things that I had an issue with and those ended up being enough for me to drop the rating a little bit.

Amber has always been the good girl, she goes to church every Sunday, sings in the choir and spends most of the time with her nephew, Cody and her best friend, Devon. That is until she gets the taste of freedom during the summer, she thought that she would leave it all behind and go back to her good girl routine once the summer was over, but the truth is, that summer changed her.

This one had all the promise to be an amazing story, the plot was good, the writing is beautiful, it's just those little things that keep it from going into the 'amazing' territory. Like, at one point I was expecting a love triangle, I mean it had every sign of a love triangle. But it turned out completely different, not that I'm complaining because I'm not a huge fan of love triangles. But the closeness between Amber and one certain guy just didn't make sense if she didn't like him like that.

I also really didn't understand Amber's mom, I don't really want to get into it, but I just don't get how she put up with what she did. But not only did she put up with it, she acted like everything was ok, that really was what got me.

I really liked the whole music aspect of this book, and I liked that Amber and one of the guys had that in common, I feel like he was very supportive and very encouraging when she doubted herself and I loved that.

Overall, No Place to Fall was a one that I was expecting great things from but unfortunately fell short. The story was interesting and I enjoyed seeing Amber grow as a character but it wasn't enough to make up for the little things that didn't work for me.
Profile Image for B.A. Wilson.
2,443 reviews305 followers
April 15, 2016
This book spoke to me in so many ways, from the unique way it connected with music to the small town setting that was a huge part of the charm of the story. I loved the flawed characters and how some of them learned and grew but others couldn't or didn't. They all tugged at my heart, even when I was frustrated with their choices, behaviors, or circumstances.

I liked being thrown into a world and being uncertain about where I wanted the story to go and how I wanted it to end up. It kept things interesting and reminded me how life can change inside small moments. I was never sure what moment might set us on a path that was different from the one I thought we were on. That sounds kind of confusing, but basically, I enjoyed turning the page to find new possibilities and forks in the road.

It’s a gorgeous, well-written, charming story about how anyone, at any age, in any circumstance, can find room to grow and redefine themselves, and it’s the side characters that reminded me of that. Amber, the MC, reminded me how good intentions don’t excuse foolish behaviors, but people slip up sometimes. How you do (or don’t) own your choices defines the kind of person you will be.
Profile Image for A. Rolland.
Author 3 books114 followers
January 17, 2015
So you know those books that make you late for work because you just have to read one more chapter? This was one of them. I love books that just seem effortless because the story flows so easily, and that’s exactly what Jaye Robin Brown has done in No Place to Fall.

Amber is aware (and often embarrassed) of her imperfections, she’s and a dreamer, and she questions things, and she makes mistakes… so basically she’s a teenager. She feels weighed down by her family issues and tests the waters to see if she fits in with those issues. The characterization was spot-on.

The use of lyrics and the music had me grinning in a way similar to This Song Will Save Your Life. The music was almost like another character in the story.

Beautifully done.
Profile Image for Vivi Barnes.
Author 4 books197 followers
January 2, 2015
Oh Amber, Will, Devon, C.A., Sean...you've all stolen a piece of my heart! This book will shred your insides into a million pieces in the most beautiful way possible. Brown's captivating coming of age tale stars Amber Vaughn, a girl torn between what she wants, what her family expects, and what her friends need. The kindness she exhibits toward her friends--even doing something she knows is wrong to help one of her friends--really touched my heart. The characters are so real that you get invested right away, and I found myself shedding more than a few tears throughout the story. I especially loved Amber's kind-hearted, lovable but strong Mama, and appreciated that Jaye Robin Brown showed multiple dimensions of her family.
This story is definitely one of my favorite contemporaries!
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,471 reviews169 followers
October 14, 2014
This book is amazing I mean simply amazing!

I have read lot's of books but this book both broke my heart and then mended it. I Loved Amber, Devon, and of course Will but the author did a great job showing what true friendships are and how a new first love can be both exciting and scary.

All Amber wants to do is sing and be a good girl and hang out with her best friend Devon. But she soon finds a different outlet and this is the outlet that changes her life.She will have to make choices and decisions she has never had to do. Plus she will come face to face with her first love and have to decide what she wants.

This is a must read book that will have you on a heart roller coaster ride!
Profile Image for Samantha Verant.
Author 8 books366 followers
July 23, 2016
I was fortunate to read an early copy of this book and I adored every page, every word, and every character, even the flawed. Jaye has managed to turn this former lover of the paranormal into a die-hard contemporary fiction fan. Jaye's writing is lyrical, her voice taking on a melody of its own. Amber reached into my heart and pulled at the strings. I can't wait to get my hands on the final version of No Place to Fall! Hey, there's a dreamer in all of us!
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews50 followers
March 10, 2015
This review could also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived check it out for more reviews!

This was a real special read. I find that most people are unable to discover something so unique and diverse compared to the regular usual concepts that everyone's used to in a contemporary-romance, but this book had it all. No Place to Fall was something that I had touched upon in at one sitting, falling in love with Brown's words and that every YA reader will have to read.

