Monday, April 27, 2009

If a tree falls at lunch period by Gennifer Choldenko

Gennifer Choldenko is coming to Iowa tomorrow (yeah!) and I hope to shake her hand and have her sign my copy of If a tree falls... I loved Al Capone does my shirts and gleefully await the second one Al Capone shines my shoes. I picked up If a tree falls, thinking it was more of a YA book but after reading I think I have several students that would enjoy it. I did! I thought the school story was good, characters were well-developed and the plot timely without being preachy.
The chapters flip back and forth between Kirsten and Walker, seventh graders at an elite private school. Kirsten is struggling with popularity, losing her best friend to a more popular clique of girls, her recent weight gain, and her parents constant fighting. This is exactly what middle school, high school is like for many students. It is more than one anxiety all the time. Hmmm, like my life now...
Kirsten's character emerges through the course of the story to kinda figure some things out with out a big aha moment! I was so excited for her when she decided her ex-best friend, Rory was not the same person she used to be. It's hard when friends change and make choices you never thought they would, especially at this age. Rory lies and follows her new friends places Kirsten just does not want to go in the name of popularity. She wants to be popular and to make her mom happy but who to trust is a difficult choice.
One new classmate in particular, Walker Jones seems able to give her advice that is mature and worthy. The two, as well as his friend Matteo, the "scholarship students", treat her fairly and worry more about school than who's butt is fatter.
Brianna is the resident popular girl bully and she plays it with flair. Lying, scheming, cheating all done to make her life easier; more painful for those around her. I'm not going to spoil what the big mystery is between Kirsten and Walk even though I figured it out pretty quickly-the major crisis does make the story intriguing and timely. I dig this author and if you haven't read her picture book, Louder, Lili-you need too. Shy Lili learns that a loud voice is worth it at certain times in your life!!
Here's a teen-ager's view on If a tree falls at lunch period...Enjoy

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