Synopsis: 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
Hello southern sweet tea, country songs, and Appalachian Trail. Oh how I am so thrilled to finally have reached for a novel that is familiar with your southern charms and small town gossip trap.
The entire time I was reading No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown, I couldn’t help but envision the ABC show, Nashville. All around it just screamed Nashville, but with a heavier small town vibe and North Carolina feel.
Drugs, sex, rock and roll mixed with love, family dysfunction, and deceit. That is pretty much the book rolled into one poorly structured sentence. It wasn’t sappy, but it wasn’t bright. I never shed a tear, yet I was moved. You pick up this bright colored novel and think, “this looks like a heart warming and witty story” but you are utterly wrong. Instead you receive a realistic portrayal of a family who is far from perfect who falls and may or may not work on picking themselves back up.
If I am 100% truthful this was a hit & a miss novel for me. It met me right in the middle. It wasn’t boring enough for me to put down, but it wasn’t interesting enough for me to keep wanting to come back to it…yet I did. Some of the characters felt like they had no purpose and there seemed to be many loose ends.
I did enjoy the honesty of Brown’s writing. The story felt very real, almost too real. You could easily relate to the characters and empathize with their short-comings, hardships, and successes. However the story heavily lacked dynamic. The summary of the book suggested that when Amber and Will became involved Amber would go from good girl to bad. The book started out with her making out with a bunch of random strangers and eating pot brownies? I don’t know about your definition but this is not the actions of a typical “good girl”. If anything I think Will made her better. I kept waiting for this pivotal moment to happen in the book where Amber would do something really bad – like a “no going back ever can’t believe I even thought of this” bad. But when I reached that pivotal moment I was really let down. The moment was weak and although it set up the ending, it wasn’t shocking enough to make up for the slow pace of the story.
So all in all, it’s a good one if you like some southern charm, enjoy country folk tunes, or watch Nashville. It’s a not so good one if you don’t.
All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization.