Title: No Place to Fall
Author: Jaye Robin Brown
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 368 Pages
Published December 2014
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Summary: 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.First of all, I know that we're always being taught that we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but this cover was just sooo pretty that I couldn't resist picking up this book and buying it! (Does that make me a bad person? I really hope not!!)
Anyway, as the summary explains, Amber is a small-town girl in the South who loves to sing and dreams of making it big somewhere and finally getting out of the cramped place she calls home. She has a father who doesn't seem that interested in his marriage anymore, a mother who believes that ignoring the problem will make it go away, a drug addict dropout deadbeat of a sister roped into a trafficking business with her husband, and a sleazy brother-in-law that she can't stand.
This is all ignoring the fact that her family wouldn't ever let her leave in the first place.
I enjoyed this book, and I definitely thought that it was a refreshing read for me. After reading several Sara Shepard books in a row, I needed a bit of a break from the scary and the gruesome. This was a great fit! I'm a huge fan of contemporary novels - they're my favorite genre and I have a hard time trying to read anything else. So I was really glad to be reading this!
As for the story itself, I was satisfied. Amber's story is something unique to me because I don't live in a Southern area or an area all that small anyway, but I sympathized with her urge to expand and not settle down in the place she was raised in. (I myself have the same intentions.) Amber's struggling severely with her home life, her boy life, and just her school life in general. The prospect of college was pretty much out of the question for her in the beginning.
I find that the most shocking, especially because it's true. In towns like that, you're expected to graduate high school and get married to a neighbor and settle in and raise a family. No college. No career. No expanding beyond what you've known for your whole life.
The part that frustrated me was the ending, for sure. I won't spoil it for anybody, but I will say that I wasn't expecting the story to end the way that it did. And I'm not sure how I really feel about it, but I do at least know that I'm not very satisfied. I have so many questions and so many things I want sorted out (because I'm a pushy reader like that, LOL) and I just wasn't happy with how everything was wrapped up.
Overall, No Place to Fall was a nice, refreshing read about a girl reaching towards her dreams and battling to get out of her small town and go somewhere new. It's a great book to read if you're interested in the theme of characters getting a fresh start, for sure! Jaye Robin Brown is a very good author and I hope to be reading more of her work in the future. :)