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Falling Over Sideways

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,951 ratings  ·  630 reviews
It’s not easy being Claire. (Really.)

Claire’s life is a joke…but she’s not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she’s dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there’s a boy, Ryder, who’s just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody’s really listening to her—if anything, they seem to be more in on the jok
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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John Claire is hilarious in the way she blatantly puts out her thoughts about her life. For this reason, SOME people may consider her a bit inappropriate f…moreClaire is hilarious in the way she blatantly puts out her thoughts about her life. For this reason, SOME people may consider her a bit inappropriate for a younger student. I don't know that I would read this book ALOUD to 6th graders, but if we were picking a novel they would be able to talk to their parents about the issues in the story.

Also, your father having a stroke is SERIOUS business, and again, SOME may find this inappropriate for younger students. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  5,951 ratings  ·  630 reviews

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Brenda Kahn
First off, full disclosure: I start each new Sonnenblick book with the predisposition toward liking it and usually end up loving it. We fans know that we can expect much laughter and many tears. Perhaps his years spent teaching middle school language arts honed his ear for authentic dialogue, but I also sense that he has great compassion - for teenage drama and about family dynamics. He manages to portray it all with affectionate honesty. I realized just this second, while thinking back on all h ...more
Alyssa Navarro
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was a little relatable to me. We are about the same age and have a little personality similarities. Although our situations are way different, I still felt a connection with the character. What kept me reading the story is what happened to the dad and his struggle. Claire showed to be a very brace teen and I wanted to know how her bravery helped herself and her fathers life. Overall, the book was great and I think I might read another book by this author.
Mrs. Davi
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't often read a book in one sitting, but this one had me hooked from page 1! Claire is a girl whose 8th grade issues magnify after her dad has a stroke. The way she was written was relatable to me as an adult and I laughed, cried, and just went WOW by the end of the story. Most definitely my favorite Sonnenblick book.
Alison Strandell
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has all the elements of a YA hit... sad family event, sibling rivalry, mean girls, practice practice and more practice for music and dance, and life sort of ironing itself out by the end of 8th grade. Easy for many to relate to, funny, and impactful.
Abby Johnson
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Classic Sonnenblick. I laughed through my tears. Highly recommended for his many fans or anyone who likes solid contemporary fiction that's both poignant and hilarious. Coming in September.
Lynn Plourde
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I ADORED this book; and while I'm being honest, I may as well admit that I have a reader's crush on author Jordan Sonnenblick. He GETS tweens and teens--the drama, the humor, the agony, the anguish, the exaggeration, the heart--all of it! How does this middle-aged male author write so perfectly about periods (the hormonal kind, not the punctuation kind)? I don't know how, but I'm so glad he does. Sonneblick makes me care, makes me read with my heart (not just my brain), and I SO LOVE him for tha ...more
Agata Wilusz
If I am not mistaken, this is the first novel by Jordan Sonnenblick that has a female protagonist and he nailed it! He not only did a wonderful job capturing life as an adolescent girl, but also the adventure that is middle school: wanting to fit in, needing to have an identity of your own, and needing the support of friends who are sometimes found in the most unlikely places.

Falling Over Sideways follows a year in the life of Claire, an 8th grade dancer and saxophone player, whose life turns u
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
OMG...this book was so so so so so so so so so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the father- daughter relationship they have. The ending was amazing. You guys should totally read it.
Ms. Yingling
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Claire has a lot going on when 7th grade starts, so it doesn't help that crazy old Mrs. Selinsky's homeroom is an odd mishmash of people who are at odds with each other but still have to go through the entire day together. She and Ryder used to be friends, but now he goes out of his way to make fun of her. Regina calls Claire "Starbucks" and strong arms Skittles from her. Leigh "compliments" her boots in a way that makes Claire want to immediately burn them
Jenna Buss
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think my favorite thing about this book was that it was so realistic. Claire had personality; she wasn't just a name on a page. Each character was so believable in the sense that they all acted like middle school students, not adults or children. I also really enjoyed how the author could take something so serious and saddening and yet make the book humorous at the same time. He wasn't making light of the topic, he just illustrated the mind of a middle school student (if that makes any sense. ...more
Aryana Parmar
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-caudills
I think this book may be my current 2019 Caudill, at least out of the ones that I have read. It was such a heartbreaking, inspiring story, and I absolutely loved it. It's a perfect book for anyone and everyone. Read it now!
Jaina Rose
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread, blogged
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

I read Sonnenblick's Zen and the Art of Faking It several years ago, and really loved it. I never remembered to look him up and see if there were any other books he'd written, though. Imagine my surprise and delight when this little gem showed up in a package on my doorstep! It was exactly what I was in the mood for, too. My mother has been going through her own (much less overwhelming, but still frightening) heart problems lately, and rea
Jennifer Girard
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book surprised me. I wasn't expecting such an heartwarming book. It was funny, sad and beautiful! I absolutely loved it!
Evan W
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
New record of 90 minutes!

