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This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.
Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved
I have a love/hate relationship with hyped books. I love them because everyone is talking about them, so it's like one big happy family of fans talking about one special book. I hate hyped books because I almost always don't really like them once I actually read them. They make me feel left out and peculiar because I have no driving passion for a book series where children kill children (ala The Hunger Games) or main characters die tragic deaths at a young age (I'm looking at you, The Fault in Our Stars!). I always approach a new and popular book with the air of one determined to find utter enjoyment in what probably holds anything but. This was my attitude when I checked All Fall Down out of the library and the reason it sat around for half a week before I got around to picking it up. Once I began it, though, I could not put it down. It grabbed me up, swirled me around, and spat me back out disoriented, heartbroken, and gasping for air.
I'll tel you what this book is not. It is not about a shallow girl with a bunch of ridiculous insecurities and two best-friend boys that both want to be with her.
Well, I mean, it is that on a certain level. But Grace's insecurities aren't about her looks or her popularity: they're about her mother's death. Her mother's murder. Because she was there the night her mother died, and she knows what she saw: she saw her mother shot by a man with a creepy scar. And no matter how much the people around her try to convince her she's delusional, she knows she's not. As the story goes along and the waters become murkier, though, she begins to doubt her own sanity - because after all, if she really was sane why would she have to work so hard to make people believe that?
As for the boys, there is and there isn't a love triangle, it really depends on who you ask. When I read the book, I saw no triangle. When other reviewers read the book, they did. There are two main boys in the book: Noah, the charmingly silly son of two ambassadors who initially becomes Grace's best friend by assignment and later by choice, and Alexei, son of the Russian ambassador, who has been best friends with Grace's big brother for as long as Grace can remember. It's Alexei (whom Grace internally refers to as "the boy next door") who is the only real potential love interest, and I loved the romance spattered throughout the book. Grace has her own band of friends helping her with her investigations, and only turns to Alexei when she has nowhere else to turn. He is her safety net when all else falls apart, and it is so sweet! I can't wait to watch the two of them slowly evolve into closer dependence throughout the series - this has the potential to be one of the best slow-burns I've ever read.
While this isn't a book for everyone, it's definitely a book for me. I loved every minute of anguish, confusion, and heartbreak that Grace put me through, and I can't wait to see how she learns to cope with her terrible past as the series continues. Embassy Row #2 just can't come out fast enough!