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Falling In Hardcover – March 2, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141695032X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416950325
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,199,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Isabelle Bean has no friends since her classmates consider her weird and even scary. She prefers thrift shops to the mall and dresses in whatever she feels like at the moment. One day, sitting in class concentrating on a strange buzzing sound, she is sent to the principal's office for not paying attention. She opens the door to a supply closet and is plunged into a fairy-talelike world in an alternate universe. She encounters children traveling to the "camps" to avoid being eaten by the Witch of the Woods and meets Hen, and they set out on their own in the opposite direction. Arriving at a cozy cottage, the girls are welcomed by Grete, an elderly woman who uses plants to heal. Isabelle learns that Grete is her grandmother and that she may be the "witch" the people have been taught to fear. Armed with only her determination and intuitive nature, Isabelle marches off to the camps to dispel the rumor of the witch. It is here the plot thickens as Dowell offers twists, turns, and a tragic near-death. Throughout the book she addresses readers directly as though she is telling the story to them. Isabelle's adventures come to a satisfying conclusion as she "falls out" of her school closet a little wiser and maybe a bit more likely to make a friend, and she reminds readers to just believe that "the doors are out there. Don't be afraid to turn the knob."—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Feeling like a changeling in her own world, sixth-grader Isabelle Bean falls into another, where she meets her healer grandmother, Grete, and corrects a misunderstanding that had terrorized generations of children. Although it uses traditional tropes and the faintly medieval setting of much of children’s fantasy, this perfectly paced story has enough realistic elements to appeal even to nonfantasy readers. The plot centers on Isabelle’s efforts to convince the other world’s children that her grandmother is not a wicked witch. This task is complicated but ultimately accomplished by Grete’s accidental poisoning at the hands of a small boy. The storyteller’s voice is evidenced by the opening line (“On the morning this story begins”) and occasionally interrupts the narrative with explanation and rumination. The decidedly opinionated narrator’s privileged stance lends a sense of directness and immediacy to the telling, and the adult perspective allows for more complex language and deeper understanding. Dreamy and distractible, Isabelle is an appealing protagonist whose newfound gift for hearing calls for help reflects how she has grown up enough to see beyond herself. Like Isabelle, her story has that “barely visible edge of otherworldliness” that gives it power. Grades 4-7. --Kathleen Isaacs

More About the Author

Frances O'Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award, Where I'd Like to Be, the bestselling The Secret Language of Girls, and its sequel The Kind of Friends We Used to Be, Chicken Boy, Shooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Medal, and most recently Falling In. She lives with her husband and two sons in Durham, North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

I liked how the book was sort of a story within a story and the writing was good.
Melissa A. Palmer
I recommend this book for young readers, but I especially recommend it to those parents or teachers who are looking for a fun book to read out loud.
Silmarwen
Most of the story is told by Isabelle, but the author interrupts now and then to tell the reader some back story about fairies or magic.
pamelathompsonblogger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Silmarwen VINE VOICE on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Isabelle Bean never quite fit in at school or at home or anywhere really. So she is not a bit surprised to find another world on the other side of the nurse's closet door at school and she eagerly steps in. The children Isabelle meets in the other world presume that she is a witch and want nothing to do with her. After convincing the children that red, pointy boots do not a witch make, Isabelle is instructed to retreat to the children's camp in the woods so that the witch won't find her and eat her. But Isabelle doesn't always do what is sensible or even what she is safest. She decides that it would be much more interesting to meet a witch in this new world and promptly heads off in that direction. Along the way, she befriends Hen, a clever young girl about her own age, and Grete, a wise, old herb woman who is both more and less than she seems...

This is a charming little book intended for readers ages 8 - 12. I think that it is a good, gentle introduction to fantasy books if your child is interested in reading that genre. The story is fairly simple and easy to follow, but while the "mystery" is really no surprise for older readers, younger readers will delight in trying to figure out who Isabelle really is and if Grete is really a witch. The type is fairly large and the pages a bit smaller than usual so young readers will make rapid progress and should finish the book pretty quickly.

