If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period

Gennifer Choldenko, Author
Gennifer Choldenko, Author . Harcourt $17 (216p) ISBN 978-0-15-205753-4
Prebound-Glued - 216 pages - 978-0-606-10638-2
Compact Disc - 4 pages - 978-0-7393-4885-7
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-15-206644-4
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-6121-4
Compact Disc - 4 pages - 978-0-7393-6120-7
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-7475-8927-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-89093-0
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-547-35128-5
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The latest from Newbery Honor author Choldenko is an earnest contemporary story about race, set in a California middle school. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Kirsten, the overweight daughter of a doctor, and Walk (short for Walker), son of a striving single mother, the issues raised are spot-on for this age group. Kirsten’s world, micromanaged by her overly involved mother, is battered by her parents’ fighting and her best friend Rory’s newfound chumminess with queen bee Brianna. Walk has been separated from his friends by his mother’s decision to send him to private school on scholarship. One of only three African-American students at Mountain School, his outsider status makes him approachable to Kirsten, whose falling-out with Rory leaves her in dire need of lunch-hour companionship. This under-the-microscope examination of the often cruel, always dramatic dynamics of junior high will be enough to pull many readers through to the provocative if melodramatic revelation about the real connection between Walk and Kirsten. The humor that fueled much of Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts is missing here, and her choice to tell Kirsten’s story in first person and Walk’s chapters in third person makes the narrative a little choppy. But the questions she raises about identity, race, prejudice and the true nature of friendship should provide ample food for thought. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

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