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Embassy Row #1

All Fall Down

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A new series of global proportions -- from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

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.

310 pages, Hardcover

First published January 20, 2015

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About the author

Ally Carter

49 books15.3k followers
Ally Carter writes books about sneaky people and movies about Christmas. She is the New York Times Best-selling author of the Gallagher Girls, Heist Society, and Embassy Row series for teens as well as WINTERBORNE HOME FOR VENGEANCE AND VALOR for younger readers. Her books have been published all over the world, in over twenty languages.

She encourages you to visit her online at allycarter.com and embassyrowbooks.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,441 reviews
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews169k followers
May 26, 2020
I randomly picked this up off my shelves the other day and plowed my way through it pretty quickly. There are definitely things within this book that you have to suspend your disbelief for, because some things that go down are a bit outlandish. I loved the group of characters that form to work together on breaking down the mystery at hand and the plot went in such a unexpected direction that left me pleasantly surprised. I will say that there is a major over use of the word crazy... could've taken out 50 and we would've gotten the point. Overall though, this was entertaining and I'll definitely be working my way through the trilogy!
Profile Image for Jess.
446 reviews596 followers
January 19, 2015
Diplomacy, ambiguity and a hot Russian love interest. Sorry, Jess will have to get back to you. She’s currently nursing her book hangover.

I know my last review was all about the book of my dreams and whatnot, but All Fall Down was basically an element of reality that I'm quite close to and the best that imagination can offer and it's made me wonder “Why weren’t you creative enough to dream that up, Jess?” Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, seeing as it’s only January and all, but that may have been the best book I’ve read in a long while. Alright, so since last week. But as you can see, I’m rather smitten by this book. Because it combined a concept that I know all too well about together with the joys of the thriller genre and an ounce of conspiracy.

We all know that I’m weak with the contemporary. Truthfully, I’m weak with all contemporaries but one. While I detest those sob fests (I can’t connect) that are meant to mirror life and all its imperfections and whatnot, I adore contemporary thrillers. Because I like murder tales. Not the murder (oh joy, here’s my murder disclaimer once again. I don’t like murder. I’m just interested by the thrill of the chase for justice.) Ally Carter does something that has yet to be touched in YA. Which is a feat in itself, because what out there hasn’t been given the YA makeover. Embassy kiddies and a murder mystery. Sign me up.

Fun fact: January 2015 was only ever about two books for me. Conspiracy of Us and All Fall Down. Reading for this month is pretty much complete for me. In between waiting for the two, I’ve been slumping. Nothing’s been holding my attention. But these two, I devoured them in a matter of hours. I inflated my own expectations. They exceeded it. 2015 has been good to me, thus far.

Ally Carter presents us with Grace. Child of a dead mother and deployed military father. Sent of to live with her Grandfather, US ambassador, stationed in Adria. It’s all about diplomacy on Embassy Row. The thing with embassies is, they’re always clumped together. And seeing as each block of land is representative of the nation itself, tensions are always high around the embassy blocks. One wrong step, one mistake on foreign soil and it’s an international scandal.

“We must respect our host country and we must respect our neighbours.”… “Sometimes the walls that stand between us and our neighbours are all that stand between our country and war.”

Grace hasn’t been back on embassy row since her mother was murdered right before her eyes. And now she’s plagued with a bunch of memories that she’d much rather forget and a desire to bring justice to her mother, to defend her honour, to unearth her killer—the Scarred Man. Only, the thing with being a kid is that you’re less likely to gain respect. Especially from a adults who are trained, and who base their career off being vague, politically correct and morally ambiguous (your country first, and if anything disastrous should happen, your country should assume a facade of innocence).

The portrayal of Embassy Row is completely on point. While it’s all manners and polite and courteous smiles, the air is tense. One step out of line and it’s a domino effect. Carter builds this atmosphere with utter delicacy. I adored it. I’m a tad skeptical of the fact that you can be posted in one country for so long (it’s a moving job), but hey, that’s fiction. You gotta give a little leeway and let the imagination take over, right?

We follow Grace’s journey as she attempts to prove her credibility. As a character, I adored her. We get an extremely unreliable narrator, which may do a couple of heads in, but to me, it added to the charm of All Fall Down. The book is littered with what appears to be flashbacks, but as we proceed, it becomes rather blurry and hard to differentiate between flashback and hallucination. Grace’s sass, however, won over my heart. Holy hell, that girl is just perfectly sarcastic. What segregates me from YA protagonists, and often becomes a barrier for empathy, is the fact that many of our protagonists are rather submissive. Which isn’t a bad trait. But it’s just hard for me to personally understand. Grace isn’t demure and shy, she doesn’t lack confidence and fear the spotlight. Which is something that I’ve been searching for in a protagonist. Because if they’re meant to be a reflection of the young adult, it’s a rather one dimensional view of us. I don’t want to speak on anybody else’s behalf but man, I used (sometimes still ha!) to think I could own the world. And there was no way I was going to let someone else topple me over. She’s got sass and now that I’ve had a taste of it, I demand more.

We’ve also got a great selection of secondary characters. They’re all rather individual, and I believe that with time, and the following sequels, their backstories will surely be developed in greater detail. There are two males named. I mention that because everyone likes to jump ahead and toot the big love triangle horn. There is no love triangle. There is one potential love interest and a newly acquired best friend. Noah is an absolutely hilarious and rather endearing character. He’s the type that just grows on you. He’s a perfect contrast to Grace’s characterisation, and a fantastic friend. While she is plagued with mystery and ambiguity, he is all about clarity and a dose of reality. And a complete sweetheart.

Those who are familiar with Carter’s work will know that she does love extremely lightly. All Fall Down does not stray away from that pattern. Carter knows a thing or two about slow burn, let me tell you. She’ll let you burn on forever and you’ll be begging for a something—a sign, a touch, a look. That also translates to: Grace, our protagonist, does not use love to procrastinate from her mission for justice. She does not fall prey to transcendental love. For our little Gracie here, we have Alexei. Yes, a Russian kiddie. You should all know that I have two week spots in life: royalty and Russian men. While we got both elements in this one, Alexei completely whisked me away. Brother’s best friend. That’s who he is. And between the bit of witty banter shared between the two and the fact that he’s a complete gentlemen, I’m kind of sold. I told you, Carter knows her slow burn.

The thing with Carter is, she does simplistic writing. But it’s extremely addictive. It’s a formula that I’ve yet to read elsewhere. Normally I like my writing with a bounty of obscure metaphors (I’m kind of partial to those) and lyricism that would surely drive you all up the wall, but when it comes to Carter, I give that Jess a break. Because Carter’s writing always has me hooked. She knows her dialogue, she knows how to describe actions and movements and secret glances with absolute accuracy. It’s all about realism when it comes to her writing. Her dialogue is always extremely witty, which is something that I love. And her scenes transition with fantastic fluidity. So forget the metaphors, for once in your life. Carter knows how to sell the whole “less is more” idea.

Be warned though, with the conclusion to All Fall Down one thing for sure is that this series is heading down a completely different direction. One that I’ve been screaming at YA to do for a while. So I’m totally alright with it all. I won’t say much about it, just because you’ve got to experience it for yourself (although, some may just know, now that I’ve been all vague and whatnot). Carter may have my soul because I want that second book.

