Books by L.M. Lynch

Released: Aug. 1, 2001

As if life with a gifted-and-talented little sister who watches an imaginary TV inside her head weren't bad enough, Laurel's favorite tree—the climbing tree—along the nature trail in her Westchester town is summarily chopped down by a reclusive new resident. As if the increasing distance between Laurel and her best-friend-since-forever weren't bad enough, she finds that her growing friendship with the daughter of said new resident threatens to isolate her in a community united against the "tree-killer." And as if all these narrative balls weren't enough to juggle, newcomer Lynch adds a ridiculous subplot in which the otherwise-intelligent Laurel becomes convinced that her new friend's brother has been taken over by a computer intelligence. Laurel herself is an appealing everygirl whose (rather overblown) sense that life has stacked the deck against her will resonate with many readers, and the details of the dynamics of sixth-grade friendships are finely drawn. But although it provides a platform for some fairly interesting facts about computers and artificial intelligence, Laurel's increasingly annoying obsession with her friend's brother distracts the reader from her much more interesting growth as a sister, as a friend, and as an independent thinker. Also increasingly annoying is the inexplicable device of beginning each chapter with a segment in the present tense before switching to the past tense. The title and the cover illustration highlight the computer subplot—a pity, since it's the weakest part of the whole. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >