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Linked

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Linked

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Chokecherry, Colorado has a swastika problem. They are popping up all over the school and no amount of tolerance training seems to be capable of stopping the perpetrator. It also seems to be impossible to catch the culprit in the act. What are they to do? They need some serious morale boosting. Then they decide to start making a paper chain. Their goal is to make it 6 million links to commemorate every Jewish life lost in the Holocaust. Link Rowley is in the middle of the effort and is at the sa Chokecherry, Colorado has a swastika problem. They are popping up all over the school and no amount of tolerance training seems to be capable of stopping the perpetrator. It also seems to be impossible to catch the culprit in the act. What are they to do? They need some serious morale boosting. Then they decide to start making a paper chain. Their goal is to make it 6 million links to commemorate every Jewish life lost in the Holocaust. Link Rowley is in the middle of the effort and is at the same time studying for his bar mitzvah. It is an uphill battle as he just discovered he was Jewish through his grandmother, a recently revealed Holocaust survivor, after the first swastika appeared. Told through the perspective of several of the students, this story reminds us of the need to support each other and embark on a lifelong process of valuing those around us. A paper chain can be done when it reaches a number of links. But tolerance is a project you always have to keep working at. Thank you to Scholastic and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Chokecherry, Colorado is a smallish town where most of the students have been together for years. There are paleontologists who have come to work on a dig that has uncovered some dinosaur remains as well as fossilized dinosaur poop, and their children are navigating middle school. When serial prankster Link, whose father is a local real estate agent who hopes to turn Chokecherry into an Orlando-like dinosaur tourist destination, gets caught putting peat moss in th E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Chokecherry, Colorado is a smallish town where most of the students have been together for years. There are paleontologists who have come to work on a dig that has uncovered some dinosaur remains as well as fossilized dinosaur poop, and their children are navigating middle school. When serial prankster Link, whose father is a local real estate agent who hopes to turn Chokecherry into an Orlando-like dinosaur tourist destination, gets caught putting peat moss in the dig offices, his father bans him from playing sports. Since that's the root of his popularity, he's angry, but soon there are other things to occupy his thoughts-- a swastika is painted on a school wall. Dana, whose parents work on the dig, is the only Jewish student in the school, so she is greatly affected. Told from various points of view, from seventh grade president Caroline, who wants to see more school spirit, to art club president Michael, who has a great grasp of logistics, we see how this affects the school. It's not just one swastika; there are others, from a tar one on a baseball banner to paint on the ice cream freezer. The students learn about Chokecherry's past, which includes the Night of a Thousand Flames back in the 1970s, when the Ku Klux Klan was still active. Link finds out from his mother than his grandmother is Jewish, but was given to French nuns as a very small child to keep her safe. Her entire family perished, and she only learned about her past a few years ago. Link reacts strongly to this news, and after Dana brushes off his request for assistance "on being Jewish" by telling him he should think about a bar mitzvah, he contacts a rabbi in the nearest synagogue and starts fast-tracked preparation for the coming of age ritual! After lots of class time spent learning about the Holocaust (which the students claim to get tired of, which is sadly very true to life), students feel like they need to DO something, and the idea of a paper chain, inspired by a real life school that tried to collect six million paperclips to commemorate the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, takes hold. Soon, the town is in the sights of ReelTok, a TikTok star, who comes to town to make inflammatory posts and generally stir things up. Undaunted by problems with paper supply and chain storage, the project continues, and Link works tirelessly to prepare for his bar mitzvah. When the truth comes out about who painted the swastikas, how will the various characters be affected? Strengths: There are several really brilliant things about this book. First, there are many, many places in the US that don't have diverse populations. There are towns like Chokecherry all over the US, and I imagine the populations feel that racism isn't going to really affect them... until it does. The other inspired topic, which Korman addressed in 2017's Restart, is the idea of personal identity in the teen and tween years, and how hard it can be to change once people have an opinion of what kind of person you are. Like his War Stories, Linked treats World War II in a manner that relates it more intimately to today's children. Including a TikTok star who tries to stir things up showcases how social media can have positive aspects (getting donations of paper for the chains), but also extremely negative ones. The variety of characters was interesting, and I did not see the identity of the swastika painter coming. This would make a fascinating novel for class discussions; there are not enough middle grade novels that address changing oneself and redemption. Even though the book addresses serious, timely concerns, Korman manages to work in his trademark humor. The cover and title are great. Weaknesses: The dig was fascinating, and I sort of wanted to know more, but there wasn't quite room in the book to investigate that topic further. Where had Dana and her family been before? Where were they going next? I know it wasn't really her story, but I wanted to know more about Dana. What I really think: Korman has really come into his own in the last couple of years. He's always been a fun, engaging author, but he's really kicked it up a notch by including more serious themes. I am just in awe of his forty year career!