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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful from start to finish
The Time It Takes To Fall is a wonderful debut novel by a clearly promising author. It's a coming-of-age novel set in Cape Canaveral, Florida just before and after the Challenger disaster. Dean perfectly captures so many things but I think I was particularly drawn in by her deft portrayal of eleven to thirteen-year-old girlness. Dean touches on the power that girls...
Published on February 19, 2007 by Reader

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the beginning, hated the end
I really have no interest in the space program and didn't know anything about this book before randomly picking it from the library shelf - but I was so glad I happened to stumble upon it, at least up until the last couple chapters. At first it was hard to put down and I was truly enjoying the book, until it sort of fell apart at the end. While the beginning of the book...
Published on April 8, 2011 by rasnew414


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful from start to finish, February 19, 2007
By 
Reader (Syracuse, NY United States) - See all my reviews
The Time It Takes To Fall is a wonderful debut novel by a clearly promising author. It's a coming-of-age novel set in Cape Canaveral, Florida just before and after the Challenger disaster. Dean perfectly captures so many things but I think I was particularly drawn in by her deft portrayal of eleven to thirteen-year-old girlness. Dean touches on the power that girls have over each other, the awfulness and wonder of being smart, the fear and power of sex, the longing for and resistance against parents, and even that first trip to buy a bra. And yet, Dean also managed for the book not to feel too much about any of these things. She also skillfully captured the one-company town aspect of Central Florida. What must it be like to have everyone's father work for NASA? Dean masterfully weaves together growing up, girlhood, friendship, family strife, NASA, and the Challenger disaster to create a smooth, rich tale that satisfies on multiple levels. I found it nearly impossible to put down. I'm eager for more from this talented writer!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful first novel!, September 10, 2007
By 
OolooKitty (los angeles, ca) - See all my reviews
What a terrific book. Dolores is one of the most realistic teens in recent fiction, and her relationship with couldbe best friend Eric, which is affected by Dolores' need to be accepted by the snobbish kids at school, rings terribly true. Her complex relationship with her mother is also very nicely handled. The backdrop of Florida before and after the space shuttle disaster is fascinating and feels painstakingly researched. Dean manages to give the reader lots of background on the space shuttle program without making her prose feel teacherish; we learn about it as Dolores does, and her "space notebook" is a good device for adding that historical detail to the story. Tension definitely mounts as we approach the space shuttle disaster, and it's handled effectively and with great feeling, rather than being exploitative in any way.

I read A LOT, and this book stood out as one of the best things I've read in a while -- it's good enough that I was inspired to fire off an email to the author, something I've never done before.

Keep it up, Ms. Dean -- what a wonderful read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read!, April 4, 2007
This is a wonderful book. It fulfills two great reasons I read a book...a great story, and a little education thrown in. If you have an affinity for the space program (even a little one) you'll love the book. If you don't have that affinity, you'll get a fabulous story of a very complex family dynamic. The characters are complex, yet simple. I loved the mother, who although maybe didn't deal with life as most would hope, she was just trying to figure out what it was all about. The father was a technician at NASA at the launch site in Florida, and I found him a tad on the weak side, but he came through in my mind finally. The two daughters were delightful, the younger of the two being adorable, the older coming of age during the book. Fascinating play on family workings. The space program was covered in a way that I'd not seen it done before...delving lightly into the engineers of NASA and the technicians who work on the shuttles. This wasn't heavy, just informative. The Challenger tragedy (death of Christa McAuliffe) is covered which interested me, no end. I felt her death deeply at the time. You won't be disappointed in this book....it's multi-faceted. And, it's a wonderful read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS A MUST READ!!!, February 1, 2008
THE TIME IT TAKES TO FALL

I spotted this book on the library new shelf and was drawn to it simply by the cover -- loved the picture of the space shuttle with all the hand-drawn stars surrounding it. Sometimes, you CAN judge a book by its cover and this is one of them!!

Such a great read. It is the l980's and we meet Dolores, a young teenage girl living in THE NASA town in Florida. Practically everyone in town has some connection with NASA and the space program. Dolores dreams of becoming an astronaut.

