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Falling In

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,670 Ratings  ·  292 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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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 ...more
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
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)
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
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 ...more
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 ...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.
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 ...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
Jun 29, 2011 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.
Nov 18, 2016 Robb rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A quirky and entertaining novel for middle school.
froot loops
Oct 19, 2016 froot loops rated it really liked it
livvvvv it
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
Oct 10, 2016 Hallie rated it it was amazing
Great book
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
Dec 29, 2010 Karissa rated it liked it
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
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 ...more
Jul 31, 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
Becky B
Dec 05, 2013 Becky B rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Wandering Librarians
Falling In is the not so quintessential story of a girl that doesn't fit in. Isabelle Bean ponders the beauty of dirt, doesn't like to shop with her mother, considers spilled jam beauty marks, feels like she is always precariously standing on the edge of something new, and hears a consistent buzzing noise rising from the floor. Isabelle isn't crazy, it turns out she belongs in a different world! It is in this new world where she is able to make friends and understand that her daydreaming can be ...more
Barb Middleton
Jul 09, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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 ...more
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
Lacey Louwagie
Feb 26, 2010 Lacey Louwagie rated it liked it
This is another book in the vein of "Alice in Wonderland," "Coraline," etc., about a girl who "falls into" another world after being dissatisfied by her own. Once there, she finds herself in the middle of "witch season," a time when all villagers send their children out to "camps" to keep them safe from the witch who will supposedly gobble them up.

The camps felt like a big plot hole to me -- while I liked the idea of them and understood the purpose they served in the story, I couldn't figure out
Nov 01, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
This is my third Dowell book and, like the others, I liked it fine but doubt that the story will stay with me. Unlike the other two, this book had a great sense of humor. One reviewer on this site felt that the narrator addressing the reader in alternating chapters was disconcerting but I loved it. It really worked for me. The story goes like this. Isabelle Bean, a middle-schooler, has never fit in but it doesn't really bother her because she has always had a vague sense that she belongs ...more
Apr 15, 2013 Nobies57 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-ya
Isabelle Bean lives on the fringe. She is not a very good student, she doesn't have any friends to speak of. She's aware of all this, and of a buzzing sound that has been in her head all morning. Isabelle, in fact, hears a lot of things, very well. When she opens the closet in the nurses office, to find an icepack, she falls in. Like, Alice, like Gregor, to an alternate universe, but this one reminiscent of old New England around the time of the witch hunts.
Isabelle is accused of being a witch,
Dec 30, 2011 06mirandah rated it it was amazing
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
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
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While Frances O'Roark Dowell (Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water) is best known for her award-winning novels, she also hosts the popular "Off-Kilter Quilt" podcast, where she talks about her latest quilt projects with friends and fellow quilters around the globe. Her own little corner of the globe is Durham, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a ...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.”
“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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