Basically All Fall Down has ruined me. It pulled me out of my slump, gave me the best story of my life (an element—not the murder—of this book hits home for me, so be warned, like all things, this may not be for everyone), and has now said, see you in 2016 kiddo. Carter brings forth a completely delicate and precarious setting and places a protagonist who is willing to burrow for the truth at the heart of it. Things get shaken up in this delectable read. Jess reads too deeply into the interactions of two certain characters (and hopes that Carter will give her more to work with in book two). All Fall Down has stolen my heart, and head, for the rest of January, if not the rest of the year. Read it for a breath of fresh air. Read it for a slow burning romance. Read it for the impeccable cast. I guess this review came sooner than later.

Can everyone do me a favour and just read this book? Carter has my heart. You know the deal, review to come.

I, of all people, had the most inflated expectations out there. I hyped this one up for myself, based on blurb alone. That's right, I did the unthinkable, the no-no when it comes to highly anticipated books. Guess what? Expectations met and exceeded. I am one happy duck right here. Plus, there's a lovely Russian love interest and y'all know how I get when that happens.

Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,830 reviews2,188 followers
September 3, 2015
3.5 stars

All Fall Down is my first Ally Carter book and I must say, it's an enjoyable read. The age level is a little lower than I usually read, I would classify this book as a middle grade for ages 12-16. It is the perfect type of book for transitioning young readers out of the chapter books and into the Young Adult/Teen genre.

Three years after witnessing her mother's death Grace is sent to live with her ambassador grandfather in a country that borders Iran. Grace used to spend her summers at the embassy as a child and is already familiar with the area and the politics. While here, Grace discovers that the man she believes to have murdered her mother is here as well, and she sets about on a plan to bring him down.

This is one of the more interesting plots I've read in the young adult genre, lots of modern day politics and espionage are afoot. I'm not really used to reading a simpler type of book and that's why this book received a 3.5 star review from me. Plus, I found the ending to be highly unbelievable.

I think many teens, girls and boys, could relate very well to Grace and her situation. No, not all teens are able to deal with inter-political plots between countries, but they will relate to Grace and her struggle for adults to take her seriously. The adults in this book did not believe Grace when she went to them for help, leaving her feeling useless and helpless, something many teens feel like a lot of the time. I liked that Grace did what most teens (and people) want to do, and she took matters into her own hands and tried to unravel the mystery of her mother's death herself.

I would have liked more development between Grace and the character of Alexei. I still at this point cannot determine if he was a love interest or not. He just sort of popped in and then would disappear for various amounts of time. It felt really random. Hopefully that will be resolved in the next installment.

ARC kindly provided to me by my boss. Who received this from the publisher. So I guess the ARC was indeed provided by the publisher. It just wasn't intended for me. Muahaha!
589 reviews1,031 followers
June 11, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

3.5 stars

Being someone who hasn't read anything by Ally Carter before, I went into this book... not expecting all that much. But knowing that Ms. Carter's previous books have all been something along the lines of a mystery thriller-y espionage kinda thing, let me assure you now, this isn't anything like that. Heck, this book is definitely something that I wouldn't think you've picked up beforehand. It's original right to it's roots. All Fall Down combines a world of diplomacy and the repercussions of death into one fun mess--I told you this wasn't like anything you've read before.

Grace Blakely is one of those characters you really wanna love and sympathise with. She lost her mother at the age of 13 and she was there to see it happen. Grace doesn't even get to see her father or brother anymore because they're both away on duty as they're soldiers. And her grandfather? He's the US Ambassador and now Grace has to live with him in Adria. It also happens to be the place where her mother was murdered right in front of her eyes. Not that anyone would believe Grace, for they all say the death was an accident.

My first impression on Ally Carter was that she's a genius. A GENIUS, I TELL YOU. Why? Because I absolutely loved the idea of a place where all the embassy houses happen to be on the same street and for each step you make, you could be visiting the other side of the world. For instance, the Russian embassy is next door to the US embassy. Take a step out of the US half and BAM you're basically in Russia. I mean, we have embassies in existence in the real world but to incorporate it into a story line? I repeat, GENIUS. Though, I would recommend people to have some understanding of embassies and how they work in our world before heading into this book, because I imagine it can be a little confusing at the start for some when nothing is yet explained.

Anyway, back to Grace. *coughs* I totally didn't get carried away there. *coughs again* I wanted to love the girl. Her situation is pretty unfortunate and well, witnessing your own mother's death? That's just unimaginably horrific and traumatic. But, Grace turned out to be a really annoying girl who loved to jump to conclusions instead. I mean, there's this scene where Grace comes across a girl who's got a pretty face and seems to hold an authoritative voice, and Grace seems to just loose all reason and starts going on and on about how that chick must be one of those kind of girls. Like what the hell? You just met her!

What I did expect to see in All Fall Down was a romance. I don't know how that idea got into my brain but... all YA novels seem to have romances these days, so I guess I automatically drilled that into my mind. ANYWAY. There isn't necessarily a romance in this book. While I can foresee one appearing in the future instalments, this book was purely character and plot driven. I do believe Alexei is supposed to be the love interest. I mean, hello? Hot Russian dude? Personally, I wasn't a fan of him. He has this cold demeanor and he's so domineering. I barely understood the guy, honestly. BUT, then there's Noah. *squees* HE'S MIIIIIINE. He's half Israeli and half Brazillian. He spends half his time in the Israel embassy and the rest in the Brazillian embassy. It's pretty awesome if you ask me. And what else is awesome? The fact that Noah is a totally adorable and sweet guy who has the best humour and made me chuckle on multiple occasions. Can I please have a Noah too? 
'OK,' he says. 'First lesson.'
Noah broadens his stance, taking his place firmly on the embassy side of the threshold. 'In the United States,' he says. Then, with both feet, he leaps on to the sidewalk. 'Out of the United States.' Quickly, he jumps back toward me. 'In the United States.' Another jump across the threshold. 'Out of the United States. In. Out. In --'
'Is this the part where I hit you?'

Other than that, I would've liked to see more political involvement in this book. I'm not sure if I'm being just plain picky here but I love love loved the whole embassy idea being presented in a novel, and taking it up a notch in the upcoming instalments would be very much appreciated, because I can see that Ms. Carter definitely has to skills to make it work.

If you want a fun and quick read with a little more substance and politics than your typical lighthearted contemporary, this is one I'd highly recommend. 

~Thank you Scholastic Australia for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Gabs .
484 reviews74 followers
July 21, 2015
OMG. This was so. Good. Definitely different than anything that Ally Carter has written before, but in a good way. NEXT BOOK PLEASE.

Pre-Read Thoughts:

Could it be? YES! Another Ally Carter is writing another book! Another, WONDERFUL book!



Ally Carter is amazing, and it will be perfect since I need something after finishing GG!

But wait. 2015!? HOW CAN I WAIT THAT LONG ?????

Well, I guess I can wait. But it will be hard! SO VERY HARD!


EDIT: 10/6/14


Profile Image for Marga .
290 reviews319 followers
February 15, 2015
This review is also posted on DEADLY DARLINGS.

Actual Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Grace saw her mother murdered right before her eyes but no one believes her. They say it was an accident, that her mother was killed in the fire, but she knew the truth. Her mother was shot in the chest by a scarred man. But she was thirteen and they say that’s just trauma that’s talking so nobody believed her.

