Book Review: No Place to Fall

No Place to Fall
By: Jaye Robin Brown
Published by: Harper Teen
Release date: December 9, 2014
Genre: YA contemporary
368 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

In high school, I was the girl who escaped reality by singing. I wanted to read this book because I anticipated that I would be able to connect to the main character, a girl whose world seems very small until she makes it expand with her singing.

I didn't connect with Amber as much as I thought I would, but I think that's okay. Amber is super talented, but is wholly untrained and unfamiliar with anything about music past the raw emotion. She doesn't rehearse, and I don't remember if she even knows how to read music. She's never performed in public except at church, she's never competed, and until this school year, she's never been in choir. I didn't end up seeing my choir nerdy self in Amber much at all- but I was able to ignore that part of the story and just listen to her as a teen who is struggling to define her relationships with several boys.

Amber's family is so very real: jacked up in their own special way, but loving and loyal (mostly) despite it all. This family, and just how messy their dynamic is, is one of my favorite things about this book. Every member is flawed in ways that feel very honest.

I think that maybe the cast of characters might have benefited from a bit of streamlining; the plot meandered a bit more than necessary in order to engage them all in what's going on. Maybe the meandering was intentional, illustrating that the main character is really unsure of the direction she should be taking. If this is the case, I think there are better ways to make that work.

If you're a big contemporary YA fan, you may love this one more than I did. Despite that it's not one of my favorites from the year, it was a good read that certainly merits attention if you can squeeze it in.


Amber Vaughn is a good girl. 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.


  1. Wow! I love the cover and this sounds like an interesting book
    GREAT review
    Your reader,
    Soma R.


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