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: LINKED by Gordon Korman, Scholastic Press, July 2021, 256p., ISBN: 978-1-338-62912-5 “Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jew were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century. According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost half (48%) could not name a single conc Richie’s Picks: LINKED by Gordon Korman, Scholastic Press, July 2021, 256p., ISBN: 978-1-338-62912-5 “Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jew were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century. According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost half (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during the second world war. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (125) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust.” -- The Guardian (9/16/2020) “A tall, thin man wearing a hood and a mask was caught on a security camera plastering Nazi stickers on a Jewish museum in Alaska’s largest city early Tuesday. He drove a scooter to the Alaska Jewish Museum, placed one sticker on the door and jumped to place three more stickers of hate on windows before driving off...About 45 minutes later, another sticker was placed on the main entrance door to Mad Myrna’s, a gay bar in downtown Anchorage.” -- Mark Thiessen, “Man seen on security camera placing swastika stickers on Jewish museum in Anchorage” Anchorage Daily News (5/28/21) “How can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel? Easy to be hard Easy to be cold” -- MacDermot, Rado & Ragni (1967) Michael Amorosa [who snuck back into school in the evening to retrieve the phone he forgot in his locker]: “I shut my locker and turn to leave. Only I don’t leave. I freeze. I blink and blink again, struggling to wrap my mind around what I’m seeing. It’s spray-painted in red on the blank expanse of wall about the staircase leading to the second story--that large X with each arm continued at a right angle. I stare at it in horror in horror and disbelief, hoping that my eyes are deceiving me and this ugly red symbol is something other than what I know it is. A swastika.” Dana Levinson [A relatively new student, daughter of an archaeologist, and the only Jewish student, at Chokecherry Middle School]: “The main atrium is more crowded than usual. Mr. Brademas, the principal, is urging everyone to move on to their lockers, but nobody’s budging. They’re all gazing up at a gigantic beige tarp that’s been duct-taped to the wall. Two custodians are perched on the stairs, working furiously behind the billowing sheet with long-handled mops. Red-stained water is trickling down and puddling on the floor. I blurt,’ Is that blood?’ Andrew Yee, and eighth grader whose mother works with Dad at the dinosaur dig, takes my arm and starts leading me out of the atrium. ‘Come on, Dana. Nothing to see here.’ I shake him off. ‘Are they putting up a mural?’ ‘Nah,’ he replies. ‘They’re just cleaning.’ At that moment, the duct tape separates from the plaster and the tarp peels away and drops to the floor. I stare at the wall that’s now revealed. I gawk. I goggle. The lines have been blurred by the custodians’ mops, but it’s very clear what someone has painted up there. As I gaze in shock at the swastika in the atrium, it occurs to me that I’ve never seen one firsthand before.” Principal Brademas [speaking at a hastily-called school-wide assembly]: “We don’t know who did it, and we don’t know what that individual’s motive might have been. But I felt it was important for us to get together as a school community and clear the air before the rumors get out of hand.’ You’d think we’re in an empty room. That’s how silent it is. ‘People might tell you,’ the principal goes on, ‘that the swastika on our wall is an ancient symbol, a kind of cross, that has had many meanings over the centuries. Don’t believe it. Today the swastika has only one meaning: pure hatred. Most notoriously, it is the symbol of Nazi Germany, an evil regime that killed millions. It screams not just anti-Semitism, but every other kind of racism and intolerance.’” Who is responsible for the hateful act perpetrated at Chokecherry Middle School? Will the administrators or the police succeed in getting to the bottom of it? What will come of the principal’s plan for a school-wide toleration education project? Through the eyes and statements of six students, we observe the repercussions of this hate crime in a fictional Colorado town. The principal narrator is Lincoln Rowley, a popular- and generally despicable jock and troublemaker who, at first glance, will likely be included on any reader’s shortlist of suspects. Was this another of Link’s antics, one that’s a million miles over the line? Over the course of this surprising story, we learn some ugly historical truths about this small Colorado town, situated four hours outside of Denver. The town starts receiving unwelcome online notoriety when it turns out that the swastika incident at the school is not going to be a one-and-done affair. Not even close. LINKED is a first-rate whodunnit; a notable introduction to Nazis, white supremacists, and the Holocaust; and a dynamite coming of age story. It’s well suited for 8-14 year olds. As he has done with previous books focused on significant issues, Gordon Korman engages readers with a light touch and relatable tween characters. The 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust outnumber the current population of Colorado. It’s still impossible to wrap my head around that number, but this book helped. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ https://twitter.com/richiespicks [email protected]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anna Beth