Anyway, she was back in Adria again after three years and decided to stay for good. In her stay, she discovered that the man whom she believed killed her mother was here as well. So with the help of friends, she went to follow and observe this man and she felt really close now in figuring out what really happened in the night her mother died. Why did he kill her mother?

Well, well, well. She definitely didn’t saw that answers, that revelations coming.

Lesson: Sometimes, you just have to learn your boundaries, your limitations. We can never un-know things.

Maybe sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

I liked Grace, our heroine. She was sarcastic and unafraid to speak her mind yet she was also fragile and really vulnerable. She was a very unreliable narrator. She started to doubt even herself when no one took her proclamations seriously and I actually felt sad for her. She felt really helpless and alone.

I like the friendships in this book. Can I just say that I love Noah? He’s just adorable. He just introduced himself to Grace one day and said that he was her best friend. Anyway even though I liked the relationships here, it wasn’t perfect because it wasn’t developed enough. You know, this felt like a sort of introduction, like the author is just preparing us for more to come. Maybe we’ll see more of them in the next books.

The romance: There’s not much room for romance here mainly because Grace wasn’t really in the right state for that. She was lost and she felt a little crazy even. Anyway, I really think Alexei will be her love interest in this series even though he just sort of appeared here really randomly. I ship it! Their relationship is somewhat forbidden though because Alexei’s Russian and they’re nations aren’t really strong allies. At first, I thought there's a love triangle but there's none so yaay!

The Setting: I loved the setting of this one! Embassy Row was literally like a lot of embassies next to each other, each representing a different country. Technically if you went to another side and you didn’t have permission, you can start a war between nations. I think Ally Carter can really expand this. There’s a lot of potential, there can be a lot of surprise villains and conspiracies and whatnots. I’m definitely looking forward to where she will bring this story.

As a reader of works by Ally Carter before, I can definitely say that the first book is the somewhat the weakest in her series. Say for example, Gallagher Academy. But I also know that her books improve as the series goes on so I have no doubt that I will love the preceding installments even more than this.

*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchanged of an honest review.
Profile Image for Lainey.
261 reviews1,571 followers
June 29, 2016
Actual Rating: 3.5/5

So I did really really enjoy this book. I wasn't sure what I was expecting going into this, but this was not what I was expecting at all (in a good way!)

I am really interested in YA Political Thrillers right now, so I picked this book up because of that. It is extremely easy to get through and it's fairly short. The reason I knocked off a star and a half is really simple:

Plot/Story > Characters.

I really liked this storyline and the mystery of it had me questioning everything. Plus, our main character, Grace, is an unreliable narrator and I LOVED that, it even got me thinking and wondering if I was right or wrong. Now, with that being said, that was the only part of Grace's character I found complex. Her character as a whole was kind of... frustrating? I felt like she was 2-D 1/2, not quite as complex as I wanted her to be and not as well rounded. I actually found this with the majority of the characters in this book. We never got a real sense of who they were and what they were about. And not in a "ooo this is the mystery of it all" way but more of a "these characters are unfinished" kind of way. Not to mention Alexei, who is Russian and by default I must love him, was very disappointing as a chracter.

I will be continuing with the series because I love the plotline that is going and based on the ending, I can see this opening wide up. However, I'm not sure if my feelings on the characters will change based on the fact that I think this is just how they are written.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,395 followers
January 5, 2017
I have no full review coming for this as I simply skimmed the book. It was interesting for the most part, but I wasn't invested in the characters or the story. I think this was just a bit too childish for me, unfortunately.

Also, just to also, this book does feature slut shaming which I am incredibly against.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
July 1, 2016
5 Words: Politics, family, death, memories, lies.

Having read Ally Carter before I was expecting action and intrigue and sass and teenage boys that act more like they're 25 than 15. I was not expecting this.

And I was actually a little bit disappointed.

It was a good read, a quick read, but it was rather slow in pace. It felt like there was quite a bit of unnecessary filler in the pages. Even with this, a few of the characters just fell flat, 2D images hovering in the corner.

There are teeny tiny hints at romance, but nothing you could really latch on to. I thought it was a bit of a shame, as even a little more development of these hints would have given the story more depth.

All that said, I did enjoy this. And that twist at the end - the twist that I felt made the book - has made sure I'll read on. It hinted at all of the things I felt were missing and I can't wait.

I loved how unreliable Grace was too, those last pages completely changed my perception of her. And it was very brave.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
January 14, 2015
This my first book by Ally Carter and although I wasn’t sure what to expect, I really liked All Fall Down. Even better, I’m really excited to read the next book! When I first heard about this book, I thought it would be a dystopia. But this is actually a contemporary/mystery. I must be really ignorant because I didn’t know that the Embassy Row is a real place in the United States. I’m not sure if this is exactly how it’s portrayed in the book since the book takes place in Adria and it seems like it’s more than just buildings representing different countries because in this book you can be in the United States and take a few steps and technically you’re now in Russia. We also hear about shops in here and a lot of people and their families live on Embassy Row. I would have really liked to have seen a visualization or map of how the Embassy Row in the books is supposed to look like, because it sounds fascinating!

When her dad and brother are serving time in the military, Grace is sent back to live in Embassy Row with her grandfather who also happens to be the Ambassador for the United States. Being back in Adria means being back to the place where Grace’s mom was killed three years ago. A murder that she witnessed but that nobody will believe, no matter how many therapy sessions and meds she’s taken since then. Grace has a hard time being back in the place where her mother died at first, but when Noah assigns himself as Grace’s new best friend, things start looking up for Grace. She’s used to getting in trouble, but here in Embassy Row, getting into trouble can be a very dangerous thing. Despite the fact that, for the moment, all the embassies are in peace with each other, there is always this underlying tension. One wrong move can mean all-out-war. Grace is scared she will be that wrong move.

After being sure that the person who killed her mother is in Adria, Grace enlists the help of Noah, Megan and Rosie to help her catch the guy. But no matter how sure Grace is that her mother was killed and that her killer is ready to strike again, all the facts say that the fire that killed her mother was an accident. When Grace’s sanity and mental state are questioned, she doesn’t know who to trust or what is real and what is a made up memory. I really liked the mystery element of the story, always kept me guessing. I really liked the friendship between Grace and Noah and how that friendship eventually included Megan and Rosie, who were always willing to risk everything to help Grace. We also meet Alexei, Grace’s older brother’s longtime best friend and son of the Russian Ambassador. I wasn’t sure what to make of Alexei at first, is he the enemy, is he a potential love interest, or is he simply her brother’s best friend. I did love the few moments we got between them and wanted more. (I’m putting my money on him being the love interest). Grace was such a fun character. She was fearless and sarcastic and a little bit of a daredevil. But her not being able to trust her own mind or her memories, added a level of vulnerability that just made her more likable.

