Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spy novels aren't just for adults

Author Ally Carter's newest series is the culmination of her writing career (so far). The wit of Gallagher Girls, the intrigue of Heist Society, and the plots of both are combined with a whole lot of action and great characters. The result is perfect for Carter's current fans and teens who just like good stories. 

The Gallagher Girls series was a well-written, very funny series about teenage girls who go to a special boarding school. It looks like any other expensive boarding school, but really it’s a school for spies. Carter combined the insanity of being a teenager with the idea of teaching those same girls 24 ways to kill a man (one of which involves uncooked spaghetti) and then gave them mysteries to solve. The resulting plots and hijinks were riveting and hysterical. 

The Heist Society upped the stakes. In this series a teenage girl just wants to be normal, but gets pulled back into a life of high-stakes crime when her father disappears. Carter’s writing style matured and so did the plotline.

All Fall Down is the first book in Carter’s new series, Embassy Row. Grace, our main character, witnessed her mother’s death three years ago. Everyone says it was just an accident, but Grace knows her mother was murdered. After three years of psych evaluations and medication and people telling her she was wrong (i.e. crazy), she has learned to keep her thoughts to herself. 

When her military father is posted to a base that isn’t safe for families 16-year-old Grace is sent to live with her grandfather, the U.S. Ambassador to Adria. Adria could have been a new beginning, with new friends and the potential for romance. It might have been just that, too, if Grace hadn’t caught a glimpse of the very man who killed her mother; the man with the scar down the left side of his face. Now she’s lying to her friends, following a trained assassin through ancient tunnels, and generally risking her life to not only prove she isn’t crazy, but to stop the Scarred Man from murdering someone else. 

All Fall Down is skillfully written and plotted. Grace is a likable, intelligent, and witty character. Her new friends, Noah, Rosie, and Megan, are intriguing and I can’t wait to get to know them better. As for Alexi, well, WE know he isn’t just watching over Grace as a favor to her brother, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. And those plot twists at the end have me ready for book two NOW. Full of teenage drama and high emotion (hey, I'd be upset, too, if everyone thought I was crazy), this book is a must read for teens who like mysteries.

Carter, Ally. All Fall Down. New York: Scholastic Press, 2015. 5 Stars.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in the review are mine alone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment