Review: If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period – Gennifer Choldenko

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From the book jacket –

Two kids.  Two lives.  For Kirsten McKenna, the world is crumbling.  Her parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has come under the spell of the school’s queen bee, Brianna.  Only Kirsten’s younger science-geek sister is on her side.

For Walker Jones, the goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom sent him because she thinks he’s going to screw up like his cousin.  (Walk keeps telling her, “Don’t have to worry, Momma.  Before I go bad I’ll let you know, send a Hallmark card ready-made for the occasion…’On the eve your son messes up.'”)

But Walk is a good kid.  So is his new friend, Matteo, though no one knows why Matteo will do absolutely anything the hot blond Brianna asks of him.

Then Kirsten discovers something that shakes her and Walk to their cores…

My thoughts –

I really enjoyed this quick YA novel.  It was very short, and on the surface, this is a light-hearted story about some seventh graders and their trials and tribulations, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye here.  This novel is all about how race and class intersect and have a huge impact on even the youngest members of our society.  The story gets very interesting about midway through, when you realize that both Kirsten’s parents and Walker’s mother each have some sort of secret… and when Kirsten realizes that these secrets have a lot to do with one another…well, everyone’s lives will be severely impacted by these secrets.

The funny thing is, I totally didn’t get what the secrets were until they were revealed… I don’t know if I’m slow, or if Choldenko was just that good at concealing them.  I think the fact that I didn’t know where the book was going made me enjoy it more.  I think this book would be especially good reading for middle school kids, but I really liked it too. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Review: If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period”

  1. Hurray! I just blogged about this tonight. I didn’t get the secrets either, totally unexpected! Most books, I’m pretty good at reading the clues, but I really think she didn’t leave any in there for us, that she wanted to blow us out of the water. It worked! 🙂

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