What kept me from loving this book, is that not only is there a lack of romance (which I’m okay with), but I’m not even sure who the love interest is supposed to be. We have Noah, the best friend who is determined to help out Grace find her mother’s killer. They spend a lot of time together and have a really great and playful friendship. But that was all I saw/felt between them. I NEVER once got the vibe that they like each other as more than friends or are even attracted to each other. Plus, most of the time, Noah is crushing on their friend Megan. But there are some readers who think he might be the love interest. Then we have Alexei who has this really complicated almost volatile relationship with Grace. She resents that Alexei is probably looking after her as a favor to her brother. She is mean to him sometimes (he knows how to dish it back) and they argue more than anything. But they was always this underlying tension and chemistry between them that I really liked. I wanted to see more of it, but Alexei rarely comes out. I’m about 80% sure Alexei is supposed to be the love interest (this doesn’t have a love triangle vibe to it, not yet at least) and if so, I think the romance part will be strong and worth the wait in the next book. I hope!

All Fall Down was a fun story with a unique premise that keeps you guessing with every new revelation. While I had guessed a few things (only because I always have a million theories) there were still some big things that took me by surprise. My favorite part of the book was the setting. OMG, the world created in Embassy Row was so damn fascinating! With the different embassies and properties and lands with their exotic shops and hidden underground tunnels, I fell in love with this setting. I’m sad that I have to wait so long for book 2 because I really want more!

4 out of 5 stars!

Read full review & more of my reviews at Mostly YA Book Obsessed

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Profile Image for Olivia.
126 reviews165 followers
May 17, 2015
I read All Fall Down as a buddy read with Kathy from The Novelty of Life and Cassandra from ccbooks66512. Overall, I found it to be a combination of mildly intriguing and tremendously frustrating, and I seem to be struggling to rate it (I apologize to those of you who have been watching me change the rating back and forth between two and three stars for the past hour).  I’ve finally settled on two stars and am trying to restrain myself from making any further changes.  

Grace is an army brat, never settling in one area for an extended period of time.  She’s also the granddaughter of a U.S. ambassador, spending each summer at Embassy Row alongside other children her age.  This summer, however, Embassy Row isn’t characterized by the usual fun, carefree attitude.  Instead, it serves as a vivid reminder for Grace of her mother’s death.  Having witnessed the traumatic incident, Grace is convinced that her mother was murdered at the hands of a frightening man with a jagged scar across his face.  Afterward, however, Grace is told that her mother’s death was accidental due to smoke inhalation.  Refusing to discredit her memories of the event, Grace remains adamant that her mother’s death was no accident.
“Yes, it was dark,” I snap back. “Yes, I was young, and it was traumatic. Yes, I have never been the most reliable girl in the world, but I know what I saw. And I’m telling you, I saw a man with a scar on his left cheek shoot my mother. I heard the bomb that burned her shop to the ground.” 
She undergoes years of psychiatric treatment but is unable to forget the incident.  When she returns to Embassy Row for the summer, she realizes that there may be more going on than what initially meets the eye.  Deciding to dig a little deeper into a series of mysterious occurrences, Grace realizes that she must choose her friends carefully.

I wasn’t immediately hooked when I began reading - the first 150 pages were very slow and a bit heavy on the political interactions between countries.  Having minimal knowledge about international relations, I found these sections to be particularly boring, and I ended up skimming most of them.  Midway through the book, however, the action picked up significantly, but seemed to fade away, only to reappear in fits and starts.  The resulting, unpleasant lurching speed of the plot left a little to be desired, but this was made up for by a few plot twists that I certainly did not see coming (I don't want to elaborate any further because it would make this review quite spoiler-heavy).

This was my second foray into Ally Carter’s writing - I read I’d Tell You I Loved You But Then I’d Have to Kill You about a year ago, and that went over like a lead balloon, full rant here.  But I allowed someone to convince me to give her books another chance, and I still wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed.  Once again, I found that Carter’s writing style was geared more toward a younger audience (although this could simply be me “outgrowing” young adult books).  I thought the plot was oversimplified - it could have been much more complex and likely would have better held my attention.

On a similar note, there wasn't much character development throughout the course of the novel.  The main characters in particular were extremely static, changing minimally, if at all.  Grace, who served as the first person narrator, shed a very immature light on events as they unfolded, failing to consider the consequences of her actions or to view a situation from someone else's perspective.  I would generally associate such a trait with a more juvenile character, but seeing as Grace was nearly a legal adult, I found the characteristic to be a bit out of place.  She also had a tendency to assume a whiny tone and mental attitude when things didn't go precisely her way.  I did not realize that I would be dealing with a tempermental toddler when I began reading.

As the narrative continued, it became increasingly difficult to distinguish between flashbacks and hallucinations.  While this was likely intentional, it became a bit confusing to the point that I was forced to reread several chapters simply to decipher when said events were occuring. Consequently, Grace was a fairly unreliable narrator - it was nearly impossible at times to differentiate between reality and Grace's twisted yet not entirely truthful perception of a situation. 

The secondary characters shared one thing in common: they all lacked back stories.  Perhaps this is something that will be addressed in later books in the series, but they all felt like flat, lifeless pieces of cardboard to me.  It would have been nice to learn a bit about the past, particularly since Grace's recollection of it is so jumbled. 

The romantic aspect of the novel is where it starts to get a little tricky - while there are two male characters with close relationships to Grace, there is no love triangle (which is a huge relief, at least in my book). Alexei, who lives in the Russian sector of Embassy Row served as Grace's brother's best friend and an older brother figure for Grace, always looking out for her and keeping her best interests in mind. Noah, on the other hand, serves as more of a romantic interest throughout the novel...but nothing happens between Grace and Noah. Whatsoever. Leaving me enraged and extremely disappointed (which is never a good combination).  

While I commend Carter for her originality and perseverance in regard to her writing, I found myself unable to move past several components of this book. Between the characters, plot, and pacing, I found this book turned reading into a chore - I was determined to complete the novel in the hopes of some magical, drastic improvement in these respects, but to no avail. I had fairly high hopes for All Fall Down, and while it didn't meet many of my expectations, my nagging curiosity will likely prompt me to continue on with the series. And who knows, I may be pleasantly surprised with the remainder of the series!
Profile Image for Katherine.
770 reviews350 followers
November 7, 2017
”’I don’t mean to get into trouble. Trouble just sort of finds me.’”

Synopsis:Donald Trump’s long-lost sixteen-year-old makes it her mission in life to start WWIII when she moves to Embassy Row, making daddy dearest very proud.

Unnecessary Fictional Country: At first glance, I thought this book was set in Washington D.C.. However, I was mistaken. While Grace Blakely is American and the granddaughter of an American ambassador, this book is set in the very much fictional country of Adria somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Now, this may be just me giving out a ‘she’s just a party pooper’ statement, but the whole time I was reading it, I was thinking to myself, ‘Why on Earth didn’t the author just set it in Washington D.C.?’ Because for those of you who don’t know, there is an actual Embassy Row in Washington D.C. that functions very much like the Embassy Row in the fictional nation of Adria. It’s where all the foreign ambassadors live and work. So why on Earth would the author create a fictional nation to serve the same purpose a very real-life place does? It would’ve made a whole lot more sense, particularly since the setting of Adria serves no actual purpose in the novel (other than the setting). It seemed a little ridiculous to me.

I Hate Everyone- Especially Girls: The girl on girl hate is REAL in this book, y’all. Grace hates everyone (as it becomes increasingly clear, and treats everyone around her like dirt. Yes, I know she has panic attacks and is driven by the firm belief that her mother wasn’t killed in an accident (she was murdered), but that doesn’t excuse her behavior in the slightest. I actually admired it when one of the girls called it out on her that she was acting like a bitch, but it didn’t improve her behavior in the slightest. But like I said, while she doesn’t like anyone in this book, she a) doesn’t improve in her behavior to resolve the situation, and b)dishes out the girl on girl hate as readily as the Great Trumpkin dishes out insults to others. Frankly, it was appalling and didn’t make for a likable main character you are supposed to root for.

