A friendship between two opposites provide a heartwarming, memorable reading experience.

Pictured on the left is Isaac. He lives and breathes basketball and is a budding superstar. On the right is Marcos. Academically gifted, he avoids sports and embarrasses himself at anything athletic. But these two sixth graders have been best friends since kindergarten.

One thing they do have in common is their parents are divorced or heading that way. Isaac’s father doesn’t live with them anymore as his drinking habit has led to frequent loud disagreements with his wife. Meanwhile, Marcos could never connect with his athletic father who remarried and has another son who may live up to his expectations.

These two besties are determined to help each other excel at what they aren’t good at. Could Issac possible get better grades and Marcos make the basketball team? Easier said than done despite the change of appearances on the cover.

Taking turns narrating 54 alternating chapters turns into a perfect way to bring out the emotion in each of these kids. They’ll do anything for each other, including sacrificing their own strengths if it will help their friend.

Sports fan and those middle graders who do not like to read have a new friend in FALLING SHORT.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 15, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 304


  1. You’ll learn about two former NBA stars that Marcos tries to emulate: Mugsy Bogues, the shortest NBA player in history; and Rick Barry whose trademark underhand free throw was a sensation.
  2. Despite their fathers being far less than a good dad, it doesn’t matter to Isaac and Marcos. They just want to bond with their father, and many young readers will see themselves in the portrayal.
  3. The great message that friendship is truly a gift and important for every kid.
  4. A rare look at the emotions of two middle grade boys who still have both parents (When usually in MG lit there is a dead or missing parent). This one will be hard to keep on the shelves as it garners new fans.
  5. I often find that the second book by an author is disappointing. Mr. Cisneross is far from that assumption. His first, Efron Divided, was a success and FALLING SHORT is on equal footing here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (Ernesto Cisneros)

I am a 20-year veteran teacher currently serving the city of Santa Ana: the colorful but mostly dismissed section of Orange County, California.  I teach reading and writing to local students at an inner-city intermediate school.  

I hold an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University.

(For more about the author visit his web site)


Comments are welcome below!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to FALLING SHORT

  1. Sounds a good story of a true friendship:) Thanks for the review!

  2. This sounds like a great story about two boys’ friendship. You don’t see that many books focusing on this. I’ve always wanted to read a book by this author. I’ll check it out. Thanks.

  3. I love the friendship between the boys. It’s nice when kids can talk to friends in similar situations with parents! Not so lonely. Sounds like a lot of kids will relate to this story. The author certainly certainly knows what tween deal with. Thanks for sharing!

  4. msyingling says:

    This is one that my students will definitely like! Thanks for the review!

  5. carolbaldwin says:

    Great book that sounds like it will find its way into lots of readers’ hearts.

  6. I already put a hold on this one at the library!

  7. Sue Heavenrich says:

    looks like another good one. I already have a hold on it at our library; can’t wait to read it.

  8. I like the idea of a nerd and athlete staying true to their friendship. Sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for the review.

Place your thoughts here with a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.