“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.”
I finished this book in one sitting. I’ll admit, I was expecting a book (and series) similar to her Heist Society series, not in content, but in style. In other words, I expected it to be entertaining, but perhaps not out-of-this-world amazing. But this book was pretty much amazing. I was so engaged in Grace’s emotional/mental turmoil. My heart hurts just thinking about it. Clearly, some major research (or maybe even a close personal experience) went into this novel.
Throughout the story, Grace’s friends and family beg her to give up the endeavor of looking for her mother’s killer. Because, according to them, there is no killer. I felt Grace’s doubts, and I felt her certainty of her memories.
I myself was convinced of an event I was witness to, and many people, including some family, were absolutely convinced that nothing had happened. I’ve been in her shoes, where you are absolutely devoted to what you’ve seen….but the people around you are so good, and everything they say makes sense… I know what it’s like to almost believe it, but to ultimately reject alternate story lines. The Heist society was more of an event focused series, but Embassy Row is clearly a whole ‘nother bird. It’s beautifully balanced. While the plot line is almost completely mentally based, it keeps engaging the reader through Grace’s (and her friend’s) actions.
In one particular scene, there was an exquisite interaction between Grace and Alexei. It was vulnerable and tender, and Grace’s thought process about the event were close to my heart. I felt her emotion, and at one point in my life, I had thought her thoughts.
Grace’s flashbacks were necessary and invaluable, plenty of novels use them, but All Fall Down, made every single flashback efficient and effective. As for the physical aspect, the hunt for her mother’s killer was convincing, and came off as plausible. That’s saying something, considering how many contemporary novels also fail to execute assassin stories without turning on the Dues Ex Machina button.
I absolutely CAN’T wait to get my hands on the sequel, titled “See How They Run.” I’ll definitely have an eye out for it at ALA Midwinter. I would absolutely recommend this novel to everyone. ANYONE can find something to like in this novel, I’m almost certain of it. I’m actually really sad that I read a library copy and now I have to send it back to the library. Ah well, maybe I’ll actually get a chance to buy it one day.