Adults Aren’t Always Evil: It gets even better with Grace. Not only does she hate peers her own age, she especially hates adults. Particularly Ms. Chancellor and her grandfather. Her grandfather I can kind of understand, since he was bit of a douchbag covered in Southern charm. However, I could see no probably reason for her hatred towards other adults, other than the fact that she blamed them all for not believing her that her mother’s death wasn’t an accident. Any help they tried to give her, she pushed them away, something that I don’t take as a good sign for a supposedly mature sixteen year old girl.

Hot Russian Guy is Russian… And Underutilized: In the synopsis, the author (or publisher, or whoever writes those things), makes a really, REALLY big deal about Alexei Volkov, the Russian ambassador’s son who also happens to be best friends with Grace’s older brother. With his piercing blue eyes and his annoying ability to thicken his Russian accent at precisely the right moments to make all the girls swoon, you would think that there would be a little bit of a romance between him and Grace. At least, those are the vibes I got from the synopsis. And what do we get.


Why would you advertise a mysterious Russian boy of mysteriousness and have nothing for him to do? Not even a little flash of a six pack? No knocking the breath out of the female MC? No romantic tension whatsoever??!! That’s a waste of a good Russian, thank you m’am!!

Side Dishes are the Best: In the past couple of books I’ve read, I’ve had the distinct displeasure of liking the side character far better than I like the actual main character I’m supposed to be rooting for. And this read is no exception. Noah Esteban, the annoyingly chipper, half-Brazilian, half-Israeli boy who befriends Grace and encourages her shenanigans. And I absolutely loved that little muffin. He reminded me very much of another one of my favorite sidekicks, Howie Guertsen, from I Hunt Killers. In the middle of Grace eagerly trying to start WWIII (something Noah warned her about but clearly, she didn’t listen to him), you can enjoy Noah’s sassy dialogue that had me in stitches for some parts of the book. I would’ve loved a book from his perspective, as I think it would have made the overall story much better.

Flesh ‘Em Out, Flesh ‘Em Out, Out, Out: Just as Noah was the best part of the book even though he was a side character, there were plenty of other side characters that had loads of potential… if the author ever considered to flesh them out a bit. They were nothing more than one-dimensional figures for Grace to verbally beat to a pulp or put her in her place, and nothing more. I mean, I’m sure Lila was more than just the Queen Bee bitch that Grace made her out to be. And Rosie more than the Gumby-like, precocious twelve-year-old German diplomat’s daughter who’s practically invisible to the adults around her. If the author would give them a chance, I’m sure they’d turn out to be something wonderful. She spent far too much time on Grace Blakely, though.
A wanna-be YA political thriller that falls flat on its face due to a despicable main character, alarming amount of slut shaming, and woefully under-fleshed out side characters. And please, give is more sexy Russian boy action, please.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,728 reviews1,279 followers
February 13, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Books and NetGalley.)

“I can apologise in seven different languages. It’s just something you pick up when you’re me.”

This was an interesting YA mystery story, and I really liked the details revealed at the end of the book!

I liked Grace although she did make some questionable decisions at times. I felt really sorry for her in the way she’d lost her mother though, and it must have been really hard for her. Even though she came across as nuts, she really did have good intentions though, and was intent on finding her mother’s killer and bringing them to justice no matter what.

“Yes, it was dark,” I snap back. “Yes, I was young, and it was traumatic. Yes, I have never been the most reliable girl in the world, but I know what I saw. And I’m telling you, I saw a man with a scar on his left cheek shoot my mother. I heard the bomb that burned her shop to the ground.”

The storyline in this was pretty good, and the good moments overshadowed the slower moments. Grace’s questionable decisions actually made for some amusing situations, and Grace came out with some brilliant lines, and she really made me laugh!

“Oh my gosh,” I mutter to myself. “That guy is hot.”
“That guy’s my dad.” Noah says it like he’s said it like he’s said it a lot. “The ambassador.”

There were some things that I didn’t really understand, because I don’t know anything about international relations, but I managed to get the gist of it.

“It’s not like it’s an international incident.” I look from Lila to Megan to Rosie, and then finally I let my gaze linger on Noah, who eases closer, lowers his voice.
“Actually, Grace, it kind of is. We’re Israeli. And that is Iran.”
When I look back at the blue-and-white scarf, I realise that, from a distance, it bears a striking resemblance to the flag of Lila and Noah’s home nation.
“The Israeli ambassador gave that scarf to our mom. In fact, he gave scarves like it to all of the women on his senior staff,” Noah says. “If anyone sees that up there…”

The ending to this was interesting, and I liked the details that were revealed. I did guess one thing very early on, but I didn’t guess the rest, and I did enjoy this book overall.
7.25 out of 10

“You should go home now, Grace.” His face is covered in shadow. His voice is soft but strong. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

Profile Image for Eri.
595 reviews174 followers
January 16, 2016
If Ally Carter ever wrote a book I didn't fall in love with, my world would come crashing down. Or the sky would fall, something along those lines.

My day today went along something like this:

3:30PM: I arrive home, only to find out that my Amazon package hasn't arrived yet.

4:20PM: The delivery guy finally gets here.

When I finished:

I'm backlogged on reviews so I'll get to this one soon, but not now.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
January 26, 2015
To see review with gifs click here.

Alfred Hitchock was considered to be the master of suspense. While his movies normally don’t contain an obscene amount of gore (unless it’s that awful shower scene in Psycho) they have had a lasting impression on film and how crime was portrayed in film and TV.

The man even made a movie about psychotic birds scary. Unfortunately, Ally Carter is no Alfred Hitchcock.

Not that I’d expect her to be a master of suspense (or even intrigue like the blurb suggests), with Ally Carter I expect light frothy capers. I loved her Gallagher Girls series and her Heist Society books. Both series had an element of mystery, but weren’t suspense novels or a psychological thriller like All Fall Down.

I take that back, the fifth Gallagher Girls book was a little bit on the dark side, but compared to All Fall Down that book might as well had been Legally Blonde, Cammie’s weirdo amnesia included.

All Fall Down is not terrible. It had some things going for it. Like the whole embassy angle, that could work for it’s advantage. However, it didn’t utilize that angle to the extent that I was hoping. In fact, the embassy stuff was more or less an after thought.

What the book was more or less focused on was the sanity of our main character, Grace.

And I don’t like her.

I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

And that’s probably why I couldn’t connect because in order to like this book you have to like and sympathize with Grace because it’s all about her psychological torture as she tries to go all Batman on some scar faced dude, but without the Batarangs or the common sense.

Plus, I bet she’d use a gun.

Oh, wait…not going to say it because spoilers.

I get it. I’ve seen several Hitchcock films where the Not Crazy individual is gaslighted through the entire movie, but here….I couldn’t even sympathize once with Grace she was just annoying. And mean (cough, slut slamming, cough).

Oh, yes, there is some heavy slut slamming in this book. Random hating. And well, everything was really random about the relationships in this book.

