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Book Review - All Fall Down by Ally Carter

07/02/2016

"I wish I was bigger, stronger. Male. I wish I could make people stop worrying about me and my so-called frailness" (Ally Carter's All Fall Down - Page 66). 

       Grace Blakely is sixteen years old. The tragic loss of her mother has made her experience numerous hospital visits, therapy sessions, and the need for anxiety/anti-depressant pills. Grace has just moved back to her childhood "home" to live with her Grandfather, the Ambassador for the United States of America. This is not her first time living on Embassy Row located in Adria but this is her first time living in the United States of America embassy without her mother. For the past three years, Grace is haunted by memory flashbacks and is coping with the aftermath of witnessing her mother's death. She is convinced a man with a scar is responsible for murdering her mother, despite being told repeatedly that the incident was truly an accident. But was it really an accident? For three years this question has been causing Grace's mental health to crumble and All Fall Down

       Ally Carter's All Fall Down is an English teen fiction novel mixed with the following genre ingredients: a cup of mystery, a large handful of suspense, a tablespoon of action, a teaspoon of adventure, a dash of self discovery, mixed with a sprinkle of romance. What I really enjoyed about this novel was how each chapter was short, never involving more than 10 pages. I appreciated how each page was double spaced making it a quick and easy read, (especially for others like myself who read slowly). I would recommend this novel to anyone over the age of 13, who likes teen fiction books involving mystery, suspense, and adventure.

       Another large reason why I would highly recommend this book to both teens and adults was the relatable factor. Despite not growing up in an embassy, I can imagine Embassy Row as a mixture in-between Island Park Drive and Rockcliffe Park neighbourhoods. I was also able to relate to numerous personal characteristics traits of Grace, the main character in this novel. I liked how I was able to recount certain aspects of Grace’s life with my own; especially in the sense of her mental health issues. I myself have also experienced watching two close family members pass away in front of me (while working as a palliative care companion). The aftermath that Grace experienced involving flashbacks of her mother passing away and hearing her mother’s voice was all too familiar to me. I also experienced similar aspects of mental health issues when coping with the loss of loved ones. Not only can we relate to Grace’s hardships (losing a loved one), but we can also find comfort knowing she has begun to move forward with help from family, friends, and health care professionals. This self-discovery process isn’t a large contributing factor to the novel’s plot, but it brings forth a sense of accomplishment for Grace and for oneself, when reflecting on how one has overcome suffering. The beginning of the book was a bit slow, but I got really hooked when Ally Carter was describing the scene of Lila’s scarf drifting over to the Iran Embassy. Overall, I would rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars!

       On Wednesday January 27th 2016, was the sixth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. Bell Let’s Talk initiative involves providing useful information and strategies to help educate youth, parents and educators on mental health and finding help. If you or a family member is experiencing distress, please call one of the networks below for support or guidance on seeking help in your area and for your condition.

For Youth:

Kids Help Phone

#1-800-668-6868

http://kidshelpphone.ca

 

For Adults:

Canadian Mental Health Association

http://cmha.ca

Image: All Fall Down

All Fall Down

By Carter, Ally
Image: All Fall Down

All Fall Down

Embasssy Row Series, Book 1
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Image: All Fall Down

All Fall Down

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Image: All Fall Down

All Fall Down

By Carter, Ally
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Embassy RowSeries, Book 2
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Image: See How They Run

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