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Falling In

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,623 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
B z z z z z z z

The buzzing sound?

Do you hear that?

There it is again.

B z z z z z z z

No? Well, I really shouldn't have asked. Most people can't hear it, anyway. But, if you could, you'd think it sounds like you're teetering on the edge of the universe. That's what Isabelle Bean thinks...and she's not that far from the truth.

B z z z z z z z

You really don't hear that?

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 3,000)
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Sep 23, 2010 Carissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
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
Sep 21, 2010 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
Sep 12, 2014 J.S. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-ya, vine
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
Jan 28, 2012 NebraskaIcebergs rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2012 Tara rated it liked it
Shelves: children, audiobooks
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)
Sep 11, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 31, 2010 LJ rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Mitnick
Jul 22, 2010 Eva Mitnick rated it liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
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
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
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
Suzy Cooksey
Jul 18, 2012 Suzy Cooksey rated it liked it
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
Feb 16, 2014 Jesse German rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa Engebretson
Falling In is a story that reminds me of Dorothy and the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Isabelle wears pointed red boots. She hears a buzzing in her ear, listens to the noise instead of her teacher, and gets sent down to the principal's office to receive her punishment. Awaiting the principal Isabelle falls into a fairy tale world and is thought to be a witch because of her pointy red boots who has come to eat the elves. Isabelle meets Grete her grandmother wh ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Cejohnston rated it really liked it
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
Jun 14, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 16, 2015 Linnae rated it liked it
Isabelle Bean has never really fit in at school. Then one day she opens a closet (at school) and literally falls into another world. A world where children are sent into the woods to get away from the wicked witch. The only thing is, Isabelle is not at all certain that there is a witch, or that the witch (if she exists) is wicked. So instead of following the children to "safety" she decides to take her own path to find the witch. Who and what she finds may be the catalyst for changing this whole ...more
Lacy Lovelace
Oct 15, 2015 Lacy Lovelace rated it really liked it
At first, I had a difficult time getting into the story because it started off a little slow and strange. When Isabelle falls into the other world then I began to really pick up more interest. In fact, I was on page 125-ish and I finished it to the end in one sitting! This is a really well written book and I loved how the author wrote humor into certain chapters. I thought it was a genius way to make the book more relatable. Very heart warming story at the core! Definitely a great, imaginative s ...more
3rd grade booktalk
On the morning this story begins, Isabelle began to hear a mysterious buzzing. Coming from where, she wasn’t sure – but it was very distracting. So distracting that she gives a math answer during spelling, and gets sent to the principal’s office for not paying attention. On her way there, dawdling and getting distracted as usual, Isabelle hears a sudden squeak and a squeal coming from the nurse’s office – so of course she peeks in. Investigating further causes Isabelle to open
Angelina Ortiz
Jan 07, 2015 Angelina Ortiz rated it it was amazing
***Spoiler Alert***
What will you do if you stumble across a world with in your school when you opened a door then fell in. This is a Adventure. This book is really interesting how this Isabelle learns that she not a changeling but her mother is.

This book is person vs self because Isabella struggles with finding friends and finding out about her self. This book is about a girl name Isabelle who fell in to a different world when she open the door to the supply closet room, meet new people hear ab
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.

Jul 26, 2015 Tirzah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fellow Fairy Tale Fanatics
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
Apr 02, 2011 Josiah rated it it was ok
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
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
Apr 13, 2011 Maricor rated it liked it
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
Oct 31, 2010 Kirby rated it liked it
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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"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
May 09, 2013 Ms.Gaye rated it really liked it
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
Aug 22, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it
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
"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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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), the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Fiction, Honor Book (Shooting the Moon), an
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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.”
“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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