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Falling Hardcover – March 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374322511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374322519
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,804,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Part romance, part friendship story, and part dark drama, this contemporary novel, set in the author's Vermont hometown, gets exactly right the way many teens talk and what they care about. Matt and Katie meet on the Net. Katie is tight with her girlfriends, though not with her single-parent mom. Matt is a basketball star, but instead of playing, he's spending his time plugged into his music and walking the streets alone. Could he be reacting to his older brother's doing drugs--and also dealing? There are several big holes in the plot (Matt's successful parents, for instance, worry about Matt but not about his brother), and the message is obvious. Still, YAs will like the fast talk from the teens' viewpoints, whether it's delivered through IM chat or the tender, urgent words of lovers. The addiction scenes are stark, and the story holds surprises to the end. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Gets exactly right the way many teens talk and what they care about.  The addiction scenes are stark, and the story holds surprises to the end."  --Booklist
 
"Will have teens turning the pages."--Kirkus Reviews
 
"Should appeal to boy and girl readers."  --VOYA

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Smith on October 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Falling is a compassionate book. Wilhelm never places blame, but rather presents very real situations and feelings: parents who are doing their best, people who simply get lost, and not because they are "bad." There are friends who change and evolve and who are deeply human, people who have high expectations for themselves -- and turn the hurt inward. This is so true for most of the good folks I know. This compassion is essential because we are flawed, but we need to learn, and forgive -- possibly most importantly -- ourselves.

Falling reminds us we are not alone, and that as adolescents the errors we make can be fatal or life changing. It also presents hope -- through believing in something so wonderfully symbolized (or not) in Katie's rock collection. We all have that story or object or something deep inside of us that keeps us moving forward (or we need it). Wilhelm reminds us of this,without a lecture, but by wrapping us up in the lives of these people, who we grow to love and empathize with.

This is an important book because students can identify with the characters, and see how easy it is to get lost. The very fact that Wilhelm does not place judgement on anyone, including the parents, is so important. There is also Neil, the drug user. Neil has let himself down; we cry for him the most.

How many kids out there are hiding something, and feel that they are alone? Aren't books meant to keep us bonded? Falling is this kind of book. I highly recommend Wilhelm's lastest look at adolescent life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Matt has a huge secret that causes all kinds of problems in his life.

Once the star basketball player in a small city that lives for sports, he now refuses to go out for the team. Instead, he keeps to himself and creates a barrier between himself and the rest of the world. He avoids going home after school so he won't have to deal with his older brother and his "friends."

Neal used to be the basketball star, but now he spends his days locked in his room doing drugs. Matt aimlessly walks around town after school until his clueless parents come home.

No one asks Matt to explain, until he meets a girl online. Katie goes to his school and has a passion for asking questions. Katie's hit upon something in Matt.

Soon the two of them are hanging out after school. Katie's friends balk at the idea of them as a couple. No one knows the reason behind Matt's changes, so they all assume that he's in trouble. Now Katie's asking questions, and it's only a matter of time until the truth tumbles out.

FALLING asks the question of how far would you go to protect someone you love? There also comes a time when everyone must make the decision at least once in their life: yes or no to drugs? Katie and Matt wrestle realistically with this issue throughout the book.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sooos on July 21, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
Falling by Doug Wilhelm

If you would like to read a book that combines friendships, romantic and otherwise, in today's teenage world then I would highly recommend this book. The characters are strong, appealing, and they are dealing with the world around us in an authentic way by using the technology that surrounds us. Although we have every type of communication available to us it does not mean that we know what to say, how to react, and what decision is the correct one. The plot unfolds through the struggle the characters have with finding the right words, whether they should become involved, and the effects those decisions have on others. The theme is not uncommon, but the author's observations in how teenagers interact through computers, text messaging, and cell phones as well as keeping the story seemingly effortlessly fast paced, is truly masterful.
I would recommend Falling and Doug Wilhelm's earlier book The Revealers for every town and school library. They are extraordinary additions to our young adult sections as they touch on difficult subjects with empathy and hope.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a middle school tutor and was asked by one of my students to read the book, Falling by Doug Wilhelm. I was impressed by the request from a student who doesn't enjoy reading. The book has only enhanced the experience as it addresses real life experiences that teens find meaningful. As a tutor it has provided me with an opportunity to not only teach reading strategies that build comprehension but also to help my student open up about some of his own thoughts and hopes as he transitions from childhood to adulthood. Usually he is reluctant to talk about what is important in his life, but this book is a real invitation to talk. I recently started it with a second male student and hope to read it with one of my girls.

Doug Wilhelm has a way of weaving events in language and experience that reaches into the teenage psyche. He presents the hard issues of growing up in a style that even reluctant readers can manage. I consider myself a rather critical reader of adolescent literature. Much of it I don't think is appropriate because the way serious issues are handled and children with disabilities are placed in demeaning or controversial situations. The story in Falling is thoughtful and sensitive as well as provocative.
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