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Falling In

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,376 ratings  ·  271 reviews
B z z z z z z z. The buzzing sound? Do you hear that?

Isabelle Bean does. And as the protagonist of Frances O’Roark Dowell’s Falling In soon learns, it’s not actually that great to have a buzzing in your ear.

It’s distracting for one thing. And when Isabelle starts listening to the buzz instead of, say, her boring teacher, strange things happen. She gets sent to the principa
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,542)
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Carissa
probably will get this one confused with the Lost Children book that I just recently read (also about falling into another world with unfortunate children), but it was definitely different. I actually loved the writing in this one--very non-traditional (the author tends to jump in at times and just talk as herself) chapter 16 starts out, "As i write this, there's a spider on my wall, and it's tempting to reach out and smash it." and ends, "Go in peace, little brown spider. You're welcome here." ...more
Caroline
A fun quirky and inventive fantasy for elementary and middle school readers. While different in tone than Kate DiCamillo's Tale of Desperaux, the author's direct aside to readers creates a similar feel. Readers who enjoyed the story of an undersized mouse with big dreams will likely enjoy the story of Isabelle Bean, a young girl with a big imagination and a touch of "otherworldliness." A girl who doesn't quite fit in-who is quiet but not shy, who talks in riddles but isn't rude.

Isabelle Bean is
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J.
Isabelle Bean is one of those girls who seems to be in her own little world. She's in sixth grade and has no real friends as the other girls find her a bit odd. So, she's not entirely surprised when she opens a closet and falls through into another world, kind of like Alice, but without all the annoying characters. In the other world she finds all the children on the run from a witch. But instead of joining them on their trek to the safe camps, she sets out to find the witch. After all, what cou ...more
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Isabelle Bean is a quirky middle schooler that is pretty much in her own world. On her way to the principal's office, she opens the door and then literally falls into this fantasy world. In this world the children are running from a witch and they fear perhaps Isabelle could be THE witch. What is even scarier is the fact that this witch eats children. Instead of running from this witch like the other children, she decides to find said witch. After all, Isabelle is convinced that she is a changel ...more
NebraskaIcebergs
Falling In is a welcome change from the darkness and broodiness that one gets these days in fantasies written for older youth. Without the burden of emotional angst, juvenile fantasies are free to launch readers into imaginative worlds. Written by Frances O’Roark Dowell, Falling In is full of whimsy and diverse friendships!

The summary alone intrigued me: “Isabelle Bean follows a mouse’s squeak into a closet and falls into a parallel universe where the children believe she is the witch they have
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Tara
This is definitely a Juvenile book that should be read by tweens or to tweens... As an adult, I found the book to be cute, but underwelming. My daughter enjoyed the story and the other world was interesting. Really, the biggest positive about this book is the lesson that can be taught about judging someone without getting to know them.
(view spoiler)
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Brenda
I really liked how the story opens with "On the morning this story begins..." For me, it captures how fairy tales begin. The author goes on to introduce Isabelle Bean, "an only child of a lonely family." Isabelle is considered by most to be dull, different and is somewhat of an outcast in her class. Instead she is the girl who likes to wear red boots stuffed with toilet paper because she thinks they complete her. She talks in riddles and only when spoken to. Most of all she is a dreamer of thing ...more
LJ
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Mitnick
This is a curious hybrid of a fantasy. It's part modern-girl-visits-fairytale-world, a la the Narnia books or Alice in Wonderland, and it's part a rustic witch-and-woods fairytale. The plot and magical happenings are quite humble and old-fashioned, with some herbal lore, a magical book, and a bit of low-grade mind reading, and yet the tone is quite modern, with the narrator addressing the reader directly in breezy, colloquial language. Here's an example:
"Here's the deal: One day a beautiful, per
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nicole
I couldn't tell you the main plot. After 86 pages, we still weren't there and I was starting to grow restless. I couldn't get behind Isabella, even though I myself was not often picked until last for gym class and had a penchant for wearing accessories I believed to be quirky and adorable. I didn't like that the narrator would break world-building in order to say nonsensical things that were later repeated, such as the traveling nature of spiders. I know some of the other Cybils panelists had ha ...more
Krys
One day loner Isabelle Bean follows a buzzing sound in her school to a closet, where she falls into another world. Immeadiately accused of witchcraft she is befriended by a sturdy girl named Hen and sets off to encounter an old witch woman. Isabelle has often wondered why she is the way she is. What will being in another world prove about her?

