First sentence: I'm waiting in the wings, watching all of the fathers dancing onstage.
Premise/plot: Falling Over Sideways chronicles Claire's eighth grade year in a way that only Jordan Sonnenblick can. Claire is upset that a) her friends got promoted to the next dance class level, and she didn't; b) most of her teachers previously taught her older, oh-so-perfect brother, Matthew; c) her home room and most of her classes have more bullies than friends; d) her father has had a major stroke and has lost the ability to talk, write, read. Mid-September family life gets way complicated. All of the complexities of life make for a great coming of age story.
My thoughts: Sonnenblick is one of the best contemporary writers when it comes to characterization. (The one exception might be the mom in this one. Though that might be a case of me not getting her personality.) Claire's relationships with everyone--from her perfect brother to the former-friend turned enemy (Ryder)--are so well done! (I appreciated the fact that he didn't try to squeeze in a romance. This middle grade read was perfect without rushing ahead.)
I really loved this one. It might pair really well with The Seventh Wish. Both heroines are into dance, focus on friendship, and feature a family in crisis coming together.