The Fall of Grace by Amy Fellner Dominy (Excerpt, Interview & #Giveaway)

Happy release day to Amy Fellner Dominy's newest, The Fall of Grace!
Make sure to check out my review here, as well as all the fun stuff below...

The Fall of Grace
by Amy Fellner Dominy
YA Contemporary
Hardcover & ebook, 304 Pages
April 10th 2018 by Delacorte Press


Fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han will love The Fall of Grace, an adventure-thriller with a hint of romance, in which not everything as perfect as it seems.

"Poignant. Thoughtful. Heartbreaking and heart-mending. A careful exploration of how children often pay the price for their parents' mistakes. The Fall of Grace is Amy Fellner Dominy's best writing yet."-Erin Jade Lange, author of Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah

Grace's junior year is turning into her best year yet. She's set to make honor roll, her print from photography class might win a national contest, and her crush just asked her to prom.

Then the bottom falls out. News breaks that the investment fund her mom runs is a scam and her mother is a thief. Now, instead of friends, the FBI is at her door. Grace is damaged goods.

Millions of dollars are unaccounted for, and everyone wants to know where all the money went. Can she find it and clear her mother's name?

The key to repairing her shattered life seems to lie in a place deep in the wilderness, and Grace sets out, her identity hidden, determined to find it.

But she isn't alone.

Sam Rivers, a mysterious loner from school, is on her trail and wants to know exactly what secrets she uncovers. As the pair travels into the wilds, Grace realizes she must risk everything on the dark, twisted path to the truth.

Praise for the Book

"The Fall of Grace is heart-rending and real; readers will laugh and weep as they follow Grace's journey of anger, guilt, betrayal, love, and the different layers of forgiveness. The emotional turmoil is almost abrasively raw, and yet so believable. In a culture of call-outs and finger pointing, this is a book for anyone who has stood accused."- Aprilynne Pike #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Wings and Glitter

"Clever plot construction,...romance, and Grace's realistic emotional roller coaster will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen."- Booklist

"Quick-paced...[The Fall of Grace] features a satisfyingly unexpected and realistic ending that will likely surprise readers."- Kirkus Reviews

"Dominy writes with raw emotion, exploring the impact of revealed family secrets through the lens of a daughter's fierce love."- Publishers Weekly 

(Affiliate links included - I receive a small kickback if you make a purchase using my links.)


“You’ve been following me this whole time?” I ask.

“Depends on what you mean by ‘whole time.’ ” He raises the window shade and ducks his head to look. Lights flicker weakly as we drive through a small, half- deserted town. He turns back to me. “Since you got on the bus? Since you left your house? Since May?”

“You’ve been following me since May?”

He shakes his head. “In May, I thought the reports were still rumors. Too many people had invested.” He reaches for the hem of his sweatshirt and pulls it over his head. There’s a flash of flat stomach, and then he tugs down a T- shirt and drops the hoodie over his pack. His eyes are shadowed with exhaustion and he looks thinner than the last time I saw him.

“Then we tried to get our money,” he says. “That was in June. My mother and I met with the FBI and they told us we’d have to file a claim. They couldn’t promise we’d recover any of our investment.”

“I never told you to invest.” But my voice falters because the truth is I told everyone who would listen that they should invest.

“Then it was July,” he goes on. “And still nothing. No money. Bills piling up. My mom is freaking out and what can I do? How do I un---- this up?” His lips curl in a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. “Then I see the stories about the money. At first it’s only online, but then it’s being reported on TV.” The bus rocks over a rough patch of road and he grips the top of the seats, shifting to face me in one smooth motion. “That’s when I started following you.”

How did I not recognize him in the station? Even without seeing his face, how many times have I seen him alone at lunch, crouched in the shade of a wall, his weight balanced on the balls of his feet so even at rest he’s wound tight. Ready to bolt if anyone gets close.

He seems like that now, with his shoe vibrating in the aisle, his fists clenching and unclenching. He radiates anger as palpable as heat. How, I don’t know, because his stare is glacial.

“Did you think you were just going to leave town unnoticed?” he asks.

I shrug. “Why shouldn’t I?”

“Because you’re Grace Pierce, and you know what even the FBI can’t figure out.”

I give him what I hope is a look of bored contempt. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I’m talking about forty-five million dollars.”

“Just because it’s on TV doesn’t make it true.”

A muscle in his jaw pulses. “The FBI thinks it’s true.”

“The money is gone, Sam. Spent. All of it.”

“Can’t be. The FBI tracks that, so don’t bother lying. There’s still money that’s unaccounted for and you know it.”

I would laugh if it weren’t so tragic. We’re both on a quest for something that doesn’t exist. “Let me guess. You also think I know where it is?”

“Here’s what I think.” He shifts forward, his knees wide, his chest filling the aisle. “You sneak out of your house with nothing but a backpack. Walk a mile to a gas station, call a taxi, and drive to the downtown bus terminal. You hide your face under a hat and keep quiet even when you’re being attacked.” His narrowed eyes flicker over my head. “And you have an interesting new haircut.”

