‘ALL FALL DOWN,’ BY ALLY CARTER. Follows a teen girl who lives on Embassy Row with her diplomatic grandfather. Text © Rissi JC

Much to my shame, I’ve never read a novel by best-selling author Ally Carter. I’d seen her novels frequently in the blogosphere and thought each sounds exactly my kind of book because a.) who doesn’t like a good heist or spy story and b.) fast-paced, easy contemporary reads are my speed. Alas two series later, I’d never cracked open a single page of her novels despite collecting them here and there. This all changed this summer when I finally picked up her latest release, All Fall Down. From what I understand, this novel is a bit different for Ally yet somehow all the same.  

STORY: It’s set on Embassy Row and centers on Grace, a young lady who is still suffering from the aftereffects of her mother’s death. With her father deployed overseas and her brother in military training, Grace is left to her own in the states, but is eventually goes to live with her American ambassador grandfather on Embassy Row. She brings her beliefs that her mother didn’t die an accidental death, Grace believes it was murder. This causes strain on her relationship with her grandfather and puts her new friendships in a precarious position. Determined to prove these theories correct, Grace pursues her suspicions, no matter the cost. 

All Fall Down, by Ally Carter | Book Review

I actually did really enjoy this novel. It’s a relatively short book, which makes it the perfect length for binge-reading. The plot is quite good and Grace is one of the more unique heroines. She isn’t the typical “perfect” ideal. Instead she has emotional baggage that her family tries to “help” disappear by sending her to doctors and counseling. The first-person narrative allows us to fully understand Grace’s feelings and her memories of the events surrounding her mother’s death. In the more light-hearted activities, this creates an emotional story and presents a side of Grace she doesn’t allow many to see. Speaking to the former themes, I adored Grace’s devil-may-care persona. It’s really the front she puts on when she’s in the company of others. And it’s this that probably drives her daredevil characteristics.  

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Anyone looking for a romance will find it MIA in this novel. Instead, if anything, it’s more a teaser of possibilities. I think I’ve decided on what I believe will be a definite two-story romance, but a part of me gets a feeling any romantic tension may develop into a kind of love triangle. Though they aren’t as prominent because of Grace’s fixation, I really like the group that comes together to form “the gang” in future novels. I’m excited to see where the story takes them and if we have opportunity to get to know them all better.  

The setting is also abnormally unique. I’ve not read a novel set in this kind of atmosphere (though ironically, one of my past WIP’s partially features an embassy kid), which made the locale sort of “exotic,” if you will. Most books are quick to feature a small town, which is all well and good, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it for those of us looking for an armchair adventure. If you like YA literature, All Fall Down is an excellent one to pick up. It’s a pleasant kind of read that is sure to entertain anyone who likes a mixture of lighthearted repertoire and emotional chaos. I’m excited to travel again (book two!) to Embassy Row and see what Grace and Co. are up to next. 

About the Book:

Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: Embassy Row, 1
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5  

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I looooove Ally Carter, but still haven't gotten my hands on this one yet. Sounds really good! I like what you said about it being unique and almost feeling exotic, that kinda explains how I felt about Ally's previous series, Heist Society. Great review, Rissi, looking forward to checking this one out!

    1. I'm so glad to know that you like Ally's books, Bekah! I suspected I'd enjoy her novels, but hadn't taken the time to read them. I'm super glad I finally "made" myself do just that… this one is way too much fun! Anticipated Ally's next novel and her earlier works too. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoy. :)

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