"I've never even heard him play, but I know, from the sound of his voice, from the look in his eyes, that the guitar is the thing that keeps him together. My instrument is part of me, and I'll never lose it. Nobody can sell it out from under me."

Amber doesn't realize the talent that she has. She feels that her singing skills are just a hobby, something she can rarely sing around the campfire with her friends. This is something deeper and perhaps enjoyable for her than what the average person feels. When she learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides to fulfill her dreams and do it. Her best friend's, Devon's older brother, Will helps Amber prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at ease and relive everything the way a peaceful way would be recognized. And then... tragedy strikes.

I just can't believe that that happened. I never saw it coming, and Brown just made this into a mystery that's contemporary and life changing, adding romance. I guess the image of friendship and people always being there for each other is always present, and this formed this novel, into a climax and a plot with gorgeousness and beauty.

The story was perfect. Everything about it was amazing. I can't really explain to you the feeling of reliving a situation that many people have actually went through, but it is something magical. It was the perfect summer novel to read by the beach, or to dream about at night, though you don't want THAT EVENT to happen to you, because that definitely shattered the family and Amber herself... into someone unbelievable.

"That's not my dream. It's not my music. No matter how bad I want an audience."

You see, Amber has big dreams. I admire the fact that she does, but I DON'T LIKE HER. *rips hair, not literally* She's strange, absurd, and I don't know... snobby? I found that Brown made her someone who's willing to gear herself into reaching for her goals, but not doing anything about it. Yeah, she was reckless and crazy when not at the right moments, but that wasn't what upset me the most. The way she acted towards Will, playing hard-to-get didn't work for her. I felt like face-palming myself over and over again, begging for AMAZINGNESS.

With a gorgeous premise, some tension between the characters, and a memorable set of male characters, Brown is a fantastic author who's novels I will surely keep my eye onto... wanting to sneak some awesome characters into.
Profile Image for Cindy.
202 reviews
November 9, 2014
At a Glance/The Cover:
Thank you so much to Katie @ Katie's Book Blogs for sending me this...along with a whole bunch of bookmarks. :)

I don't think the synopsis interested me much. But the cover looked good. Really good. And there was romance...so I decided to read it right away.

The Characters/My Opinion:
Amber Vaughn - At the beginning, I was really surprised at how this book turned out. Amber Vaughn? Good girl? Yeah, right. There was a whole bunch of talk about drug dealing and drinking. At one point, I was almost yelling at her asking what she's doing? Goodness gracious. Not trying to sound like old, but this girl is wild. And it's ironic how the blurb said she's a good girl. But it's true. Compared to the other characters, she's a good-two-shoes. But that's a part of growing up.

Amber's family had a lot of problems. She wasn't shy to tell us. She was just like 'Yeah, my family's messed up. Real messed up' And I agree. Which makes things a bit more realistic. People go to jail. There's drug dealing. Wild parties. Brown wasn't shy to put in the problems that happens throughout the country nowadays. Teenagers doing drugs, having sex? Totally happening!

So, in a way, this book reminds me of all the English literature books I have to read for the summer. They would talk about all the discrimination and problems US had.

In No Place to Fall, Amber learns how to get through this and realize her dream. And how she fits into everything.

Devon - Devon is Amber's gay best friend. Of course, he's gotta be cute. And funny and outgoing and super perfect. But he does end up liking someone and ditched Amber for awhile. I was disappointed in him, but he acted like any friend would. One should say, when you're friend's dating someone else, they won't be around you no longer. It's true. I've had it happen to me...

Will McKinney - I expected Will to be a bad boy from the way Amber described him. But he turns out to be a lot better than I thought. Their complicated, mashed up feelings and relationship is definitely worth reading about. I think I would read this whole book for these two. I loved seeing how Amber and Will sorted through their mess and tried to be together.

Oh. And I forgot to mention. Will is Devon's older brother. But I think the summary states that also...

And then there's also others like Cheerleader Amber, Kush, and Sean that adds to the story. I really like C.A. It's hard to actually find a nice, friendly cheerleader whose supportive in books.

Overall Thoughts:
This was a book with a plotline that went to a full circle. That's a good thing. There was a beginning and an end. There was a problem. There was a solution. Everything is perfect. :)
Profile Image for Donna.
1,045 reviews559 followers
September 30, 2014
No Place to Fall follows sixteen year old Amber Vaughan – a good girl who sings solos at her local church, always does her homework, and helps out her family with babysitting her baby nephew and also trying to keep her family together. But Amber’s one release is visiting the hikers that travel through the Appalachian Trails near her home and releasing all her pent up frustration by being a bit wild, making out with strange guys and getting drunk. She’d be mortified if anyone other than her best friend Devon ever found out. But when Amber learns of an audition for the chance to go to a School of the Arts in North Carolina to sing, Amber realizes her dream of singing is something she want to peruse but as she tries, her family life keeps dragging her down. Even with the help of Will, Devon’s older brother Amber isn’t sure she can do it and ultimately leaving her final choice to decide between right and wrong because of the mistakes that Amber has made along the way.