My hand shoots to my hair and I realize I lost the hat sometime during the assault. The sheared edges are prickly under my fingers. But what sends chills up my bare neck is that he knows all my movements.

“You’ve lost your mind.”

“No,” he says. “I’ve lost every dime we had. I’ve lost my mother’s retirement and our whole ----ing future. But my mind . . . that I’ve still got.”

A weary frustration rises with my breath and I slide forward, claiming my own space in the aisle, knocking his foot with mine. I’ve been pushed as far as I can go, and his hate doesn’t scare me anymore. It’s nothing compared to my own. “I’m sorry for everything you’ve lost. For every ------ thing that’s happened.” My voices trembles; I can’t help it. “You have no idea just how sorry I am. But that’s all I have for you. That’s all there is. I’m. Sorry.”

He shoves back against the pressure of my foot. The world narrows until it’s just me and him, the air humming between us. “Sorry might work with other people, but not me.”

“Oh, you’d be surprised,” I say. “It doesn’t work with anyone. But you’re not following me. I won’t let you.”

Headlights flicker through the window, painting shadows across the angles of his face. There’s something compelling about his features—even beautiful. But then again, diamonds are also beautiful, and they’re cold and hard enough to cut glass. “How are you going to stop me?” he asks.

“It won’t be hard. You have no idea where I’m going.”

“You’re right.” His lips curve and a shiver runs up my spine. “Guess I’d better stay close.”

Excerpted from THE FALL OF GRACE. Copyright © 2018 by Amy Fellner Dominy. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Author Interview

What sparked the idea of writing The Fall of Grace?

It started with Bernie Madoff. I followed the story of the Ponzi scheme he ran—the biggest financial fraud ever that destroyed thousands of lives. I couldn’t imagine how someone could do that. Then I read that one of his sons committed suicide. That stuck with me—the thought of a child discovering that their parent was a monster. What would that be like? The shame. The sense of betrayal. And what about guilt by association? How would you survive that?

Fast forward a few months.

A flash of a scene came to me: A girl getting on a bus, carrying a knife and a backpack with her father’s ashes in it. She’s desperate. She’s on a journey. She’s hated. Where is she going? What is she looking for?

That image eventually lead me to The Fall of Grace, and a first scene where a girl is at the bus station, carrying a knife and a backpack. She’s desperate. She’s on a journey. She’s hated. The issues with a father became issues with a mother who was not yet dead…but perhaps dying.

Ultimately, it became a book about family and trust. About how we go on when the people who should love us the most, betray us.

Photography plays a crucial role in the book. Are you a photographer yourself? If not, why did you choose this particular talent for Grace—and Sam?

I’ve always loved photography though I didn’t know much about it other than “point and shoot.” Doing the research was fun but I also discovered there’s a lot of math to it. I struggled to understand f/stops and apertures.

I really wanted them to be photographers because it fit with the greater themes. Grace prides herself on seeing truth in the lens of her camera—but she doesn’t see the truth of her mother. It got me thinking about what do people hide from us—what do we hide from others? I also loved that photography is about the balance of light and shadow. It felt like a perfect fit because Grace and Sam are both dealing with the fact that this is true of people, too.

What was most challenging part of writing The Fall of Grace? Why?

This book goes back and forth between two different time periods. It starts in August, when Grace is leaving town and cuts back to May, when the first news about Grace’s mother comes to light. Weaving in details from two different timelines turned out to work really well, but it was much harder than I expected. Remind me never to do that again. J

The title is perfect. Did you know what you were going to call the book immediately, or did the title come later in the process?

When I started this book, the main character’s name was Eva. I ended up having to change it because, well, I have a weird thing for vowel names. I didn’t realize it until I looked at the names of all my main characters. Ellie (OyMG); Tatum (Audition & Subtraction—this is the one book where my daughter named the character); Abby (A Matter of Heart); Emma (Die for You). Starting to see a pattern here? So I realized I couldn’t do Eva. Even after I’d come up with Grace, I’d titled the book Half a Step from Heaven. It was my editor who suggested The Fall of Grace. (Thank you, Krista!)

Share a bit about you with us. Have you always wanted to be a writer? What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? What are your hobbies? What is your go to book/music/movie recommendation of the moment?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid—probably because I loved reading so much that I wanted to make up stories of my own. I’ll read anything if the characters draw me in—I’ve had to stop saying I don’t read Sci Fi or horror or thrillers. I read about people I care about whatever the setting and situation (and whether they’re actual people or not.)

When I’m not writing or reading, I want to be outside. I play tennis and golf. I run, hike, and bike. Pretty much anything that doesn’t require snow or speed—I’m a wimp who is always cold.

Book of the moment: I just re-read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Amazing!

About the Author

Amy Fellner Dominy loves writing for kids of every age. She is the author of picture books as well as middle-grade and young adult novels, including The Fall of GraceDie for YouA Matter of Heart, and OyMG, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book. Amy lives with her family in Phoenix. To learn more about her and her books, visit her online at or follow @amydominy on Twitter.

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