    I hope this makes it on to some required reading lists because it should be read by everyone. This book digs into the need for tolerance, different perspectives, remembrance, change... I could go on. Read (or listen) to this dang book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)

    Linked is a propulsive, compelling new middle grade release by veteran Gordon Korman combining serious issues with his trademark humorous characters. This story tackles very sensitive issues like casual racism, anti-Semitism, the impact of the Holocaust, as well the messiness of going viral. There’s something for everyone in this riveting mystery, and I would highly recommend it as an engaging way to learn about the Holocaust, for kids in grades 5 and up. Read my full review on my blog. Many thank Linked is a propulsive, compelling new middle grade release by veteran Gordon Korman combining serious issues with his trademark humorous characters. This story tackles very sensitive issues like casual racism, anti-Semitism, the impact of the Holocaust, as well the messiness of going viral. There’s something for everyone in this riveting mystery, and I would highly recommend it as an engaging way to learn about the Holocaust, for kids in grades 5 and up. Read my full review on my blog. Many thanks to Scholastic for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    Incredible middle grade book by Gordon Korman, a perennial favorite in my school. . . . ✅ complex story about tolerance, identity, and the importance of remembrance ✅ Jewish protagonists, modern story, bar mitzvah preparation ✅ multiple perspectives ✅ great readalike to RESTART (popular kid has an awakening and changes his ways) . . . Must buy, must read! Kids will be inspired and intrigued by this mystery that intertwines the Holocaust, the KKK, and viral social media. . . . Book 26 for #30booksummer . . . #mid Incredible middle grade book by Gordon Korman, a perennial favorite in my school. . . . ✅ complex story about tolerance, identity, and the importance of remembrance ✅ Jewish protagonists, modern story, bar mitzvah preparation ✅ multiple perspectives ✅ great readalike to RESTART (popular kid has an awakening and changes his ways) . . . Must buy, must read! Kids will be inspired and intrigued by this mystery that intertwines the Holocaust, the KKK, and viral social media. . . . Book 26 for #30booksummer . . . #middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #librariesfollowlibraries #librarylife #librarianlife #schoollibrarian #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #iteach #librarylove #booksbooksbooks #amreading #bibliophile #schoollibrariansrock #bookreview #bookrecommendation #igreads #malibrary #msla

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    A tiny Colorado town is shaken when hateful graffiti begins appearing at sites in and around the local middle school. Suddenly, the town and its residents are in the news for all of the wrong reasons. In order to stand in solidarity with the victims of hateful ideology and push back against the unknown vandal, the students begin a project to create an enormous paper chain to memorialize the Holocaust dead. LINKED is an engaging, well-written junior novel that will appeal to middle school student A tiny Colorado town is shaken when hateful graffiti begins appearing at sites in and around the local middle school. Suddenly, the town and its residents are in the news for all of the wrong reasons. In order to stand in solidarity with the victims of hateful ideology and push back against the unknown vandal, the students begin a project to create an enormous paper chain to memorialize the Holocaust dead. LINKED is an engaging, well-written junior novel that will appeal to middle school students through adults. The characters are nuanced and interesting, and there is genuine mystery and suspense--as well as lessons to be learned about confronting the uncomfortable past and how human beings can grow and change. I could absolutely see it being used in the classroom.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Paris

    A well-crafted story which is part mystery. Love Korman's middle school themes that focus on challenges, friendships and that oh-please-God-let-this-turn-out-well wish. A well-crafted story which is part mystery. Love Korman's middle school themes that focus on challenges, friendships and that oh-please-God-let-this-turn-out-well wish.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    Wow. “..the first step in wrapping your mind around the unimaginably vast tragedy of the Holocaust is to wrap your mind around that unimaginably vast number of six million.” (G. Korman, “Linked,” author’s note) Gordon Korman, in his 99th book so far, powers home the image of 6 million Jews slaughtered because of hatred as well as raises the ugly specter of the Ku Klux Klan and their racism and bigotry. Including these somber facts in a middle school setting with 7th graders trying to make somethin Wow. “..the first step in wrapping your mind around the unimaginably vast tragedy of the Holocaust is to wrap your mind around that unimaginably vast number of six million.” (G. Korman, “Linked,” author’s note) Gordon Korman, in his 99th book so far, powers home the image of 6 million Jews slaughtered because of hatred as well as raises the ugly specter of the Ku Klux Klan and their racism and bigotry. Including these somber facts in a middle school setting with 7th graders trying to make something positive out of a criminal act of vandalism should help drive the message of “never forget/learn to do better” home to the target audience of grades 5-8. Mixed into these important themes are lessons in forgiveness, not judging by appearances, and recognizing the value in each and every life which are sorely needed by all of us. As with his immensely popular book “Restart,” the tone is far from preachy and the interaction between characters and the events unfolding in a town that could be anywhere will keep readers turning pages, anxious to reach the conclusion. “A paper chain [project] can be done when it hits a certain number of links. But tolerance is a project you always have to keep working at.” (Michael Amorosa, character in “Linked”) May we all keep working at it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    My son and I started reading Gordon Korman books together a few years ago. Prior to that I had a read a few of his contributions to the 39 Clues. We have mostly been reading his more recent titles. We pre-ordered the eBook of this one and I started it the day it released. I have now read fourteen books from Korman’s masterful pen and have yet to read a dud. Over the last few years my son and I have read about a dozen books by Gordon Korman together. And we plan to read many of the older titles, My son and I started reading Gordon Korman books together a few years ago. Prior to that I had a read a few of his contributions to the 39 Clues. We have mostly been reading his more recent titles. We pre-ordered the eBook of this one and I started it the day it released. I have now read fourteen books from Korman’s masterful pen and have yet to read a dud. Over the last few years my son and I have read about a dozen books by Gordon Korman together. And we plan to read many of the older titles, but love picking up his new releases and giving them a read. We have loved all the books we have read so far, and have many we want to read. I read this one ahead of my son because he already had a book on the one of Corinna Turner’s unSPARKed books. So I read this on my own, and have already started it again now with my son for a second read through. Wow! Just wow! Korman has written some wonderful books. And he has written some deeply moving books. He has dealt with topics both humour and very serious. But I believe this is his most powerful work to date. Chokecherry, Colorado has a swastika problem, and a history they would like to keep buried. Swastika’s are popping up all over the place, first at the school then elsewhere. It seems that no amount of tolerance training is capable of stopping the perpetrator. It also seems that the culprit will never be caught in the act, or even at all. The kids and the town need some a morale boost. They decide to make a paper chain, their goal is to make it 6 million links to commemorate every Jewish life lost in the Holocaust. Link Rowley is in the middle of it all. Link being a popular kid swings the school into action. But he has a secret and it is a big twist. When Link finds out that his grandmother is the sole surviving member of his Jewish family it stirs up a lot in him. He wants to find out what it means to be Jewish. To prepare for his bar mitzvah with a gusto. He has a lot of catching up to do. And a lot to figure out. With the help of Dana the only Jewish girl he is learning and exploring. The greatest strengths of Korman’s books are the characters and usually the humour. And though this story has a touch of his tell tale humour. It is far less than the others we have read. But the characters are amazing. And we love his serial first person narratives. The story is incredibly well written. And an excellent read. It is a great book for the middle grade audience, tweens and even younger teens. So pick up this book and find out the who? and the why? of the mysterious swastika’s. With each of Gordon Korman’s books I read the more impressed I am. His books have great appeal to younger readers but are written so that parents, adults, and educators can enjoy them immensely as well. This one deals with some very series issues. And it does it in an excellent way. I strongly encourage you to pick it up and give it a read, as it is one of Korman’s best! Another excellent read from the masterful pen of Gordon Korman.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    I love Gordon Korman! He really knows how to bring it home to middle schoolers. This is a great book on so many different levels. He makes history relevant and explores how important it is to understand how we as a society have come to be who we are and how history impacts our current events. He also addresses moral issues surrounding tolerance and acceptance as well as redemption and forgiveness. I highly recommend this novel for students and adults alike. Some favorite quotes: "The Holocaust is I love Gordon Korman! He really knows how to bring it home to middle schoolers. This is a great book on so many different levels. He makes history relevant and explores how important it is to understand how we as a society have come to be who we are and how history impacts our current events. He also addresses moral issues surrounding tolerance and acceptance as well as redemption and forgiveness. I highly recommend this novel for students and adults alike. Some favorite quotes: "The Holocaust is called a crime against humanity because all humans co-own the responsibility never to forget it." p.134 "Denying the past is the surest way to make sure it happens again!" p. 156 "We all do jerky things, it's what you do next that matters." p.238 "Maybe it shows that tolerance is more about the journey than the destination. A paper chain can be done when it hits a certain number of links. But tolerance is a project you always have to keep working on." p.242

