If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period
By Gennifer Choldenko
(Harcourt Children's Books, Hardcover, 9780152057534, 224pp.)
Publication Date: September 2007
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Kirsten's parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the school's queen bee, Brianna. It seems like only Kirsten's younger science-geek sister is on her side. Walker's goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he's going to screw up like his cousin. But he's a good kid. So is his friend Matteo, though no one knows why he’ll do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him.
But all of this feels almost trivial when Kirsten and Walker discover a secret that shakes them both to the core. Fast paced, marvelously funny, and brutally honest, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period touches on universal truths about human nature.
GENNIFER CHOLDENKO is the author of Al Capone Does My Shirts and Notes from a Liar and Her Dog as well as several picture books. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Praise for Al Capone Does My Shirts:[set star] "Fascinating setting . . . hysterically funny scenes . . . a great read."--Kirkus Reviews (starred)
[set star] "Told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers."--School Library Journal (starred)
[set star] "Fast-paced and memorable."--Publishers Weekly (starred)Praise for Notes from a Liar and Her Dog:[set star] "Funny, moving, and completely believable, this is a fine first novel."--Booklist (starred)[set star] "Choldenko has a wonderfully witty way with words."--School Library Journal (starred)
“Choldenko convincingly covers the middle school scene . . . sparkling characterization and touches of humor . . . tumultuous twists that ultimately convince Kirsten that, indeed, she does matter.”
“Choldenko''s talent for characters and conversation brings the two voices instantly to life in alternating points of view...This will appeal to a wide range of middle-school readers and would make a great book-club or classroom discussion."
"Choldenko has a flair for titles: Notes From a Liar and Her Dog, Al Capone Does My Shirts, now this. But books don''t fly on titles alone. Choldenko also has a spiky wit, an empathetic eye for kids'' foibles and fears, an ear for their distinctive voices and an impressive range. . . . If a Tree Falls unfolds in the less exotic setting of a fancy private school, but it treads more explosive ground as it switches between the viewpoints of two seventh-graders there -- Kirsten, who is white, and Walk, who is black. That catchy title is a metaphor for the uprooting that takes place when Kirsten and Walk learn they have a whole lot more in common than their "brilliance." At the same time, it signals this book''s real appeal for pre-teens: While it treats issues of race, class and marital discord fearlessly, it''s also one of the funniest they''ll read this year. "
“The issues raised are spot-on for this age group. . . . (an) under-the-microscope examination of the often cruel, always dramatic dynamics of junior high.”