Week 3 of my book reviews featuring male protagonists is quite different from the first two—the endearing AN OCCASIONALLY HAPPY FAMILY and the intriguing plot of THE DOUBLE LIFE OF DANNY DAY. Both featured single first person narratives whereas LINKED has 7 different viewpoints stretched over 33 chapters. Seventh grader Lincoln Rowley takes 9 of those chapters and is the main focus of the story line.
Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it’s woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika.
Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? Who would do such a thing?
Because Michael was the first person to see it, he’s the first suspect. Because Link is one of the most popular guys in school, everyone’s looking to him to figure it out. And because Dana’s the only Jewish girl in the whole town, everyone’s treating her more like an outsider than ever.
The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further. The closer Link, Michael, and Dana get to the truth, the more there is to face-not just the crimes of the present, but the crimes of the past.
Author, Grodon Korman continues to amaze readers with another winning plot. It’s a who-dunnit that will have you trying to figure out who is painting this hurtful symbol on school property. For Link it becomes personal after finding out his grandmother as a child and her immediate family were personally traumatized by the Holocaust.
The students come up with a plan to make a linked chain of 6 million paper circles, each commemorating a Jewish life lost. A very difficult task to undertake. When a popular online video star arrives in Chokecherry, Colorado to broadcast the efforts, he drums up a lot of hurtful past the town has tried to forget.
Racism and personal identity are not new issues but are covered in a thought provoking way in LINKED. I was surprised who was behind the graffiti after accusing many different suspects. But beyond the mystery is an understanding that will illicit rich discussion and a coming of age story that will stay with you for a long time.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: July 20, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 256
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: LINKED by Gordan Korman
- There’s also a light touch when needed with Korman’s trademark humor. He has assembled a realistic cast of characters here—especially the students.
- Is it possible to forgive someone for a hateful act? This aspect of the story was well plotted out.
- This is a rare book that various generations can enjoy. If you’ve never read middle grade this is the perfect one to begin your journey.
- The motivation to write the story came from The Paper Clips Project at Whitwell Middle School in Whitwell, Tennesee.
- The use of a TIKTOK video star will bring you up to date as to what tweens and teens are viewing online these days. It’s a whole different world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Gordon Korman
I’ve been writing for more than three-quarters of my life. My books have been translated into 32 languages and have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. I have a BFA degree from New York University with a major in Dramatic Writing and a minor in Film and TV.
I now live on Long Island, outside New York City, with my wife and family. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me driving one of my three kids to some practice or rehearsal or game. Either that, or I’m on the road, appearing at schools, libraries, and bookstores, meeting my readers.
For his complete, fascinating biography visit the author’s web site
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What a really good book for students to read together at school — there are so many themes at play. It’s also contemporary and relevant in many ways. I especially like the focus on forgiveness and moving forward! Great share today.
Thanks for the link (ha ha) to the Paper Clips Project: what a cool idea, and I love that Korman used it for his novel. I love stories about inspired teachers coming up with ideas that really change students. I’m so impressed by elementary school teachers and the impact they can have.
OOH, I’ve been wanting to read this one! The Paper Clips Project is also interesting — thanks for the link!
Gordon Korman’s Island /Shipwrecked series were some of the very few novels that held the attention of my reluctant reader son. This one sounds like a page turner as well, and I love that the kids came up with an original way to respond to the graffiti.
I’m glad you didn’t include spoilers. I’m about 20 pages from the end and looking forward to finishing this one. I’m liking it a lot more than I thought I would with all the different points of view, but it really works. Thanks for your thoughts.
So glad you and Rosi liked this one so much. It sounds fantastic.
Another great review! Thanks for sharing insights on #MGLit.
Wish you were on Twitter. I try to link to your Gordon Korman posts when I see them.
This one sounds really good. I enjoy a good Gordon Korman book, and I will look forward to reading this one!
I am struggling with something while reading this MG book. Mostly, I love Gordon Korman books. Anyone else find that this one doesn’t resonate with authenticity as his others do? I requested LLINKED from my library and I was first in line, but now I am disappointed and I can’t put my finger on why. I will try again…
This book sounds fantastic! I had heard of it, but your thorough review gives me a lot more background—Link, Michael, and Dana sound equally intriguing, and it’s interesting how things tie into Link’s family history. The idea of the paper chain (and the viral video star that fittingly throws things into disarray) sounds quite fascinating as well! It sounds like this book has a lot to say about real-life hatefulness and how we can respond. Thanks so much for the great review!
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