Gennifer Choldenko has already demonstrated that she can tell stories that surprise as they entertain readers. Her latest offering IF A TREE FALLS AT LUNCH PERIOD is no exception. On the first day of school, new student, Walk, meets Kirsten. They both end up late for class. Little do either of them suspect that this rather inauspicious meeting is the beginning of an uneasy friendship which ultimately becomes more as their two narratives combine.
Kirsten is the daughter of privilege. Walk hs grown up with next to nothing. He is attending his new school because A) he is smart; B) scholarships have been made available so her can afford the tuition at this private school. Each narrator (though Walk's story is told in third person, an interesting approach that keeps readers at a distance much the same way Walk tries to maintain his distance) faces some troubles in her and his life. Friendships and families, once stable and secure, are changing.
The story unfolds at a snail's pace. Day by day, readers will come to know Kirsten and Walk and their family and friends. They will, likewise, come to care about what happens to each of them. Perhaps this more than anything is the hallmark of Choldenko's brilliant books.