  12. 5 out of 5

    Yapha

    When a swastika is found painted in the atrium of the middle school in the small town of Chokecherry, Colorado, everyone is shocked. The school immediately launches a new tolerance-based curriculum, but the swastikas continue to appear all over the school and throughout the town. The story is told from a variety of perspectives including Link, the star athlete and prankster, Dana, the one Jewish student in the middle school, Caroline, 7th grade president, and Michael, the head of the art club. T When a swastika is found painted in the atrium of the middle school in the small town of Chokecherry, Colorado, everyone is shocked. The school immediately launches a new tolerance-based curriculum, but the swastikas continue to appear all over the school and throughout the town. The story is told from a variety of perspectives including Link, the star athlete and prankster, Dana, the one Jewish student in the middle school, Caroline, 7th grade president, and Michael, the head of the art club. They come together to tackle a monumental project -- to create a paper chain of 6 million links. As they work together, they learn more about the town's history and their own. This was a raw and realistic look at the racism in recent history that still lurks about today. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    When a swastika is painted on the wall of the middle school, everyone in the school - and even the small town - is wondering who did it. Then more appear and gain the notice of a popular YouTube vlogger and suddenly the town looks terrible in the eyes of the country. Each chapter is told from the point of view of various characters: the only Jewish girl in town, an artist, the head of Student Council, and Link, who is the biggest prankster and jock in the school… Korman is known for his funny st When a swastika is painted on the wall of the middle school, everyone in the school - and even the small town - is wondering who did it. Then more appear and gain the notice of a popular YouTube vlogger and suddenly the town looks terrible in the eyes of the country. Each chapter is told from the point of view of various characters: the only Jewish girl in town, an artist, the head of Student Council, and Link, who is the biggest prankster and jock in the school… Korman is known for his funny stories, and this one does have its funny moments, but it is really a serious story about prejudice and overcoming poor choices one may make in life. It has a couple of very unexpected outcomes. I did not see one of them coming at all. Enjoy! Thanks to Libro.fm for providing this copy to me and other teachers and librarians.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Mcavoy