I’m not sure where to start with this review because No Place to Fall sounds like the perfect summer read. It started out well but as I read more and more, I really started to not enjoy it. At first I enjoyed getting to know the characters but it became quickly obvious that there weren’t many likeable characters throughout the story. Amber was I guess, okay. I didn’t feel the connection with her and I keep rolling my eyes at some of the things she said and especially some of her actions. I think the main issue I had with the story was Amber’s family. They were all completely unlikable and dysfunctional and they didn’t do anything to redeem themselves by the end of the story. Amber’s sister, brother-in-law and father being the main culprits. And then there was Will. Will is the love interest for Amber. I liked him but at times he treated Amber poorly. I didn’t think he could redeem himself and he did slightly but still, I’m not sure I could completely forgive him for the way he behaved at the start.

The plot of the story was okay. I couldn’t connect to the way all of the characters seems to have a deep connection with music that they would just start jamming or singing in the middle of the street.

In all, No Place to Fall simply wasn’t for me. I wish it was something I enjoyed more but there were too many factors that made me dislike the story.

Thank you to HarperTeen for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer Strand.
510 reviews41 followers
March 21, 2016
Original review posted at www.fictitiousdelicious.com on 12/05/14:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I'm not sure I've ever felt so torn about whether a book is pure genius or just...not. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I almost stopped reading this book at less than 50 pages in. The language went as far as offensive at one point and I wasn't sure I could keep going. I reminded myself that these are words these characters would use and it's set in a part of the country that I've never spent a great deal of time in. Different types of language is used in North Carolina and Minnesota, dontcha know. It still bothered me, but I pushed through. And I'm really glad I did.

Once the plot kicks in, this book became unputdownable. As I stated so eloquently in my Goodreads status update at 35% in, "I'm a little bit repulsed and a lot bit intrigued by this story." I came to appreciate the flaws in these characters, the dysfunction of the families, and the horrible decisions made over and over again. It fit, you know? And weaved between all of this was a ray of hope. Hope for Amber, especially. (Though I held out almost as much hope for her mother and her situation.) And then the end happened.

OK, listen. Things get messy in Amber's life. Like, reeeeeally messy. My heart hurt so much because Jaye Robin Brown convinced me that life in Amber's town could really only end up one way and it saddened me. She did TOO good of a job in convincing me because when the ending came up, I was...disappointed. Now, I'm going to be in the minority on this opinion, trust me. It just didn't fit the way things in Amber's world worked up to that point.

I'd still recommend this book to teen readers. It shows the importance of appreciating where you came from and being honest about who you are. In the end, I'm a fan of Amber Plain & Simple and the lessons she learns. Including the lesson in which she learned to sing Ave Maria while accompanied by the banjo.
Profile Image for Jen Hawkins.
Author 2 books54 followers
January 28, 2015
I am way behind on writing reviews, but I *HAD* to stop and write this one.

It has been a long time since I loved a book like I loved this one. I spent a lot of my formative years traipsing through the trails of western North Carolina, and Amber Vaughn was as alive to me as many of my friends from high school. Jaye Robin Brown created the most authentic sense of place and people. It didn't hurt that I recognized 90% of the songs Amber sang for her audition practices. I could hear the banjo playing in my head as I read.

The friendships were so complex and real. The ups and downs of high school friends are always so messy, and Jaye did a fantastic job of showing this. And the romance! Oh, the romance. I pictured Will as a young Scott Avett. Even when he made a total dick move (or two), just like a high school boy, I was rooting for him to redeem himself. There's something about those banjo boys.

It took guts to tell this story, and I absolutely LOVE that the author didn't shy away from the real issues that teenagers face. She didn't pigeonhole her characters. It isn't just the sluts who have sex. Or the stoners who try drugs. And it most certainly isn't just the "bad" kids who make bad decisions. Even Sammy, whom I hated with the fiery passion of an untreated urinary tract infection, showed little glimpses of humanity here and there.

I won't write a complete synopsis here, since others have already done it. I will suffice it to say that Jaye Robin Brown will be an automatic purchase for me from here on out. FIVE ENTHUSIASTIC STARS.
Profile Image for Natasha (books_n_dreams).
295 reviews5 followers
August 13, 2015
So my feelings for this book are kind of all over the place, even after sleeping on it and thinking about it. It's not that I didn't like the book, it's just not exactly what I thought it would be. The book was cute and I did like the main character, but at times the entire situation that was going on got a little confusing, meaning I had a hard time keeping up with each character and the point of them in the story. By the time I got 2/3s of the way done I did have it down, I was just upset that it took that long to really get to the point of everything.

The main character Amber, I do love her innocence but at the same time she wants to live and experience things without doing the wrong thing. But with what happens, I was really shocked on how well she handled it, I figured she would've been broken down but in the end she wasn't and I really loved that about the character.

I really did enjoy the other characters Will, Devon, C.A, Sean and Ambers' Mama, they really did add a lot to the story in their own ways.

I really loved the last third of the book, cause I felt like things changed directions and started to pick up. It really made me to stay more devoted to the book. It definitely was a lot more emotional than I though the story would be, but again in the end the book was good, just not one of my favorites.
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