40 pages 1 hour read

Jordan Sonnenblick

Falling Over Sideways

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2016

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Important Quotes

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“I’m waiting in the wings, watching all of the fathers dancing onstage. Well, all the fathers except mine.” 

(Prologue , Page 1)

Sonnenblick’s attention-grabbing first sentence garners reader interest, raising the question of why Claire’s father isn’t dancing onstage, thereby foreshadowing the tragic plot. 

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“I have probably gotten that look ten thousand times since the morning last September when my father—and my life—tilted and slumped over sideways.” 

(Prologue , Page 2)

Claire references the novel’s title, Falling Over Sideways, by hinting that something disastrous happened to her father. This disaster, a stroke, upends every family member’s life. Sonnenblick cleverly uses foreshadowing here to draw in reader engagement.

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“Obviously, everything about school was designed by men, and periods prove it.” 

(Chapter 2, Page 17)

Claire uses humor effectively throughout the narrative, and though only 13, she provides astute social—even political—insight into how things are. Schools don’t want girls discussing periods, yet make it difficult for them to deal with their periods in private—rules clearly made by men. Claire can’t carry her tampon in a solid-color bag due to Homeland Security rules, yet it would be mortifying to brazenly carry one in her hand.