    Korman is amazing in his ability to crank out entertaining, well paced, readable fiction with some ethical issue at the core. Linked has typical Korman elements going for it - a semi-diverse group of kids (it is Chokecherry, CO.), a long hidden secret and a very public modern series of hate-crime vandalisms, plus a winning hero, gold-hearted girl and wise adult male. What is also typical and less successful is the bald exposition in which characters openly reflect and explain their behavior and Korman is amazing in his ability to crank out entertaining, well paced, readable fiction with some ethical issue at the core. Linked has typical Korman elements going for it - a semi-diverse group of kids (it is Chokecherry, CO.), a long hidden secret and a very public modern series of hate-crime vandalisms, plus a winning hero, gold-hearted girl and wise adult male. What is also typical and less successful is the bald exposition in which characters openly reflect and explain their behavior and the dramatic conclusion that inevitably violates several laws and common sense. In this case the covering of every inch of a public school with a chain of six million paper links - hello fire code violation. In a perfect world Korman would let the reader intuit the characters shifting perspective rather than spell them out, but given his amazing ability to consistently turn out humorous and entertaining middle-grade fiction that has a thoughtful moral center, I will not complain. Linked is eminently readable and pushes back against both the one size fits all cancel culture and the contemporary presentism by asserting motivation matters, forgiveness can be worked for and history matters.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    DRC from Edelweiss and Scholastic A serious topic brought to a middle-grade level. Small town people are threatened by the appearance of a swastika in the middle school. As the main characters try to figure it out, past events surface. Each narrator starts to learn more about themselves and the town's history. Students start a project to bring people together and it gains national attention. When the culprit is caught, he also gains attention - but not the kind he is used to. Would make a great re DRC from Edelweiss and Scholastic A serious topic brought to a middle-grade level. Small town people are threatened by the appearance of a swastika in the middle school. As the main characters try to figure it out, past events surface. Each narrator starts to learn more about themselves and the town's history. Students start a project to bring people together and it gains national attention. When the culprit is caught, he also gains attention - but not the kind he is used to. Would make a great read aloud and generate discussion on history, ancestry, and how you identify yourself.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Everything changes for a small town in Colorado when a vandal paints swastikas all around the local middle school. The vandalism unnerves the entire community and everyone is affected. Korman knows how to unspool a story with characters who are likable with credible flaws. From the first chapter this book is unputdownable. There's plenty of humor but also a serious thread that handles a sensitive subject with compassion and insight. A terrific must-read novel! Everything changes for a small town in Colorado when a vandal paints swastikas all around the local middle school. The vandalism unnerves the entire community and everyone is affected. Korman knows how to unspool a story with characters who are likable with credible flaws. From the first chapter this book is unputdownable. There's plenty of humor but also a serious thread that handles a sensitive subject with compassion and insight. A terrific must-read novel!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bernadette Kearns

    Thanks to Libro.fm for the audiobook version of this novel. This book will be liked by many kids and teachers. It follows the typical Gordon Korman style (multiple narrators, shifting the story to get a different perspective) and has strong messages about raising awareness about anti-semitism and hate symbols and a community coming together to fight hatred. I don’t know if I didn’t enjoy the audiobook narration or if I just couldn’t get past the predictability of the plot, but it was a book I ju Thanks to Libro.fm for the audiobook version of this novel. This book will be liked by many kids and teachers. It follows the typical Gordon Korman style (multiple narrators, shifting the story to get a different perspective) and has strong messages about raising awareness about anti-semitism and hate symbols and a community coming together to fight hatred. I don’t know if I didn’t enjoy the audiobook narration or if I just couldn’t get past the predictability of the plot, but it was a book I just wanted to finish and be done with reading. As an adult, I can appreciate that sometimes I won’t like a plot meant for kids, so no disrespect of a book that will do a lot of good for teaching important ideas for kids who read it. It just wasn’t my favorite.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Normally when I recommend a Korman novel to a student it is because he or she has asked for something funny or adventurous. His novels are a slam dunk every time. Linked is the same as Korman's other novels in that it starts out with a goofy kid who has made some bad choices and redeems himself. However, this one touches on so many relevant topics, but in a middle grade manner. Racism as well as freedom of speech and community accountability are laced into the story, with a little bit of fake/pr Normally when I recommend a Korman novel to a student it is because he or she has asked for something funny or adventurous. His novels are a slam dunk every time. Linked is the same as Korman's other novels in that it starts out with a goofy kid who has made some bad choices and redeems himself. However, this one touches on so many relevant topics, but in a middle grade manner. Racism as well as freedom of speech and community accountability are laced into the story, with a little bit of fake/propagandised news thrown in as well. This would be an excellent read aloud in any middle grade classroom and could spark tons of great guided discussion over the topics. Kids need to understand the possible fall out from poor decisions in our up to the minute, digitized society and Korman does a great job of portraying it through Link.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emma Davis

    I am not exaggerating when I say that this book should be required reading for middle schoolers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rappaport senenman

    Could not, would not, put this book down. WOW! Characters...storyline...again WOW! Humanity is LINKED in the past, present and future! A MUST READ for all ages!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Sass-Henke

    This is my favorite book by Gordon Korman. (I can’t say it’s his best, but it’s the best out of the six I have read by him. 😉) He tackles present-day issues in a way that speaks to kids and manages to break the mold of his previous books while holding tight to the elements that are synonymous with Gordon Korman. I will be recommending it to the students in my middle school library this year.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben "10" Macgill

    Very good book with amazing character development and shocking twists. I would recommend this book to anyone because I think this book is a great all-around book that talks about some crucial issues that we can´t lose to history.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaryn

