A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This may not be high literature, but tweens and teens who enjoy this book may get hooked on the series. It may inspire critical thinking.
There's a message here about being a loyal friend, as the other embassy kids rally together, using their unique skills to try to help Grace and stop a murder.
Positive Role Models
Grace is understandably confused and erratic, but her friends stick by her, using their skills (such as Megan's computer hacking and Rosie's ability to follow people without being detected) to help her stop a potential murder.
Violence & Scariness
Grace believes she witnessed her mother's murder by a scarred man. Her grandfather and other adults try to convince her that her mom died in a fire. She was restrained while in the hospital. Grace and her friends try to stop another murder after she overhears a potential threat; along the way, they're almost caught breaking into a man's house, and she injures herself trying to prevent an attack on the president. She's drugged and wakes up bound in a room, then chews through her restraints, making herself bleed. A woman shoots a man. Grace recounts a number of injuries and gets involved in other scraps wherein she and other people are injured.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a bit of a love triangle among Grace, Noah, and Alexei.
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Products & Purchases
A mention of Nutella.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Grace's grandfather hosts a poker game where there's whiskey drinking and cigar smoking. Grace takes medication that makes her feel funny. She's drugged and wakes up bound in a room.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know All Fall Down, by Ally Carter, is the first book in a series about intrigue at embassies in the fictional country of Adria. Grace, 16, believes she witnessed her mother's murder at the hands of by a scarred man. Grace's grandfather, the U.S. ambassador who lives on Embassy Row, and other adults try to convince Grace that her mom died in a fire. Grace and her friends try to stop another murder after she overhears a potential threat. Along the way, they're almost caught breaking into a man's house, and she injures herself trying to prevent an attack on the president. She's drugged and wakes up bound in a room. A woman shoots a man. This may not be high literature, but tweens and teens may get hooked on the series.
Is It Any Good?
Certainly all the elements are in place here for a successful series. You have an idyllic fictional country, glamorous events (at one point, Grace is given some dance lessons, dons a pink princess-cut gown, and is taken by limo to a ball at the palace to be at her grandfather's side), and some great secondary characters -- including Megan, a smart, loyal computer hacker and Alexei, a dreamy Russian boy who shares a special bond with Grace. And, of course, there's the unraveling of the mystery itself.
The conclusion is a bit all over the place, and readers likely will have more questions than when they started. But readers who liked Carter's Gallagher Girl books will like this story well enough and perhaps look forward to a more engaging next installment now that the stage has been set.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.