First Friday – Five Favorite Things – Debut Novel Day

January 2, 2015 | Comment

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by Dave Amaditz and
Marcy Collier

Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to January’s
version of – First Friday – Five
Favorite Things – Debut Novel Day
. In this monthly series, we ask five
simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading
this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a
glance some insight into the author’s writing style and voice as well as how
some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first,
answers to our Five Favorite Things,
followed by the author’s answers in a follow-up post.

This month we’re pleased to highlight debut YA novelist,
Jaye Robin Brown and her novel, No Place
to Fall
. Amber dreams of traveling to the big city where she can use her
amazing voice to sing and meet new and exciting people. First, though, she must
come clean about some trouble she’s found herself involved in, which will
hopefully make life better for her and her family.
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to
the main character’s development and/or growth?

Dave – I chose this particular
passage because when Amber, the main character, sings she feels like she is
somebody, like she is free, which brings her closer to her goal of leaving
small town Sevenmile.

As Pastor Early prays over me, I feel a simple strength enter
through my fingers and my toes. All of these folks, the people of my childhood,
are praying for my success. Success that means leaving them. Leaving my
mountains. But I’m not like Kush. I won’t be leaving because I hate this place.
I just want a bigger life somewhere, and I want to sing.

Marcy – Amber is passionate about
singing. This is the first instance where she allows her mind to wander and
explore the idea of using her talents outside of her hometown.

“It doesn’t matter. My mama would never let me be in a band. She
thinks singing’s only for church and baking.”

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think about it much.” I’m surprised at my
own answer. I mean, of course I’ve thought about it. I thought about it Sunday
when Sammy asked me to be in his band. I thought about it down by the creek
when Basil was talking about American Idol. I think about it all the time
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger? Amber’s life at home has always been filled with love. Even so,
she knows her father has been cheating on her mother and she wonders if her
mother is aware of what her father is doing or is simply naïve. My favorite
cliffhanger occurs while Amber is in the mall shopping with her mother.

Mama slowly flips the cap on a bottle. She raises it to her nose,
but the lilac smell hits us both quick. The bottle drops from Mama’s fingers.
It’s the scent. Daddy’s other woman. Lilac with a hint of vanilla and spice.
Mama shoves a handful of bills at the saleslady and grabs the bags.
Marcy –  There is so much turmoil in Amber’s family
life. Amber’s sister Whitney became pregnant very young and got married to
Sammy who has many faults, including being a drug dealer. This chapter ending
is heartfelt and foreshadows events to come.

“I love you, Whit.”

She doesn’t answer, but I can feel her tears as they hit my arm. I
hope they’re going to lock her husband up for a good long time.
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why? This book has so many great characters, all of whom play a pivotal
role in the story, all of whom are so believable and so easy for me to relate.
If for no other reason than to get to use another great line of dialogue, I
chose Devon as my favorite character. He’s Amber’s best friend, someone with
whom she has shared for so much of her life almost all of her secrets and
desires – – and someone that also happens to be a homosexual, which is key to
understanding the following line of dialogue. Amber has just told him she had
sex with his brother. His reaction caused me to laugh out loud.

Dave – “Mad? I love my brother. I love you. It’s the closest I can ever come to
hooking up with you myself

Marcy – 
There are so many favorite characters to choose, but Devon’s character
hit home for me. He is Amber’s best friend and regardless of her imperfections
and the bad choices she makes, he loves her. He remains her best friend
throughout the novel and the rock that supports her when she falls. His endless
humor and good spirit shines through from the beginning to the end of the novel
as demonstrated in the line below.

Devon purses his lips and gives me his best Marilyn Monroe. “All
right, darlings, let’s go find us a man.”
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description? The town where Amber lives is near a rest stop on the Appalachian
Trail. She likes to go there to meet the hikers passing through and to hear
stories of places she only dreams of going. More than that, while she’s high in
the mountains it helps her to escape some of the more unpleasant things life
has dealt her. These few lines beautifully describe her feelings.

Up there, the air felt clean. I felt free, like it didn’t matter
who I was or what I did. I was like a current in the air, flying, swirling,
traveling. From up there, this place looked beautiful, but from down here…

Marcy – I adore Amber’s Mama. There’s a scene later in the book where
Mama shows off her strong self, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. This offbeat
image of how Amber sees her Mama is said so well in a few words.

I wrap my arms around her. People may make fun of fat people,
but I like having a squishy mama. She’s comfortable.
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue? This particular line of dialogue comes from about midway through
the novel. Her sister, Whitney, is speaking and I think it highlights well why
it will be so difficult for Amber to achieve her dream of leaving home.

Dave – “Life. Just. Is. I’ve got
Sammy. Daddy’s got Mama, and Mama’s got Daddy. And you, you’ve got a wild dream
that’s going to do nothing but disappoint you.”

Marcy – Some
of the scenes and exchanges between Amber and Cheerleader Amber are hysterical.
I had to share two scenes with the two girls, although there are three girls named Amber in the book!

a gossip girl,” I say, nudging her with my arm.

but I’m one that’s made of out fairy dust and unicorn fur.”

Then another scene when Cheerleader Amber wants
to go into Amber’s attic to explore.

you’re not afraid of ghosts, but you’re afraid of spiders?”

shuts her car door and follows me. “Girlfriend, have you not been reading all
those new paranormal romances in the library? There are some really hot

To read more about Jaye Robin Brown and her young
adult novel, No Place to Fall. go to:
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