    Classic Gordon Korman, reminiscent of Restart.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    3.75 stars I wanted to LOVE this book but ended up merely liking it. The story’s themes are undeniably awesome - standing against anti-semitism, fighting hatred, finding one’s true self, etc. - and I can definitely see this book being incredibly useful in classroom settings to spark discussions on a range of important issues. That said, I found the characters to not be as fully developed as in some of Gordon Korman’s other novels and the book to simply be not as absorbing an experience as I hoped 3.75 stars I wanted to LOVE this book but ended up merely liking it. The story’s themes are undeniably awesome - standing against anti-semitism, fighting hatred, finding one’s true self, etc. - and I can definitely see this book being incredibly useful in classroom settings to spark discussions on a range of important issues. That said, I found the characters to not be as fully developed as in some of Gordon Korman’s other novels and the book to simply be not as absorbing an experience as I hoped/expected. Regardless of these criticisms, I do fully recommend this book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pam Withers

    Although it doesn’t have as much humor as his other books, this novel has believable, entertaining characters, and who-done-it twists and turns that keep the reader guessing right to the surprising and satisfying ending. It deals with anti-Semitism and racism, but more so with how a community and student body might react to those. It’s about atonement and forgiveness. It also touches on those who would deny history, those who would manipulate current events for mere social media ratings, and tho Although it doesn’t have as much humor as his other books, this novel has believable, entertaining characters, and who-done-it twists and turns that keep the reader guessing right to the surprising and satisfying ending. It deals with anti-Semitism and racism, but more so with how a community and student body might react to those. It’s about atonement and forgiveness. It also touches on those who would deny history, those who would manipulate current events for mere social media ratings, and those who can find a way to turn bad into good. The last line of the novel says it all: Tolerance is more about the journey than the destination. Even if it isn’t a straight-up humor novel, the great lines are still there in force, of course: Fact: I would rather be deep-fried in boiling oil than sit through one of Caroline’s student council meetings. She didn’t give up on me, even though I knew as much about being Jewish as I know about building a nuclear power station out of Popsicle sticks. “You’re not trying to double-dip, are you?” Pouncey asks suspiciously. “Like, you rake in the Hanukkah presents and then switch back on Christmas Eve.” If in-school suspension gave frequent-flyer miles, he’d be in Bali by now, probably drawing swastikas on the beach. “These days, the people who care about me would fit in a phone booth and still leave room for the guy talking on the phone.” But any novel dealing with Holocaust history, and educating readers a bit about the Jewish faith, is going to have plenty of serious moments too. Holocaust survivor: “I used to pray every night that I would see my father again. But when I did, he was just loose skin over a skeleton, and his eyes were sunken and blank. When I tried to hug him, he shrank from me, and I knew then that he didn’t recognize me.” The culprit (who shall remain unnamed): “I know what I did was unforgivable. I’d give anything to be able to change it, but that’s not how the world works. We can’t change the past. All we can do is work hard to make things right in the future. I promise that, for me, that starts now.” This review is reprinted from www.YAdudebooks.ca, which will be featuring an interview with Gordon Korman July 2021.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Esther Keller

    I can't help myself, every time I have a Gordon Korman title in my hands, I just have to handle it. He really took a serious topic, and gave it the "Korman" touch. There's a bit of levity, but a lot of seriousness, and I found myself getting teary-eyed a bunch of the time. It took a heavy look at Religious identity, anti-semitism, Racism and hate. It looked at forgiveness. Lots of themes. Inspired by the Paper Clips Project this title will resonate. It's not my favorite Korman title, but I'm gla I can't help myself, every time I have a Gordon Korman title in my hands, I just have to handle it. He really took a serious topic, and gave it the "Korman" touch. There's a bit of levity, but a lot of seriousness, and I found myself getting teary-eyed a bunch of the time. It took a heavy look at Religious identity, anti-semitism, Racism and hate. It looked at forgiveness. Lots of themes. Inspired by the Paper Clips Project this title will resonate. It's not my favorite Korman title, but I'm glad I read it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Reese Donnelly

