This is an honest narrative about dealing with growing up and all the challenges that come along with it. I could relate to a lot of the questioning, doubt, and even the selfish moments Claire finds herself in throughout the book. I was 22 when I had to deal with this situation and I believe it would have been even harder had I been 10 years younger.
Claire and her family feel like they could have been my own, the neighbors next door, or my best friend's family. They are real, they are raw, they are not perfect. But underneath everything is love. Readers will find themselves or people they know in at least one of the characters.
The writing is not only powerful and heartbreaking, but also hilarious at the same time. It is one of the things that makes Sonnenblick's writing so incredible. He can make it okay to laugh even during the darkest times. In hindsight, sometimes we do need that humor to help us through those tough times. As a reader, you find yourself cheering on all the characters but especially Claire.
Sonnenblick is at his finest in Falling Over Sideways. Fans of his other novels, Drums, Girls,and Dangerous Pie, After Ever After, and Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, will not be dissapointed. This is a must read for middle and high school students as well as adults. Just make sure you have some tissues handy.