Sunday, February 08, 2015

Embassy Espionage, Teen Version: ALL FALL DOWN, Ally Carter

Ally Carter already has two successful mystery series for teens, especially girls (the Gallagher Girls books; the Heist Society books). With ALL FALL DOWN, her new 2015 release, this author launches the "Embassy Row" series -- espionage where those otherwise hidden members of embassy families, the teens, tackle the necessary sleuthing.

And this one is emphatically not just for girls. Grace Blakely is back in the American embassy in the fictional European country of Adria, with her grandfather the ambassador. She's struggling to defend her knowledge that her mother's recent death was murder, not accident; she's terrified that the label "crazy" will be slapped on her (again) and push her into a haze of medications; but she's determined to find the killer and make him pay for destroying her mother, and most of the joy in her life.

At the same time, Grace's friends -- Noah and Megan, gymnast Rosie, and Alexei, the confusingly attractive son of the Russian ambassador -- are the keys to helping Grace keep her head together and explore the secrets of Embassy Row: its hidden passages, connections, and the mixed motives of the adults manipulating their nations' interactions.

I had a grand time reading this at high speed; the pace and intrigue are terrific, the characters enjoyable, and the notes of teen life and agony (and sometimes exhilaration, let's admit it) are perfectly tuned and timed. Sure, pick up a copy for the teen in your life -- but make sure to schedule time to enjoy ALL FALL DOWN yourself, before you give it away!

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