Saturday, February 06, 2010

Book Review: If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko

Davan also read this one first and, when asked if it was any good, said, "It was okay," with a shrug. So, I went into it without a great deal of optimism.

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period is the story of Kirsten and Walker, two seventh grade students who's paths intersect.

Kirsten is overweight and unhappy with that. It's been a bad summer for her when seventh grade starts, as one friend moved away and the other (she really only has two) seems to have moved on. Her parents are arguing. A lot. She's put on a lot of weight onto her already full frame over the summer.

Walker, meanwhile, is new at school and one of the few minority students there. He's smart and popular from the start, but he misses his old school and it's hard being one of the scholarship/minority students.

The two meet on their first day of school after an interesting drop off involving their moms...and are friendly toward each other, but don't really become friends at first.

The story involves a lot of the usual middle school angst. The issues are handled well, I think, ranging from queen bees, being overweight, being popular or not, finding out where you belong and learning your parents have issues of their own. There are some interesting twists and turns along the way.

It's hard for me to read about how awful it is for some kids at this age and, no matter how true it is, makes for a not overly pleasant read sometimes. The other issue I had was with the narrators (I listened). Kirsten's narrator is a bit young sounding while Walker's is way to old sounding for them being 13.

Still, I liked the book overall and thought it addressed pertinent issues for the age group while adding unique touches.

Overall, I give If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period a 7.

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