It was fun. It was quick. I had a hard time focusing on it because sometimes the middle grade books are just too...well... middle grade for me. But there w
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Suzy Cooksey
My eleven year old daughter brought this book home from the library and I had just finished reading a book so picked it up. I read it in a couple of short sittings and really had to push through the first 1/3 or so of it before I really got into it. Isabelle Beane is a girl who just doesn't quite fit in...until she falls in...into a world that believes in witches, fairies and magic. She meets a group of children who actually become her friends, and learns about herself and her mother. I'm going ...more
Jesse German
Falling In was an amazing story that takes you on a journey as if it were actually happening to you. Frances O'Roark Dowell is an amazing author and really knows how to captivate her audiences attention. This story is about a girl named Isabelle who opens up the door to the nurse's office and ends up "falling in" to another world. This book is about her journey while she is there, she meets a girl named Hen and is told about a witch that eats all of the children. The witch turns out not to be a ...more
Tirzah
Jan 29, 2014 Tirzah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fellow Fairy Tale Fanatics
Shelves: juvenile-fic, fantasy
Well, I fell right into Falling In! I listened to the audio version. At first, the narrator's voice reminded me of a highly annoying character from one of my TV shows. With dread, I thought I'd picture the TV character's face throughout the whole story, but this narrator does a good job at varying voices and I soon forgot all about the TV character.

But I digress...back to the story itself-it was charming, heartwarming and simply magical. It is more of a folksy story rather than fantasy, so do n
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Cejohnston
This book is a fun read for upper elementary grades (probably 4-6). It is about a young girl who is a little quirky and different. She falls into another world where the people think she is a witch (due to her strange looking boots). Throughout the book, the author also writes as herself instead of just the main character, Isabelle. It would be important to discuss this detail with your students so that they do not get confused about who is speaking. The plot of this book has been related to Ali ...more
Betsy
One Sentence Review: Dowell comes as close as she ever has doing fantasy and the result is a rather lovely reinterpretation of witch-related fairy tales.
Caitlintobin
The second half of this book is much better than the first part. I did not understand the purpose of the different events or the reason the characters' lives were connecting at the beginning. The storyline seemed very haphazard at first. The author also interrupts the story with short asides that I did not think were necessary.

Once the two girls, Isabelle and Hen, meet Grete, the book got a lot more interesting. I liked the secret relationship that is revealed between Grete and Isabelle.

Josiah
I would definitely bump my rating of this book up to two and a half stars.

There's a lot about Falling In that's very innovative. Author Frances O'Roark Dowell takes unexpected breaks during the text to directly address the reader about certain things that are happening in the story, if those happenings require some additional background information or an in-depth explanation. These sections tend to be the funniest parts of the story, imbued with a fresh sense of humor that I really didn't know
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Amalia
May 02, 2011 Amalia added it
Shelves: 2011-challenge
Falling In is something a little different from the Frances O'Roark Dowell books I have read thus far. While I enjoyed reading it, and the mystery surrounding much of the story, there was a certain unease that plagued me throughout, a niggle of dissatisfaction. The Secret Language of Girls and it's successor,The Kind of Friends We Used To Be were both straight forward yet fascinating explorations of friendship and its ability to withstand the traumas of growing up. Falling In has a darker edge t ...more
Maricor
Falling In By Frances O’Roark Dowell (2010)
Fantasy, 256 pages
Isabelle Bean was never a normal child and neither is this half fairytale. After being sent to the office again for something that was not her fault, eleven-year-old Isabelle turns a knob to a door that is supposed to lead her into the nurse’s closet but instead finds herself falling in true Alice in Wonderland fashion. She lands in a new world with five villages and learns that an evil witch has been hunting children from one village
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Kirby
The opening and set up of this book is irresistible! Isabelle Bean has always felt like an outsider, "teetering on the edge of the universe." And one day, she is completely distracted from spelling tests and schoolwork by a buzzing that seemed to come up from the floor. When she is sent to the principal's office, she hears what sounds like a colony of mice squeaking in the supply closet. She opens the door to investigate. . .and falls in. . .to another world.

Every kid who has ever felt that she
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An Abundance of Books
Featured at An Abundance of Books

"On the morning this story begins, Isabelle Bean was convinced she was teetering on the edge of the universe"

While one might think, "Poor Isabelle," Isabelle never really pitied herself. Yes, she had given up on making friends, she was made fun of and ignored, and her mother didn't really know how to be a mother, but it was her life. She was different from the other students, and that was fine, she liked herself (though a friend would have been nice.) Her mother
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Ms.Gaye
Isabelle Bean is not popular. She has no friends and she thinksadults lack imagination and originality. Sometimes Isabelledreads growing up but she never gives up hope thatsomething unusual or unexpectedwill happen to her. On a typical day at middle school when she is (again!) sent to the principal's office, a "sudden squeak followed by a piercing squeal" leads Isabelle to investigate what's going on behind the door of the nurse's office. Finding out that a mouse ran into the closet, Isabelle tw ...more
Jackie
Aug 22, 2010 Jackie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Amber
Shelves: 2010
What a cute fairy tale/fantasy! I think some people might be bothered by the author's direct address to the reader every other chapter or so, but it makes sense at the end...