    Realistic fiction #1 Quarter 1 Linked- Realistic fiction book written by Gordon Korman. Linked takes place at Chokecherry middle school in Chokecherry, Colorado. Chokecherry is a super small town 100 miles away from the closest city. Linked has three main characters. Link, Michael, and Dana. Link is a popular sports kid who pulls a lot of pranks and is a big troublemaker. His friends are Jordie and Pouncy. They help him with his jokes a lot. In the middle of the book, his mom tells him he’s Jewish Realistic fiction #1 Quarter 1 Linked- Realistic fiction book written by Gordon Korman. Linked takes place at Chokecherry middle school in Chokecherry, Colorado. Chokecherry is a super small town 100 miles away from the closest city. Linked has three main characters. Link, Michael, and Dana. Link is a popular sports kid who pulls a lot of pranks and is a big troublemaker. His friends are Jordie and Pouncy. They help him with his jokes a lot. In the middle of the book, his mom tells him he’s Jewish and, at the end of the book, he has a Bar Mitzvah. He is also the one who painted the first swastika in the school. Michael is the president of the art club. He’s the one who first saw the first swastika and, everyone thinks it’s him. He didn’t do it though. He was the one who came up with the idea to do the paper link project. He also counted all the paper links that the students and other people made. Dana is the only Jewish kid at the school. She had just moved to Chokecherry when the swastikas started to show up. And that just made her feel more like an outsider. Both her dad and her mom are paleontologists and, they moved to Chokecherry because there were some dinosaur bones found on the mountains in Chokecherry. Dana is the one who figures out that the wood her mom and dad have been digging up was the burning crosses of the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). Caroline, Pouncey, Jordie, Pamela, and Adam Tok are all minor characters. There are a lot more but, these are some of them. Caroline is president of seventh grade. All she wants is for people to know about the student council and come to the meetings. Her dream comes true when Link comes to one of the meetings and gets a lot of the seventh grade to come. Then they come up with the idea to do the paper chain project. Pouncey is Link’s friend. He would always do pranks with him but, since all the Bar Mitzvah, swastika, and paper chain things he, feels like he has nothing is like it was before. Pouncey’s grandfather was in the KKK and, his dad was at the Night of a Thousand Flames. Jordie is also Link’s friend. He thinks that whatever Link wants to do with the Bar Mitzvah he should do it. But he also notices that things are different. Jordie is a sports kid like Link. Pamela is the one who drew multiple swastikas around the school. Nobody suspected her at all but, she was busted when she transferred purple paint onto Jordie’s shirt when he pushed him away in the hall. Mr. Bradamas found a big paint can and paintbrush in her locker when he checked it. Adam Tok or Mr. Tok is a super famous Youtuber who comes to Chokecherry to investigate the swastikas he heard about. Since he couldn’t go on school grounds, he stayed right behind the property line and interviewed kids all day. He didn’t leave until the swastika person was exposed, the paper chain was over and, Link’s Bar Mitzvah was over. The problem in the book is that someone was painting swastikas all over the school and, nobody could figure out who it was. The old history of the KKK in Chokecherry gets swept up when the swastikas are being painted. Some people say it never happened, and some say it did. The town is broken up by all the bad things that have been happening. One night Michel is at school, after school, and he sees a giant swastika painted on the ceiling. Everyone gets really worked up about it and the search for the “swastika guy” is on. Meanwhile, Link finds out he’s Jewish and he wants to do something to honor the people who died in the Holocaust (He also wants to have a Bat Mitzvah and he starts studying Hebrew). At a student council meeting, the school comes up with the idea to make six million paper links to see how big of a number that is. After they finally get to six million (turns out it is a very, very big number, so big it fits into about 5 warehouses and a bunch of attics), the truth comes out that Link painted the first swastika and Pamela painted the rest. Now that he is found out, Link has to make a choice. He either does his Bar Mitzvah or gives up on all his hard work. He decides to do it and it gets set up in the school (It’s snowing super hard so he can’t have it at the synagogue). To Link’s surprise, everyone in town is there to celebrate his special holiday. The end. Why did enjoy this book? I enjoyed it because the students did what seemed impossible (Making 6 million links) and made it possible. Another reason I liked it was because the characters were very interesting and fun to read about. What was my favorite part of the book? When Michal realized they had 6 million links made. And Links Bar Mitzvah at the end. Would you have done anything differently if you were the author? I would have maybe made more connections to the Holocaust but otherwise, I like the way he wrote it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bella Rae

