Falling into Place

Overview

All the good things in Margaret’s world are collapsing, one by one, like a row of dominoes. First her dad remarried—plink. Then her grandfather died—plinkplink. Then her grandmother had to sell the house and move into a retirement community—plinkplinkplink. Now Dad’s new wife is having a baby, and Margaret is going to visit Gran at Carol Woods. There she learns that Gran is having an even harder time adjusting to change than Margaret herself.

Determined to cheer Gran up, ...

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Overview

All the good things in Margaret’s world are collapsing, one by one, like a row of dominoes. First her dad remarried—plink. Then her grandfather died—plinkplink. Then her grandmother had to sell the house and move into a retirement community—plinkplinkplink. Now Dad’s new wife is having a baby, and Margaret is going to visit Gran at Carol Woods. There she learns that Gran is having an even harder time adjusting to change than Margaret herself.

Determined to cheer Gran up, Margaret and her younger cousin, Roy, set out to find her some new friends. Their quest leads them to some of Carolwoods’ most colorful characters, and ultimately helps Margaret to ease both Gran’s pain and her own. Stephanie Greene, the author of the popular Owen Foote books, introduces an appealing and bold new heroine in this funny novel that handles its serious themes with a light touch.

As eleven-year-old Margaret struggles to find a way of coping with the hassles of a new stepfamily, she learns that her Gran is facing similar concerns after moving to a retirement community and becoming a widow.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Margaret Mack's life is like dominoes slowly falling down. The eleven-year-old suffers a series of life-changing events: her father remarries, she inherits three stepsisters, a new baby is on the way, and her special grandfather dies. Margaret feels her once-happy life vanishing, one memory at a time. She then goes to visit her grandmother and discovers that her beloved grandmother is no longer the energetic and loving person she once was. To make matters worse, Margaret must deal with her nerdy, whining cousin Roy who is also visiting Gran. In this good family story, everything eventually works out well. The book would be a good one for parents and children to discuss feelings and reactions to inevitable life events. Greene uses some fairly sophisticated vocabulary, and Margaret and Roy call one another rude names that may not be appropriate for a younger child. 2002, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Co, Ages 7 to 12.
— Emily Leising
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Margaret, 11, has three younger stepsisters who compete with her for her father's attention and, to make matters worse, a new baby is expected. When relations among the siblings get out of hand, her father suggests that Margaret visit her grandmother. She finds Gran depressed over her husband's death and the difficult transition from living in a quaint home to a retirement community where all the units look alike. She also discovers that her nerdy younger cousin is staying there as well. Things start to turn around for everyone when the cousins plan a party where Gran gets acquainted with her neighbors. In the process, Margaret comes to understand her own family situation better. The themes of coping with the dynamics of newly blended family and the death of a grandparent are aptly resolved by having the characters get involved with helping other people. The reading is easy, and the plot moves along quickly, naturally, and with some humor. The portrayal of the older adults in the retirement community is especially positive.-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Margaret's life is happy enough until all at once things seem to fall, like dominoes slowly knocking one another down. First her father remarries, gaining Margaret a new stepmother and three new sisters. Then Margaret's grandfather, Tad, gets sick and her grandparents have to sell their house and move into a retirement community. Margaret's new stepmother announces that they are going to have a new baby adding to the chaos in the house. And then Tad dies. Desperate to escape the new life that seems to be swallowing everything in its path, Margaret convinces her father that she should go and visit Gran. Unfortunately, when she arrives she finds that not only does she have to share her grandmother's attention with her young cousin Roy, but that her grandmother has changed from a vibrant and warm woman into a drawn, frightened, and bitter shell. The distraction from her own problems proves to be just what she needs as together Margaret and Roy attempt to bring their grandmother back to the woman she they knew. At once warm and thoughtful, this tale investigates the complexities of loss, blended families, and friendship. Poignant and true. (Fiction. 7-10)
From the Publisher
"At once warm and thoughtful, this tale investigates the complexities of loss, blended families, and friendship. Poignant and true." Kirkus Reviews

". . . Children will sympathize {with Margaret}. . . her assertiveness is tempered with courage. The happy ending is poignant and satisfying." Booklist, ALA

"Margaret is sympathetic and strong-willed. There is emotional satisfaction here [that] will have resonance for kids dealing with grandparental transitions." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618689286
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/18/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Greene is the author of six books about Owen Foote, as well as Falling into Place and Show and Tell. She lives with her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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