I loved how the author combined Dolores life and the 1986 CHALLENGER tragedy into a story of fiction. While the CHALLENGER is sadly true, it is wonderfully blended into the fictional life of Dolores.

Told from Dolores' narrative, this book is well written and moves along well. We meet Dolores' family -- her insecure mom, her dad, who works for NASA, and her younger sister. Such a good, typical family, full of love, but also full of problems. Dolores wants to fit in at school with the popular crowd. She has a friend in Eric who attends her school. Although he is a little odd and not popular, Dolores is drawn to Eric. His father is a big shot at NASA, and their families and their lives become intertwined.

The book does tell a lot of facts {many, many that were unknown to me} about the space program and the CHALLENGER disaster. However, the NASA programs and space shuttle details do not take over the book or read like a text. All the information regarding NASA was written in a very informative and interesting way that I did not find boring. I was 35 years old when the CHALLENGER blew up and that day still is clear as a bell to me. Like, where were you and what were you doing when this happened back in l986. What a horrible day.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to everyone. It deals with many issues and many problems of every day life. It also opened my eyes -- when the shuttle blew up, all I truly thought about was the tragedy and the loss of the astronauts lives and THEIR families. I never really considered how this disaster affected ALL the NASA employees, their jobs, their families, their careers, their entire being.

If you like good fiction with history thrown in, this book is for you.

Thank you!!

Pam
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Time It Takes To Fall - Excellent!, December 20, 2007
The Time It Takes To Fall