Noah is basically Grace’s best friend because he’s told to be her best friend by Grace’s caretaker. His twin in randomly a bitch. Megan, who would seem like an ideal candidate for being a best friend, helps Grace even though Grace treats her like crap for being feminine. And Alexi just has really pretty blue eyes/hot accent and is just helping Grace because her brother told him so.

I couldn’t get into any of these characters.

Oh, then there’s grandpa and the caretaker lady. Caretaker lady is a bit like Julie Andrews version of Grandmere (dyed red hair included) and Grandpa has a Southern accent.

And that’s all I know about the characters.

I think in novels such as All Fall Down, there needs to be more exploration with character since they play such a large role in the novel. I get that this book is first in a series, and that many of these characters are going to be fleshed out as the series continues, but right now it’s just not working. And in a storyline like All Fall Down had, they needed to be fleshed out some more.

The plot itself was fairly typical for a psychological thriller. You knew a twist was coming. You knew that the character was being gaslighted to a degree. And honestly, the reveal wasn’t that exciting to me just cliche.

I applaud Carter for trying something new. Many authors stay in their niche, but she tried something different. While All Fall Down wasn’t an awful, it definitely had some major faults. I’m willing to give its sequel a chance, but I probably will library it.
Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,036 followers
January 1, 2016
3.5 stars
(almost rounded the gr rating up to 4)

the ending has left me so conflicted!
the book is super engaging throughout.
i liked that grace had agency, but i disliked that each time she broke down, alexei picked up the pieces.
i liked that noah (and lilah) was of color, but i disliked that in this book set on embassy row, where there is so much opportunity to include diverse characters, only one of the five main kids (grace, alexei, noah, rosie, megan) was a POC.
i liked alexei's sincerity and character, but i disliked how inconsistent his relationship w grace was.
i liked grace's stubbornness and that she was very headstrong, but i disliked how i felt like i was reading the same dialogue over and over again. ("i don't need help" "i'm okay" "go away")
overall though, the book was super entertaining! i didn't want to stop reading.

by the way, the last page of the book? that does NOT count as an ending. what the hecky.
Profile Image for Umut.
355 reviews164 followers
July 8, 2019
I think the concept and idea of this book is quite unique and fun. I chose it as a fun, fluffy, quick summer read. But, I was expecting it to be more eventful and energetic, when it got so boring sometimes. Unnecessary teenage dialogues just tired me.
Maybe it's not for me.
July 10, 2021
Megan’s sparkly pink fingernails are a blur as they fly across the keys. Sixty seconds later she announces, “we’re in.”

Why do hackers always say “we’re in?”

Anyway, this book was really good.

Grace Blakley 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.

However, it is important to keep in mind that this was written in 2015, so the “I’m not like other girls” trope, was used.
Profile Image for Tiff.
573 reviews537 followers
January 12, 2015
Review originally posted at Mostly YA Lit

Want to win an ARC of ALL FALL DOWN? Check out the link above!

I was super, crazy excited for All Fall Down. And not just because I named one of the characters.

So I know you’ll understand when I say that I only liked, and didn't LOVE this book - but that I'm still breathlessly waiting for book two.

Here's the thing: when I first dove into the world of Embassy Row and All Fall Down, I was completely totally flummoxed. The writing and Grace, the main character, seemed off-balance and abrupt. I wasn’t sure what was happening.  The pacing of this book was super-fast – even faster than in the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society books. Each chapter is fairly short – only a few pages, and I think this is Ally Carter trying to show the frenetic pace of Grace’s mind, which is bruised and broken, and unsure. It’s really well done, but – I won’t lie – I was stressed out for a lot of this book.

I mention this because you might want to put down All Fall Down in the first 50 pages or so. I did. Grace is a prickly girl, and she’s got a major chip on her shoulder from being the girl that always seemed too young or was told that she was too feminine to tag along with her older brother and his best friend. Frankly, she’s a bit unlikeable. Add to that the fact that you aren’t even sure whether you can believe her or not – because she can’t even be sure of the truth, and you’ve got one messed up main character. 

It actually reminded me a lot of GG #5 when Cammie is not sure who she is or what she’s done.

But once I got into it and used to the writing (about 100 pages in, but for some of you, it might be less), I did like this book. I grew to like and care about Grace , and as with Heist Society and Gallagher Girls, there’s a sort of oddball team of characters that surround Grace and bring special skills to the table. I won’t give away who’s on the team, but you can kind of guess, and it’s so nice seeing how friendships and relationships are slowly established on Embassy Row. They were a big part of why I liked All Fall Down in the end.

I think my biggest frustration with this book is that it felt like a prequel for the rest of the series . Ally Carter needed to establish the setting, the characters, the motives, and the writing style, and because of that, I feel like the narrative wandered a bit for two-thirds of the book. It was only in the end that I understood what she was trying to build and why.

Overall, I did like it, but more importantly, I think it needed to be written and read in order to move on with the rest of the series. I can almost guarantee that now that the set-up is there, book two will have us all just as hooked as we were with Gallagher Girls or Heist Society.


It’s A Mystery: The action and pacing were very quick, and like in most mysteries or suspense thrillers, it had me guessing right until the very end – and I’m a guesser, so the fact that Ally Carter was, as usual, one step ahead of me right to the very end was a very good thing. I would say that the story here is less intricately twisted than Heist Society, but about as explosive as some of the early Gallagher Girls books.

"Canada House" by James F. - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Intricate World-Building:
Ally has a way of creating a world that should feel foreign to her readers, but making it feel like home. They’re always worlds of intrigue and mystery, and they feel glamourous and dark at the same time. Adria is no different. I loved seeing its old world charm, its many embassies, and the secrets and red herrings that she left throughout the novel about the setting.

Strong and Weak Girls: The theme of the fragile teenage girl vs the strong teenager is really important in this book - and it’s a theme that Ally has spoken about at length in many interviews, saying that nobody is more underestimated than a teenage girl. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Grace, who has always been seen as a young girl who doesn’t know her own mind. That theme extends to whether people trust her as well, and whether she can be “contained” in her current state. It’s a fascinating theme, but it’s not one that really gets resolved in this book. I am curious to see whether it comes up again and as strongly in future books, because just the threads of it here made All Fall Down a stronger story. 

Book Theme Song: 

"Pompeii" by Bastille

"And the walls kept tumbling down / In the city that we love...And if you close your eyes / Does it almost feel like you've been here before?"

The Final Word:

I wanted to love All Fall Down, but in the end, I just liked it. The fact that it feels like a prequel for the rest of the series was big part of that. It’s not an easy book to read at times because you feel just as off balance and frustrated as Grace, but at the same time, it’s a book that you know you have to read in order to make this series a series worth reading. Stick with this series - I have no doubt that Ally will deliver a really good payoff if you do!

Profile Image for Kyla Harris.
345 reviews252 followers
September 19, 2016
Plot - 17/20
Characters - 11/20
Creativity - 16/20
Writing - 13/20
Pace - 7/10 - fast
Ending - 10/10
74/100 = C
3/5 stars

All of Ally Carter's other books I completely ADORE. I'm obessed with them so when I decided to dive into this one I was expecting nothing else but to enjoy a new world built by her. I was disappointed.

