cover image No Place to Fall

No Place to Fall

Jaye Robin Brown. HarperTeen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-227099-3

Amber Vaughn—one of three Ambers in her junior class—has plenty of reasons for being good. She’s “barely sixteen,” her mother’s a fundamentalist Baptist, and her “daddy has a thirty-aught-six rifle.” But lately her parents have been distracted: her mother is worried about Amber’s older sister, whose husband deals drugs, and Amber is sure that her father is having an affair. So no one notices when Amber hooks up with her best friend’s brother, who happens to date one of the other Ambers. Debut author Brown makes a small town in North Carolina—where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via Appalachian Trail hikers—feel real, but the heart of the story is Amber, as she tries to find herself, love, and her voice (she’s a talented singer, but is afraid of singing in front of crowds). Though the no-good brother-in-law and the snarky new boy in town distract from the music—potential love interest Will may be a judge’s son, but he plays a mean banjo—Amber’s persistence and down-to-earth narration carry the story through these melodramatic additions. Ages 14–up. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Dec.)