40 pages 1 hour read

Jordan Sonnenblick

Falling Over Sideways

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2016

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Chapter 21-Epilogue

Chapter 21 Summary: “Breaking Through, Breaking Down”

Claire’s mother texts that her father is speaking again, shocking Claire and her friends. When Grandma picks Claire up from school, they go to the hospital. There, Claire sees that her father looks more like his old self— “really there again,” which is made clearer when he, without his feeding tube and not needing much oxygen, says, “Oh, my Claire. You…saved…me” (211).


Though Claire’s dad returns home, he’s now so tired that he doesn’t want to do anything but sleep. Though Claire thinks about dropping dance during this time, she manages to hang on. One day, she asks Miss Laura again about moving up and learns that she currently just doesn’t have what it takes: “it just comes down to work. How hard are you going to work?” (214) Miss Laura affirms that if Claire really pushes herself, she might be able to move up like her friends.


Though Matthew is usually levelheaded, he begins to crack. While decorating the Christmas tree, he breaks down and says that he wants his old life back, but feels bad when his father asks if he stopped all his usual activities on his account.


Claire’s father attempts to do his physical therapy at home but has a hard time completing the exercises.