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.
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
No Place to Fall was a book that I sped through in two days. It immersed me in the small town settings, and I came to love the characters, imperfections and mistakes and all. They weren't perfect characters, but they were real, and I loved that about them.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Amber is a girl with some big dreams that go beyond her small mountain town. She dreams of singing and getting away from the people who could drag her down, namely her sister's husband, Sammy. She is a good singer and she originally doesn't even want to sing with her school's chorus, but when she finds out about a performing arts high school, she thinks of how it could be the perfect escape for her. Amber makes several mistakes, the main one being something that she does that isn't smart at all that could jeopardize her future. She has moments where she doesn't think things through, and this was one of those moments. The good thing is that her heart was in the right place when she did this bad thing, since she wanted to help out a friend.
Amber's family is a bit broken since many of them have their issues. Her dad is cheating on her mom and she and her sister both know it, though they don't know if their mom knows it too. Apparently, this cheating has been going on for quite a while. Amber's sister, Whitney, is married to and has a son with Sammy, a drug dealer. Sammy is a jerk, and not a good father or husband. He gets himself and Whitney into trouble more than once, and he risks losing their son to Child Protective Services. I don't think he really cared about losing his son though, since he was just worried about his drug dealing and his band. He also is very persistent about making Amber join his band, and even goes so far as to blackmail her, which is another one of the things that showed how much of a jerk he was.
I wasn't really sure about Will in the beginning when he cheated on his girlfriend and hooked up with Amber, but then still didn't break up with his girlfriend after that, but he grew on me by the end of the book. He proved through his actions and words that he was a sweet guy who really cared about Amber. I loved some of the scenes when they were singing together, or when she sang and he accompanied her on the banjo. It was nice to see them making this strong bond and connection through music. They clearly had a strong connection, though it took a bit of a rocky road for them to get to that point.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.