This book's first half was really awful. Grace was crazy and she had rollar coaster of emotions she was a lactic and keep on making a fool of her self. I cringed. I HATE when charater's are stupid and do stupid things that's exactly what Grace did all the first half of the book. Luckily the second half helps things out and makes the plot amazing and the story connects and makes more sense.

I give this book one star for the first half and five stars for the second. Because of this I don't know if I should continue with the seriesor not! I just might, but we'll have to see.

Also the written repeated itself a lot. Ally would use the same phases over and over again it came to a point where I could guess what she was going to say next (since I was listening to it on aduio) that got a little annoying:/
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
June 25, 2016
ACTUAL RATING: 3.5 stars

Heist Society is by far my most favorite series by Ally Carter. It is fast paced, hilarious and light. And right now, I am currently in my fourth book of Gallagher Girls series. Its fun, but I’m not in love with it yet.

One thing I noticed from Carter is, as she published a new book from another, the successor is always far superior than her preceding work. That's why I'm so excited for All Fall Down. Most of my friends have nothing, but praise for this book. I was so ready to proclaim it as Ally Carter’s best book, but sadly All Fall Down and I did not meet each other halfway.

That premise is targeted for me. I loved it already. Where it all go wrong?
I was not really interested with anything except for the dark promise of more Russian eye-candy and certainly core group bonding.

I do get why some of the flashback is necessary, but some were awkwardly
put in between scenes with no indication that a flashback was coming.

One thing I liked: That ending.

Overall it is not a bad book, it has a great plot, just poorly executed. If you love Ally Carter, I'm sure you might dig this book as well.
Profile Image for Ryan Buckby.
652 reviews90 followers
October 15, 2021
My life is a never ending conversation of the things that people do not say

This is my first Ally Carter novel and I've had this book sitting on my shelves for a while and even longer taking me over a year to even start it. I enjoyed the setting of where the book was set and it has a good premise for it with the description however I didn't find myself connecting to any of the story or characters which was disappointing.

Having this major conspiracy hanging over the death of Grace's mother you have this girl who has ptsd and is still trying to deal with the fact that she no longer has her mother. I wasn't a big fan of how Grace was in the book when she annoyed it at times during the course of the book however her humor made up for it in different aspects. Seeing her grow as she learns more about the events of what really happened to her mother was interesting and I can't wait to see how it plays going forward in the next two books.

The relationships with Grace and her friends was really well done as well with them all working together as a wonderful spy like team to uncover the truth and tail the Scarred man was one of my favorite scenes in the book. These relationships will definitely be an asset and needed for Grace moving forward cause she won't be able to do it alone and I'm glad there is a support system for her.

I would also in the next book get more information on life in Embassy Row and how it came to be cause you get thrown into everything with very little knowledge of why its called that. The political aspect of the book really needs to be explored more because thats what this story is surrounded by so I need to know these things to get a better understanding.

Overall I somewhat enjoyed the first book however it had very little story background and with being thrown into the story quickly has be lagging behind which I hope is fixed in book two. With Grace learning new information it will be interesting to see the dynamic change for not only her but everyone going forward. I just need something more out of the story to what I got in this book and i hope and pray that I will get it when I begin book two.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
February 16, 2015
4½ Stars.
I knew I'd enjoy All Fall Down, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. I adored it. It follows the story of Grace, who is still grieving her mother's death three years prior and vows it wasn't the accident those around her claim it to be. Grace has spent the last three years trying to hunt her mother's killer, until she discovers him at Embassy Row and working for the Russian Prime Minister no less. What ensues is a thrilling chase for answers, new friends along for the ride and a revelation that left me questioning Grace's mental health.

Grace is a angry young lady, rude and antisocial. Her own family disbelieves that she seen her mother being killed, so she's angry at the world and rightly so. As much as I liked Grace, her irritation became tedious and I wish she had of taken time out to be a regular teen. Apart from challenging authority and a few sassy quips, she seemed to have only one emotion, suspicion. She was difficult to relate to. But the real draw card is the actual storyline.

I love the setting, a united nations embassy in a foreign country where children usually join family members and officials for the summer holidays. International relations can be a minefield to navigate, and now Gracie is expected to fill her mother's role by her grandfather's side. The diversity was present, but not explored and I'm hoping in further books in the series, the reader will see the rich culture and history of the other nations part of Embassy Row.

My first Ally Carter novel was a complete success. Well written with a touch of humour and mystery, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Colette.
562 reviews51 followers
March 5, 2015
I read this book so fast because it was one I literally could not put down! However, while it kept me intrigued, there were some flaws in my opinion. First, I had trouble connecting with Grace, she never stabilized enough for me to understand her. Also, by the end of the book it didn't feel like much was accomplished, it was a lot of going around in circles. Overall 3/5 stars; I will be reading the next book in the series.
511 reviews210 followers
January 21, 2015
As close to a three as it can get without actually being a three.

#1 Ambassadors are kind of like superheroes/heroines, eh?
#2 I don't know anything about being/living with an ambassador.

#3 Review Time!

Basically, All Fall Down is entertainment fodder with ambitions to develop into something less satisfying further on in the story. It's short, fast-paced with fun characters, sneaking and jumping and flipping authorities. Set in Embassy Row. In the fictional city of Adria, Valancia. There's a scarred killer amongst the tightrope walkers, peace promisers and other Very Important People.

Grace is a troubled narrator, and boy do I hate that word. Anyway, the entire world as she knows it considers her unreliable. Starting out and through the rest of this adventure, her narration pretty much revolves around the fact that she's not crazy and there's a killer out there. I got over that rrrrreally fast. Faster than Flash could sweep me off my feet and plant a kiss, I'd bet. How about it Flash??? I dare you. :D

It's a solid mystery set around characters with enough flesh, background and presence to carry on the story adequately. My definition of adequate being that I don't feel like I'm under a blanket, in a dark room for extra assurance. There's a bevy of beautiful people - another fact about ambassadors and their progeny I didn't know! They all set out to be models, but got sidetracked. However, despite my flaccid attempts at snark, I did like Noah, Rosie and Megan, our protagonist's compatriots in dank tunnels and trespasses.

There are only sparks of romance/crushing that crop up EVERY time Grace comes across, or spies on, her brother's best friend, a very Russian, very annoying, AND VERY UNSUITABLY NAMED Alexei. I mean, the left side of my brain sees: prat, shadow of characterization, no real personality, but the right side: RUSSIAN. HOT. NAMED ALEXEI. It brings on moments of cognitive dissonance, I tell you.


Putting hot Russians out of mind, for a moment, I'd like to make clear that there is only a smidgen of actual romance. Huzzah for us buzzkills and cynics and tired folks!

Carter's latest project requires you to suspend you belief in all things dangerous and 007 taught about efficiency of grownups like you'd drop your trousers in the loo when Ms Peepee has been banging on your bladder through an entire conference on lima beans.

Not that I'm claiming to know anything about Ms Peepee, conferences on lima beans or lima beans, for that matter. I'm a Goddess, you see, of Something and Other; no need to bother with earthly stuff. (Besides them book, obv. And Nutella.)

BUT WHERE WAS I? Oh, trousers. Ha! Right I don't have any sort of problems with THAT only when I get some sort of subtle discourse acknowledging the fact that yes, what our characters manage is unbelievable and tough. There wasn't. These players sneak into a very dangerous, secure, and paranoid man's with barely so much as an oomph!