The writing style was my favorite part of the book. It is written in a confidential, story-telling mode that experienced actors and performers use to engage their audience. However, I will say that one of the things I both enjoyed and did not like about the writing style were the random asides inserted by the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Maynard VINE VOICE on April 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Something could be on the otherside of that door. Perhaps another world? This is the setting to "Falling In" by Frances O'Roark Dowell. This book was overall inventive; I found that I didn't always know where the author was going with the story, and I like that.

Isabelle Bean is a misfit in her life. She thinks about things differently from the average kid. She ends up having an adventure that explains why she is so different. Or, was it all real? It is kind of similiar to Alice in Wonderland in the sense it leaves you wondering if the author intended the story to be real or not.

I really enjoyed the author's style of writing. She speaks to the reader in a confidential way. It was refreshing. Overall, the book itself is well-written. Nowadays, we get some great storylines, but the quality of writing isn't very good. Not so here. She demonstrates an ability to actually "write" in the true sense of the word. The book is written for ages 8-12. I think boys may like the story as well (or at least read it in secret).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on March 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Isabelle Bean is not like the others. She's quirky and imaginative, a dreamer. As a result, she is thoroughly ostracized by the kids at school. Even her mother, an orphan and a widow herself, isn't certain how to interact with a girl who doesn't want to shop at the mall for clothes.

Surprisingly stoic about her social status, Isabelle is as much puzzled as troubled by the situation. A great reader, especially of fantasy, she decides she must be a changeling. For one thing, what is that buzzing noise she's been hearing all morning at school? Sent to the principal's office for not paying attention in class, Isabelle steps into the nurse's office and, imagining the possibilities, opens a mysterious door. Her final remark to a classmate waiting for the nurse is, "Yes, I believe I'd like to visit the country of Mice. I'll try to be back by lunchtime, but if I'm not, save one perfect french fry for me, would you?" Then Isabelle "falls in," emerging in another world, another school.

There the children take one look at her clothes and accuse her of being a witch. After semi-convincing them she's not, Isabelle sets out to explore her new domain. It turns out the local villages send their kids away to camp in the forest for fear of a horrible child-eating witch. Isabelle being Isabelle, she heads straight for the witch. Along the way, she meets a village girl named Hen who agrees to accompany her, although Isabelle hides her true purpose. They eventually come to the cottage of an old herbwoman named Grete who feeds them and teaches them her craft--but Isabelle begins to suspect that Grete is the witch.

Other than Isabelle's initial journey to another world and some mild psychic powers, there's not a whole lot of magic in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Eckert on October 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I actually saw this book on the Amazon Vine program but never got around to requesting it. So I decided to pick it up at the library. It sounded like a neat book. Overall it was okay and decent, but nothing spectacular.

Isabelle is different. She doesn't really get along with the rest of the girls her age and then she starts hearing this buzzing. She follows the buzzing to a closet at school and literally falls into another world. In this fantasy world there is an evil witch that is trying to eat kids; a witch that Isabelle really wishes she could meet. Isabelle's time in this other place will teach her a lot about herself and maybe even teach her something about friendship.

Overall this book is okay. It was very readable and written in a friendly off-hand type of tone that comes off as kind of funny at times. Isabelle as a character is pretty uninspiring, you can understand why Isabelle doesn't have any friends; she doesn't really try to make herself approachable but goes out of her way to be different and difficult.

I was hoping for a bit more magic and danger in this book, but all in all it was pretty tame and not all that creative. Isabelle meets a girl and learns how to make friends. They find out that the witch is not what they originally thought. There really isn't any blatant magic, no enemies, and the alternate world Isabelle falls into is much like our world but earlier in history. One bright part to the story is that later on in the book each chapter starts with a sketch of an herb and the herb's medicinal benefits; this was interesting and added some interesting information to the story.

Although it was a fine book about friendship and finding one's place in life, I didn't find it particularly interesting.
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