Also saxophones are genetically superior to trumpets.
Joyce Yattoni
I listened to this book through Overdrive. I am loving the flexibility of this. I look forward to my mornings while I am getting ready for work and listening. Takes the stress out of the day.

WHAT A HEARTWARMING STORY! Claire is a typical 8th grader who talks "smack" about herself. She worries that she does not quite ever measure up. Twice as difficult for her since her brother is perfect so it seems. This book is filled with characters you would see walking down any middle school hallway: the m
Lauren Waters
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the protagonist in this story. Her relationships with her family and friends felt honest and genuine. I also liked how she was willing to make sacrifices to obtain her goals and better her relationships. The only gripe I had with this novel was the image of many adults, whether it be a teacher or dance instructor, being seen as heartless and cruel. Overall the plot was moving, and the resolution even had me tearing up.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-young-adult
Love his books! This has it all. Competition, illness, friendships, relationships, and most of all figuring out life! Really enjoyable read!
Jillian Heise
Funny, emotional, heart-warming. A great book for middle schoolers. One of my favorites I've read this year.
Mallory Lyon
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Claire loves dancing and playing the saxophone. Her life is just one big joke. Until something tragic happens that makes her life.. well, fall over sideways.
Rose (Adventurous Bookworm)
Oh boy. I'm not quite sure what to think. On one hand, the humor was great but there was more than one downside.
I almost DNF'ed at chapter two. This is so awkward to even type but by the end of the second chapter, the (male) author had already spent six pages on periods. It was way too much. I kinda feel bad for whatever female he questioned to be able to write it.
Secondly, this is a middle-grade book and it was trash-talking people with different political opinions than the main character's fam
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by Sonnenblick and I really enjoyed it.

The protagonist, Claire, is dealing with some difficult circumstances, specifically her father's stroke and his on-going need for care and rehabilitation. And yet, Sonnenblick doesn't dwell. Instead, this problem is one of a number of problems Claire is facing: her friends have been moved up a level in their dance school, leaving her behind; she's constantly irritated by several classmates who feel the need to insult her; and her Bio
Lindsay Nixon
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first I thought, “this is a great book for a 7th or 8th grader with a parent who has had an injury or recent diagnosis.” I was thankful such a book existed for a tween / young teen, but felt I was “too old for this”. Yet there was something so sweet about Claire, and her troubles at school felt a bit too familiar so I kept reading. By the end I was part of this family, a laughing and sobbing mess. I catch myself repeating jokes from the book (piggy) and wondering why no one else finds them co ...more
Rebecca Sofferman
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, dcf
Another excellent Jordan Sonnenblick book, in which the main character is having breakfast with her dad when he experiences a sudden medical emergency and she has to help him. The remainder of the book explores what it's like to be a kid in the aftermath of a life-changing event in which the family is thrown into chaos. How much do you tell your teachers? How much do you tell your friends? How can things ever be the same again and how can you be ok with that? As with most Jordan Sonnenblick stor ...more
Holly Mueller
Sonnenblick's stories are poignant, tender, funny, and emotional, and this one is no exception. When Claire has to deal with a sudden and unexpected illness in her family, she struggles. She is, after all, a young teenager, so she has the typical problems and angst that many teens face at school. When you add a father who's had a stroke, her life becomes overwhelming at times. I loved how her older brother, Matthew, played an integral part in showing some tough love and making her realize how sh ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always love Sonnenblick. I picked this one up because my son was on a Sonnenblick kick this past fall. This one was different than his other books because the main character was an 8th grade girl. He does such a good job of writing about difficult issues for middle & YA readers, and always had relatable characters & plot. ...more
Mrs. Hrubik
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2017
My favorite thing about any book by Jordan Sonnenblick is his ability to make me laugh at loud and cry in the same book. This one did not let me down. I love how he incorporates humor into the tough topics he tackles in his books.
*Side note- the main character's name is Claire and her mom calls her Claire Bear. Love that since I, too, have a Claire Bear
🐻 ❤️
Kim Bahr
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times the plot was a bit predictable, but the ending did touch my heart.
Kathy Mathey
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love this author's ability to blend serious issues with everyday humor.
Jayne Bartrand
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite Jordan Sonnenblick book and that is significant. The characters were mostly believable and when over the top it was a guilty pleasure. The stroke story line mimics that of a student in my class this year. She verified the reality of the text. I love how JS balances real life struggles and tragedy with humor ala Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie.
Anne Ciaccio
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story!
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I am the author of seven books for children and young adults, including Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. So if youʼre looking for info about some other guy named Jordan Sonnenblick, youʼve got the wrong website.
Anyway, I know a lot of people are looking for stuff they can use in reports for school, so Iʼll just get this out of the way right up front:
My favorite color is blue.
I have a wife and two kid

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