Fantastic, insightful and spectacular are only a few adjectives that could describe this coming of age novel by Ms. Margaret Lazarus Dean. As a sophomore girl it is not always easy to find a good book that keeps you wanting to read from the beginning to the end, especially about a topic that you are passionate about. However, The Time It Takes To Fall took many different aspects of a teenage girl's life, family and NASA to create a captivating novel definitely worth reading.
Set in Cape Canaveral, Florida from 1984 to 1986, The Time It Takes To Fall captures the life of Dolores Gray, a naïve eleven year old at the beginning of the book who dreams of becoming an astronaut. She lives with her father, mother and four year old sister. Her father, along with most of the children's parents of the town, works for NASA, but more specifically is a technician for the Solid Rocket Boosters of the Space Shuttle. Ever since Dolores was little, her and her father shared a passion for the Space Program, particularly the launches of the Space Shuttle. Dolores idolizes the astronauts, particularly female astronaut Judith Resnik, but is afraid of jeopardizing her popularity. In addition, Dolores struggles in deciding being friends with the not so cool boy in her class that shares her amazing smarts named Eric. As Dolores grows, she not only faces the troubles of fitting in at school but the hectic and emotional family situation at home. Her parents were having issues and her mother decides to leave as her way of figuring things out. Not knowing the stress and hurt this causes Dolores, she does not tell where she is. All happening in two years time, Dolores reaches high school as an advanced freshman because of a Gifted And Talented program. There she has to decide between being the smart physics girl and/or being cool enough for the high school boy she fancies. However, all this is blown aside when she witnesses the horrific tragedy of the Challenger Disaster, which shatters her world and views, causing her to change and realize what in life is really important.
The Time It Takes To Fall is more of a serious book but has some very appropriate teenage humor as well. It also contains a lot of good and interesting information on NASA and the Space Shuttle era but it is not overpowering or too much to swallow, the perfect amount. In addition, there were several themes that were brought fourth in this superb novel. There was first the issues of family, which clearly showed that no matter how much each other mess up and need help, it's okay, your family will always be there for you and no matter what and love you as Dolores figured out with her parents and little sister. Another important theme presented was self-confidence. Dolores had to learn throughout the book that she should not allow other people's opinions to affect her and that she should be confident in herself and not do things just so she will fit in with the crowd. Additionally, Dolores learns that being herself is what matters and that she should not allow things to get in her way of accomplishing her dreams which is very inspiring. Through this book I learned all the things that Dolores did as well as just loving everything I have and not taking it for granted for the reason that once Dolores experienced the Challenger Disaster, her world collapsed and she had to get through it as well as all her other problems. In a single second, everything you know could be shattered so I learned not to take advantage of what I have.
Ms. Margaret Lazarus Dean is a splendid writer and there were many positives to her writing style. Along with all the NASA information she gave, she did a wonderful job of making fiction characters revolving around the Space theme and making them as real as possible so that the reader could relate easily and to the majority of the things brought fourth in The Time It Takes To Fall. Her characters were very enjoyable as well as realistic at the same time. The only negative I could find about this novel was that it ended too soon. Although there was only so much more that Ms. Margaret Lazarus Dean could write about, I felt like there was more I needed to know as well as wanted to know about Dolores.
All in all, The Time It Takes To Fall is a spectacular book. For any teenage girl interested in the topic of Space and likes fiction but is interested in learning especially about NASA I would recommend this book to in particular but it is a great read for anyone because of the themes discussed. I have no question about giving this book a 5 stars out of 5. It is a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the beginning, hated the end, April 8, 2011
This review is from: The Time It Takes to Fall: A Novel (Paperback)
I really have no interest in the space program and didn't know anything about this book before randomly picking it from the library shelf - but I was so glad I happened to stumble upon it, at least up until the last couple chapters. At first it was hard to put down and I was truly enjoying the book, until it sort of fell apart at the end. While the beginning of the book seemed to be appropriate in terms of the voice of the middle-school aged protagonist, once the character entered high school, the author turned her character into an unlikable, and unbelievable 13 year old girl. The thoughts and maturity level (or lack there-of) displayed were beyond what any 13 year old would think/do. I was really disappointed in the end of this story, but enjoyed the 1st 85% of this reading.
The epilogue portion however, profiling what the Challenger astronauts may have experienced after the crash, took my breath away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, March 21, 2008
This review is from: The Time It Takes to Fall: A Novel (Paperback)
It's hard to believe that THE TIME IT TAKES TO FALL is Ms. Dean's debut novel. She writes like a seasoned author. I loved everything about this book. It brought back so many memories and I learned facts about NASA and the space shuttle program that I never knew. The way she intertwines the family dynamics with the Challenger tragedy is quite compelling.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a coming of age story with a little learning thrown into the mix. This novel is for everyone and I am anxiously waiting for her next amazing story. Way to go, Ms. Dean!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Page turner, April 3, 2007
By 
Reader Jean (northern California) - See all my reviews
I enjoyed Margaret Dean Lazarus coming of age novel which showed the confusion experienced in the early teen years very clearly. Her relationship with friends was realistic and even in my advanced years(50 year high school reunion this year)I related and remembered. Parents' actions as viewed by their children also rang true . I learned with her accurate description of the Challenger disaster. I also appreciated the epilogue with the author's description of what the seven astronauts may have experienced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, August 15, 2007
Because I have always been interested in the NASA Space Program, I gravitated to this book immediately. I appreciated how well a personal family story was interwoven with the Challenger disaster. The author did a wonderful job of making me aware of facts involving this tradgedy that until now I was unaware of. It is a great read and provided quite in-depth discussion in my book club. I highly recommend this book for everyone!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great fiction about a true and tragic event of space history, October 19, 2008
This review is from: The Time It Takes to Fall: A Novel (Paperback)
I bought this book because I was attracted by the combination of the Challenger disaster and the coming-of-age story of the main character, 13-year-old Dolores. I am a big fan of space flight and exploration and remember very well the sad day of the Challenger explossion, which changed the lifes of so many families. It is this kind of tragic event that shapes the way we see things and how we deal with technology. The author narrates very honestly and nicely the growing-up problems of Dolores; her new school, her boyfriend, her parents quiet separation ... And at the same time explains with full detail what happened to the Challenger during the previous months before the disaster and, of course, after the disaster. So for those curious of the Space Shuttle Challenger this book is fantastic as it provides a lot of true information. I had no expectations, good or bad, when I bought the book. But I must say that I really liked it a lot and found it most entertaining. It is brilliantly written.
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The Time It Takes to Fall: A Novel
The Time It Takes to Fall: A Novel by Margaret Lazarus Dean (Paperback - February 19, 2008)
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