‘See How They Run’ is the thrilling follow up to Ally Carter’s ‘All Fall Down’; it’s shaping up to be one heck of a series.
The story centres around Grace, who in book one has been sent to live with her grandfather, the United States ambassador based in the fictional country of Adria.
Very early on Grace comments on the “dozens of embassies all stacked together like dominoes in a ring around the city. Suddenly I am afraid that I’m going to knock them all down.” And then Noah warns her “we do not go past the fence because we do not want to start World War Three.”
Do you think a plucky character like Grace does as she’s told? In this instance it wouldn’t be a safe bet. But what Ally Carter does throughout ‘All Fall Down’ and ‘See How They Run’ is to cleverly weave this idea of diplomacy and ‘careful treading’ with a more closer and personal experience of friendships and social workings.
The sons and daughters of the world are forced together in the same place… and act just like teenagers should. Parties, rebellion, adventure, romance.
And importantly; friendships and cliques.
It works no differently than on a larger political stage, not really. Name calling, backstabbing, one-upmanship; it’s part of everyone’s life at one stage or another. And much like causing World War Three by overstepping your boundaries, falling out with a friend can feel just as destructive.
Grace is lucky in that she has played the playground bully game before. She knows how cliques work: “this moment is so familiar to me that I could script out every gasp, every insult, every cajoling sneer.” And it’s really interesting to have a character so aware of these plays for power.
But that does not make her immune to it all. Like everyone, she has a weak spot, and as much as she tries to pull away, there are people willing to be her friend, through thick and thin.
It’s a bit of a grand analogy: The diplomatic relationships of the world contrasted against a group of teenagers. But perhaps the power to make and break friendships should not be underestimated. Friends, or even frenemies, can be important, and often tip-toeing around everyone, trying to keep the peace, takes the work of an ambassador.
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