Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: No Place to Fall

In No Place to Fall  by Jaye Robin Brown, Amber Vaughn is a good Southern girl, who secretly longs for a life outside of her small town.  She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

 Amber has never left her small town and doesn’t know if she can. Between the drama with her drug dealing sister and brother-in-law, her parents' disastrous marriage, and the new attention of her best friend’s brother, Will, Amber’s life is far from simple. Will she be able to find the courage to make her dreams come true?

Sounds intriguing, which is why I checked out No Place to Fall immediately after it was processed by our Cataloging Department. Too bad the book jacket blurb didn’t paint an accurate portrait of No Place to Fall.

First off, Amber Vaughn is not a good girl. Within the first few pages, she discusses her plans to have sex with a virtual stranger, including almost going through with the deed, eating pot brownies, and actually having sex with someone…and not caring about the fact that he has a girlfriend. She preached about her sister being sucked into the drug dealing world, but Amber was hooking up with the guy that made the pot brownies. I was annoyed because it seemed that there was a big difference between the book jacket blurb and what I was actually reading. I carried on thinking that maybe Amber had to have a big fall from grace before redeeming herself…but no.

I know I’m sounding harsh and yes, I understand that teenagers do stupid shit. If she or any of the other characters actually grew during the story you might be reading a different review. This book was filled with half-ass characters. No one was likable (except Amber’s mom) and all the characters were two-dimensional. I found it impossible to connect with any of them, especially Amber. In fact, all Amber did was get on my nerves. I kept hoping that Amber would redeem herself to the reader. She made some mistakes, but there was still the possibility of a good story. I’m sorry to say that it didn’t happen though. I haven’t disliked a main character this much since Whitley in Kody Keplinger’s A Midsummer’s Nightmare.

The story and the characters were all over the place. There were too many secondary characters and too much going on. It definitely needed to be simplified. Nothing ever came together for me and I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t recommend this book to my patrons. I think it will check out though because of the cover and the book jacket blurb. Maybe I expected too much. The story was there, but it was lacking the glue to hold it together. 


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