Review: Ally Carter – All Fall Down

All Fall Down
Ally Carter
Grace has been thrown back into the life of Embassy Row, where countries stand side by side in buildings that could fall at any moment. After she left it, when her mother was murdered,  she was put away for her own mental health. Now released into the wild-world again, Grace isn’t coping with being back near her remaining family, or the potential killer of her mother.
So I liked the idea of the novel. Embassy Row sounds pretty cool really. The chance to socialise with a whole bunch of different people and speak 7 different languages? Nothing but awesome! Although I think a couple of foreign words could have been thrown in for good measure. Then I could even pretend I was learning something from this novel.
Grace is so certain of these three things:  she’s not crazy, her mother was murdered, and she wants to hurt the killer., that she can’t listen to reason. She’s determined to isolate herself. In fact, she’s so self-willed that you feel like some of this has got to be her fault, but also that the adults are just being idiots and not helping at all.
Grace seems to be suffering from some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is basically belittled by any adult in her life, and which alienates her from other young people around her. It’s the reason she’s lost any friends, but doesn’t explain why she didn’t make any in the first place.
The sequences of events left me feeling disorientated. At the same time that Grace was trying to protect other people, she was caring little for her own life. If she’s dead, she can’t stop the next person from being killed. If anything, this novel wants you to empathise with Grace, but then throws you up in a very ugly manner near the end. The twists and turns and promises all turn flat.
I hated the ending. Absolute garbage. It was not a satisfying conclusion, and even as it left the ending open, it didn’t leave Grace as having grown as a character. I felt like the book didn’t actually achieve anything.
This novel is well written, and I can see that if it was part of a series (which it appears to be the first book of), and I had the next book to read right away that was going to give me some satisfaction and character growth, maybe I could score it higher. There are other things to read though, and so I’ll give this one 2 stars, with the promise of three if the next book can tie up the loose ends.

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