I have been having a difficult time, of late, in finishing a book I've started because all I really want to read right now is Mockingjay , and this story might have fell by the wayside as well, had it not been for the dramatic turn in the middle of the book. I mean, Dowell drew me in from the start, enticing me with a buzz t
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Teresa
"Middle-schooler Isabelle Bean follows a mouse's squeak into a closet and falls into a parallel universe where the children believe she is the witch they have feared for years, finally come to devour them." CIP

"Grownups lack originality".p4

Reminds me a little of Breadcrumbs (by Ursu), in her apt description of someone who just doesn't fit in, who has a "barely visible edge of other-worldliness" that runs through her. She had a friend, but the other girls stole her, so they could be the insiders
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Barb Middleton
Isabelle Bean is a strange girl and at school she is bullied, teased, and quirky. A buzzing sound in class distracts her from the lesson and she is sent to the Principal’s office. Isabelle “falls into” a closet and finds herself in a completely different world. She's still in a school but it has different students she looks different from the other students with odd clothes and red boots. Because she's different they accuse her of being a witch. She convinces them that she isn’t and follows a pa ...more
Alan
This is the story of a girl, Isabelle Bean, who doesn't fit in, who has no friends, who even thinks she may have been a changeling, stolen by the fairies. Of course that's not true, but it isn't far from the truth either. One day, at school, while slowly walking to Vice Principal Closky's office, again, Isabelle hear's a scream coming from the Nurses office. When she goes to investigate, Charley Bender tell's Issabelle that she just saw a mouse, and it went into the closet... Well, when Issablle ...more
Becky B
Isabelle Bean is different from all the other kids. No, she doesn't have green hair or a horrible disability, she's just not on the same wavelength. So Isabelle isn't entirely surprised when she opens a door and falls into a new world. She soon figures out the world she's fallen into has this problem with a witch. It seems the locals went and killed the witch's baby many, many years ago and ever since the kids in the towns have to take turns hiding in the woods while the witch moves into their t ...more
06mirandah
Title: Falling In
Author: Frances O'Roark Dowell

Summary: Falling In is about a girl named Isabelle. She beleives she is from a magical place, but she really just wants to know where this magical place is, if there even is a magical place. She falls through the closet floor. When she awakens from her horrid fall she realizes she is no longer in the real world. She runs into a girl named Hen. Hen ran away from her siblings to capture the evil witch. Hen and Isabelle begin their journey together to
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Halle Bentley
Falling in
By Frances O'Roark Dowell
Fantasy

When Isabelle Bean falls into a magical world she discovers a whole new world. This world has some scary secrets though. Apparently and witch is on the hunt for children; children to eat. Isabelle is told to journey to a camp that would keep her safe from the witch but she decides it would be more fun to meet the witch. On her journey, Isabelle is accompanied by a little girl named Hen. Hen wants to make it the camp, so she can be safe from the witch.
...more
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Frances O'Roark Dowell is an author of middle-grade fiction. Her books have received numerous awards, including an Edgar (Dovey Coe), the William Allan White Award (Dovey Coe), the Christopher Award (Shooting the Moon), the Voya Book Award (Where I'd Like to Be), and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Fiction, Honor Book (Shooting the Moon). Dowell has an MFA in Creative ...more
More about Frances O'Roark Dowell...
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“What filled the rooms of Grete's cottage so decidedly were woven baskets and wooden boxes and clay pots glazed in red and blue, each with its own mishmash of this and that. Roots and leaves still redolent of dirt. Balls of scratchy wool-purple twining into pink easing into periwinkle fading into gray. At least three boxes held squares and strips of fabric, all colors, and eight pots overflowed with apples.
The walls were lined with shelves, the shelves were lined with books. Wordless spines peered out. As soon as Isabelle saw them, she itched to open it up and read it from cover to cover.”
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“Perhaps you'll apprentice to a healer when you're older," Grete suggested. "I'd say you have the gift for it."
Hen reddened, then seemed suddenly fascinated with a speck on her shoe. "Be nice to have a gift for something," she said after a moment. "But they don't let girls apprentice, now, do they?"
Grete harrumphed. "A bunch of fools, the lot who came up with that system. You lose half the world's brainpower that way.”
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