LINKED, by Gordon Korman, Scholastic Inc., July 20, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
A quiet town is turned upside down when the middle school is tagged with a racist symbol in Gordon Korman’s Linked.
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. —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Inc.
Linked is one of those stories that shows most situations aren’t black-and-white, and that motivation plays just as big of a role as does action. There’s a twist at the end that most won’t see coming, but will change how you look at what you’ve read before. And it’s this twist that makes the book.
Rather than tell this story from one point of view, author Gordon Korman uses multiple voices. And that’s what gives Linked its identity. It wouldn’t work with if it was just Link’s story or Dana’s story. These multiple views make up the community, and it’s the community that has to face its past, present and future.
Korman’s writing is smooth and engaging with a quickness to it that pushes the story forward while showing restraint. It’s a good choice for middle-graders of all backgrounds and interests.
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