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If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period    by Gennifer Choldenko order for
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period
by Gennifer Choldenko
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Something happened between Kristin's parents and now all they do is fight. Every day she expects them to announce their divorce. Kristin finds comfort in junk food and her little sister.

At her private middle school, the seventh grader is the target of the Queen Bee, Brianna. Her best friend is now Brianna's friend. While Kristin is invited to sit with Brianna's group at lunch, her weight is often the butt of Brianna's jokes. After much snickering abuse Kristin begins sitting with the smart students. She learns to push herself academically and finds out what friendship is really all about.

Walker, a new black scholarship student, provides contrast to Kristin's life. His story is told in alternating chapters. Neither student realizes how intertwined their lives really are. When Kristin discovers the reason her parent's marriage is about to implode, she realizes she must find a way to teach them what being a family really means.

The story of bickering parents, worried children, and being dropped by friends is a frequent theme, but Choldenko not only makes it fresh, she also tackles issues of race, identity and prejudice.

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