All Fall Down: Embassy Row, Book 1

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
All Fall Down: Embassy Row, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Thriller full of glamour, intrigue may hook tweens, teens.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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. 

Sex

There's a bit of a love triangle among Grace, Noah, and Alexei.

Language
Consumerism

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRachelH 6 November 2, 2015

Intriguing, interesting read

As a teacher, I would recommend this be used for literature circles or independent reading. It is easy for students to read on their own, has an intriguing stor... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byavengersassemble May 26, 2015

Fun and compelling Page-Turner

This is a really exciting book with a daring female protagonist. It's good enough to keep you hooked until the finish! However, I see the book as more of a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytreeclimber01 January 10, 2016

Ally Carter's best

I've always been intrigued with the spies, espionage, and mystery of Ally Carter's books. The elite life of her characters just makes you want to know... Continue reading

What's the story?

ALL FALL DOWN is the first book in Ally Carter's Embassy Row series. Protagonist Grace was hospitalized after her mother's death three years ago -- which she swears was no accident -- but is now coming back to the (fictional) country of Adria to live with her grandfather, the U.S. ambassador to Adria. Grace has never been one to think too much before acting, which has led to many broken bones throughout her childhood. So when she believes she's identified the scarred man who shot her mother, she's willing to go to great lengths to bring him down, even break into his apartment with the help of her crafty friends. But she's accused other men of murdering her mother -- can she trust her memory? 

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.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's appealing about reading any series. What drove you to the Embassy Row series in particular?

  • Grace is certainly sympathetic, but is she likable? What qualities do you think make a good protagonist?

  • What do you think will happen in the next book? Do you plan to read it?

Book details

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