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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