Kirkus Reviews QR Code
IF A TREE FALLS AT LUNCH PERIOD by Gennifer Choldenko

IF A TREE FALLS AT LUNCH PERIOD

By Gennifer Choldenko

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-15-205753-4
Publisher: Harcourt

Kirsten and Walk start the first day of seventh grade with one thing in common: They’re both late. This earns them a detention together, and they strike up an easy friendship, which seems to make their mothers uneasy for some reason. Could it be that Walk is the only black kid at the very private school? Or that Kirsten shows signs of an eating disorder, has lost her best friend to the wiles of the rich and snobby Brianna Hanna-Hines and seems to have no desire to fit in with the popular crowd? Choldenko’s talent for characters and conversation brings the two voices instantly to life in alternating points of view (Kirsten’s chapters in first-person, Walk’s in third, for a slight off-kilter feeling). The story of familiar middle-school tribulations is engaging, but fails to pick up steam until it lands in a late surprise twist. Completely without foreshadowing, it adds both gravitas and clarity to the entire story, which turns out to be about privilege, perception and the fallibility of parents. This will appeal to a wide range of middle-school readers and would make a great book-club or classroom discussion. (Fiction. 11-14)