Now, it's making me worry about the Very, Very Important people currently out there in other, real countries.

However, this lack of attention to details also goes for when emotional upheavals are going on, relationships strengthened or crapped upon, perils are faced. It's all fast and most certainly not furious, making for a "I'm in a dimly lit room and can only identify few sundries" experience.

Very nebulous and devoid of actual investment w/r/t thought and feeling.

But besides all that, the story does get fun sometime later. Very Ninja-style! Jumping from balconies and kicking out mortar. There also be revelations that change the course of the story and what you expect. Whether that be a good thing or bad, I leave up to you.


I'm stupid.
The story would be much better if it were:
(a) refined (b) tighter (c) more descriptive (d) used the word conspiracy more (that ALWAYS works)
I'm not sure if I'll be back for more.
The FANTASTIC Gallagher Girls this is not.


Thank you Hachette Children's Books!
Profile Image for Dayla.
2,075 reviews201 followers
December 9, 2014
Review also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I received a copy via my work in exchange for an honest review

I don't know what is going on with me lately. Every book I pick up, I grow tired of by the last couple dozen pages or so. I was hoping that All Fall Down by Ally Carter would be that one book that got me off my lazy reading butt, but alas, I still found myself dragging my feet near the end. Perhaps it's my inability to focus on something for longer than ten minutes, or maybe it's the fact that Carter's novel features a storyline that isn't all that original. While yes, it is so cool that this is set in a place where a bunch of embassies sit in a row, the whole concept of possibly crazy girl running around looking for some answers feels a bit overdone. Despite all of this and my waning attention span, I did enjoy most of this novel and what it has to offer.

Don't get me wrong. If Carter's intention was to have her readers both empathize and distrust her protagonist, then she succeeded. Grace, the protagonist, is one of those characters whose narrative twists so much that we are constantly struggling to keep up with her. Though this type of story feels a bit overdone for me, that's not to say that I didn't like Carter's ability to make the reader question what's real and what isn't. I loved the fact that I was always wondering what would happen next once Grace found something to back up her story. Grace also embodies a fantastic example of character growth--or anti-growth. Her slow descent into madness (or clarity) is only rivaled by the reader's inability to tell whether she is actually going insane, or if she is just becoming more lucid.

While the narrative did capture my attention, what I didn't like so much was everyone's obsession with telling Grace that she was wrong. I felt bad for her because the anxious person inside of me hates being told what to believe and when to be "fine". I also felt helpless because all this character wants is a little belief and hope that was taken away from her the moment her world fell away.

The good news, though, is that there is no "insta-romance" in this.

The story focuses so much on the mystery and Grace's growing paranoia of what's real and what isn't, that though there's a hint of romance as small as a fingertip full of sand, the story doesn't stray from what matters and what is actually on the protagonist's mind. I respect Carter for allowing any romance that may happen in the future to slowly build through the series (if the rest of the books follow the same route as this one.)

The other characters in this novel were all a mixture of okay and annoying for me. I feel like some have awesome potential, others don't really need to be in this novel, and others are barely given a shot before they're taken away--which leads me to something that always infuriates me about series books: this was so clearly written as the start-up for a series. Do we get a sense closure in this book? Somewhat, but with this supposed closure, we also get a ton of new and unanswered questions.

The pacing is okay, but sometimes I felt like it was rushed, than slowed down for some effect that I completely missed. I was hoping to finish this in a couple of sittings, but that clearly didn't happen. Maybe I'm just not in the mood?

I've heard great things about Ally Carter, so I probably will keep going with this series, but I'm not a huge fan of how the conclusion basically forces your curiosity to stay alert for the second installment--even if, OKAY, it was a good cliffhanger.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would because it's a fun read full of twists and with a narrator like Grace, you never really know what will happen next. By the way, some characters call her gracie...rhymes with crazy, right?

Happy reading!
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87 reviews
January 3, 2016
Here is my review of the awesomeness, not-so-awesomeness, and content in "All Fall Down" by Ally Carter. :)

In a nutshell:

Grace Blakey's mother was murdered, she knows who the killer is, and everybody thinks she's nuts. So thus, nobody believes her and just wants her to forget about what happened. However, her past has come to hunt her down and she needs to stop it to keep people from getting hurt...including her.

The awesomeness:

1) The humor. Oh my goodness, Ally Carter is a pro at humor. It seems to come naturally for her. For example:

"Megan has maybe the prettiest skin that I have ever seen. Her hair is sleek and black, perfectly straight and constantly shiny. My hair is thin and shoulder length and looks like the stuff you pull out of the dryer after doing a load of yellow towels." pg. 88

"One man sits in the center of the crowd. Even among what has to be at least thirty people it's impossible not to notice him. His skin is dark and smooth. He has broad shoulders and the kind of super intense gaze that could make most girls melt.
"But I am not most girls.
"I only go a little wobbly.
"When he sees Noah and me, he nods and smiles in our direction.
"'Oh my gosh,' I mutter to myself. 'That guy is hot.'
"'That guy's my dad.' Noah says it like he's said it a lot. 'The ambassador.'" pg. 145

2) Noah. Noah is amazing. He calls himself Grace's best friend from the first minute they met and...I WANT HIM AS MY BEST FRIEND!!! Also, he has the best lines. Let me entertain you with his awesome lines:

"He looks at the pile of clothes, grabs whatever is lying on top, and throws it at me. 'Here. Put this on.'
(Grace)"'That's a duffle bag.'
(Noah)"'Okay. Then put on something else. But that's a really nice bag. It would really bring out your' - he gestures to me oddly with his hands - 'personality.'" pg. 30

"It's like he's just worked up the nerve to talk and now the words come rolling out. 'You look...sweaty. But in a good way. The good sweaty, is what I mean.'" pg. 138

(Noah)"'Lila wants me to be good (at football) because that would mean I could stop being...me.'
(Grace)"'With you being defined as...'
(Noah)"'Man about town. Man of mystery. Man of many talents. Really a James Bond type with a bevy of beautiful women all eager to help me stop an international incident.'" pg. 207

3) Alexei. Give me a minute to swoon here, ok? *swoons for 15 minutes* Wow. Ally Carter can write some really *cough* hot guys! Alexei is labeled as the "Russian boy next door." He has black hair, blue eyes, an amazing accent...what's not to like about him? Plus he's sweet, nice, and a gentleman. Me likey.

4) The whole book in general. It was written so well and executed in such an excellent manner that I absolutely ate it up.

The not-so-awesomeness:

Nothing! Nada! Absolutely nothing I didn't like!

The content:

Language: None
Romance: None/Mild. Talk about two characters wanting to runaway together.
Violence: Mild. After all, Grace's mother was murdered, so some details on that, but nothing bad at all.

Side notes:

The statement on pg. 138 ("Man, I find myself thinking, I wish I knew a spy.") had me going crazy! I KNOW A SPY!!! JUST GO TO THE GALLAGHER ACADEMY AND YOU'LL FIND TONS OF KICK PATOOTIE SPIES!!!

Also, I couldn't help but imagine Embassy Row as World Showcase at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Florida! Awesome mental picture, if I do say so myself. ;)

For those of you who have read it or like to spoil yourselves:


I recommend this to anyone!!! Especially if you loved the Gallagher Girls! This almost topped the Gallagher Girls, and that's saying something right there. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

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