Monday, October 4, 2010

Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell (3/5 stars)

Falling InReading level: Middle Grade/YA
Genre: Fantasy
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Atheneum
Release Date: March 2nd, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1416950325
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: From Library
Rating: 3/5 stars

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 kids; a witch that Isabelle really wishes she could meet.  Isabelle's time in this other place will teach her a lot about herself and maybe even teach her something about friendship.

Overall this book is okay.  It was very readable and written in a friendly off-hand type of tone that comes off as kind of funny at times.  Isabelle as a character is pretty uninspiring, you can understand why Isabelle doesn't have any friends; she doesn't really try to make herself approachable but goes out of her way to be different and difficult.

I was hoping for a bit more magic and danger in this book, but all in all it was pretty tame and not all that creative.  Isabelle meets a girl and learns how to make friends.  They find out that the witch is not what they originally thought.  There really isn't any blatant magic, no enemies, and the alternate world Isabelle falls into is much like our world but earlier in history.  One bright part to the story is that later on in the book each chapter starts with a sketch of an herb and the herb's medicinal benefits; this was interesting and added some interesting information to the story.

Although it was a fine book about friendship and finding one's place in life, I didn't find it particularly interesting.  Young girls might enjoy this book but I think young adults and adults will be hard pressed to find much to intrigue them here.  It is a very short book and maybe takes an hour or two to read.  I personally would set my sights on something a bit more magical though.

Overall an okay book.  In general well-written.  Not all that magical or interesting though.  It is mainly about a young girl trying to find her place in life and struggling to make friends.  I probably won't read Dowell's future books since they seem to focus more on social problems with young girls than with magic and fantasy.

This book went towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Falling In 

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