    Thanks to Edelweiss+ for providing an ARC of this book. When I received an ARC of this book, I was thrilled! I've read over 50 books by Gordon Korman, so I was excited to add this one to my list. Like most of Gordon Korman's books released in the last 10 or so years, "Linked" is narrated by multiple narrators. This book has about 7: Dana (many chapters), Link (many chapters), Michael (several chapters), Caroline (3 or 4 chapters), ReelTok (3 or so chapters), Jordie (2 chapters), and Pouncey (1 cha Thanks to Edelweiss+ for providing an ARC of this book. When I received an ARC of this book, I was thrilled! I've read over 50 books by Gordon Korman, so I was excited to add this one to my list. Like most of Gordon Korman's books released in the last 10 or so years, "Linked" is narrated by multiple narrators. This book has about 7: Dana (many chapters), Link (many chapters), Michael (several chapters), Caroline (3 or 4 chapters), ReelTok (3 or so chapters), Jordie (2 chapters), and Pouncey (1 chapter). The narration cycle is a good idea; it keeps the book interesting. So, the plot. Basically, a swastika shows up on a wall in Chokeberry's middle school. The swastika makes everyone nervous, especially Dana the Jewish girl. So, in order to fight the supremist signs showing up all over, the students start a paper chain with 6 million links to remember the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The chain brings lots of media attention to the area, especially the attention of ReelTok, an obnoxious YouTuber who blows the whole thing out of proportion. Around this time, Link finds that he's really Jewish; his grandmother's parents were Jews who died in the Holocaust. Link decides to have a bar mitzvah to celebrate his newfound Jewish heritage / have an excuse to throw a party. The book starts to wrap up when the paper chain reaches 6 million links and ReelTok (who's been staking out the school's campus) reveals he knows who the swastika-painter is. Apparently 26 of the 27 were painted by Pamela, a friend of Link, Jordie, and Pouncey. It's not really explained why she painted 26 swastikas all over the school, though. We're told that Pamela is racists, but she never does anything remotely racist, even after she's been found out. Maybe I just missed that part. The first swastika, though was painted by Link himself. Yeah, the dude who's narrated the most chapters, who's having a bar mitzvah, and whose inner monologue never ONCE said he painted the first swastika. That was a little unrealistic; the chapters are basically the narrator's inner thoughts. You'd think the dude who started the whole thing would, at some point, think about the fact that this is his fault. Anyway, THE END. Now, my summary was mostly the parts I liked (except for the weird culprits part). Now to the bad part -- the Jewish part. First of all, Dana's family. They're "Jewish" and she feels "targeted" because she's the only Jewish kid. The problem? Dana could be Catholic or atheist, for goodness sakes, and her life would be the same. Her family doesn't do Kosher, clean and unclean meats, Sabbaths, or anything REMOTELY religious. I mean, why do you make a big deal about being Jewish when you don't care twigs about doing anything Jewish. That annoyed me. Dana literally says the best part of her bat mitzvah was getting it over with. That tells me that being Jewish isn't really that big of a deal to her. But, for the sake of the story, it's a big deal. Ughh. Also, another thing that made me annoyed. Link ate at Dana's house sometime after "becoming Jewish." He asks if the taco is Kosher. Dana explodes because, "It has meat and cheese! Of course it's not Kosher!" Uhhh, most tacos have ground beef. Beef is a clean meat. I thought Jewish people are allowed to eat cheese too, so the taco shouldn't be a problem unless you're vegan. Maybe I'm wrong about that. So, the other Jewish problem. Link. When he first finds out about his Jewish heritage, Link seems to care basically nothing about being Jewish, except for the bar mitzvah (including the party that comes with it, obviously). He seems to care a little more about it as the book goes on, and he still has his bar mitzvah at the end of the book (even though he painted a dang swastika on the school just weeks earlier). No, honestly though, Link regrets the swastika and apologizes to everyone; in the end, the entire student body attends his bar mitzvah. Surprisingly, I didn't hate the part about the bar mitzvah. Link apologizes to everyone there, and it was legitimately sweet. In conclusion, this book was pretty good. I would've given it a perfect score if it wasn't for the awful Jewish stuff. It's a shame, because the entire racism aspect was handled well; it wasn't over the top and cringey like other racism books I've read. The writing quality was excellent, and the idea was great, but the stuff in the middle was a little disappointing. So, will this book go on my "avoid if at all possible shelf"? No, it won't. But, is it Gordon Korman's best book? No, it's not. I'm giving this book 3.75 stars rounded up: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  29. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The small town of Chokecherry, Colorado might be the last place anyone would expect to find hatred and white supremacists. But when a swastika appears on the walls of Chokecherry Middle School, the school administration quickly takes steps to educate students about prejudices, bigotry, and insure that the school is a safe place for all. But the town isn't exactly ethnically or racially diverse, and even media reports indicate that any diversity in the school is the result of the families of the The small town of Chokecherry, Colorado might be the last place anyone would expect to find hatred and white supremacists. But when a swastika appears on the walls of Chokecherry Middle School, the school administration quickly takes steps to educate students about prejudices, bigotry, and insure that the school is a safe place for all. But the town isn't exactly ethnically or racially diverse, and even media reports indicate that any diversity in the school is the result of the families of the visiting paleontologists who are in the area for a dig. The tolerance education program the school pulls together seems to be having a positive effect on the students, but then, other swastikas appear. Inspired by the Paper Clip Project in Whitwell, Tennessee, the students decide to fashion colorful construction paper rings that they will link together to represent the number of individuals who died in the Holocaust. This task seems impossible, but Caroline McNutt, seventh grade class president, is determined to use the project to get herself and the school on the map. When popular Lincoln Rowley gets involved, being part of the project becomes cool, and the coolness factor increases exponentially with all the media attention it receives. Suddenly, the unlikely goal of 6 million links becomes possible. Link's reaction to the massive endeavor is one of amazement: "The cavernous storage space is already half full with mounds of paper links. The expanse of bright colors is so gigantic that my eyes almost can't process it in one sweep. Every time I think I've seen it all, I turn in a new direction, and there's another huge mountain. I stand at the entrance to the building, blinking, struggling to take it in. It's hard to imagine that this landscape of loops was made one link at a time, starting that afternoon in the art room" (p. 127), 28 miles' worth of chains connected together. He also decides to embrace his Jewish identity with a Bar Mitzvah. With posts on YouTube from Adam Tok and the revelation of the real culprit behind the first swastika, the story shifts from the determined efforts of a collective of young folks to a story about guilt, atonement, and forgiveness. And the town's racist past is revealed, which leads to embarrassment on the part of its officials but also a museum dedicated to tolerance and understanding. In the end Michael Amorosa, who had the enormous task of keeping track of all those links, has the best take on the book's theme: "Maybe it shows that tolerance is more about the journey than the destination. A paper chain can be done when it hits a certain number of links. But tolerance is a project you always have to keep working at" (p. 242). The Author's Note gives credit to the Paper Clip Project for inspiring this book and offers helpful resources. As he states, it's almost impossible to wrap one's mind around a number like 6 million. Relying on multiple narrators to tell the story gives readers glimpses into how various individuals think and react to racism or such a crisis as the described here. I appreciated the complexity of the characters and their motivation and how the author doesn't leave readers with easy answers or solutions. My students know that I love using the Paper Clip Project as an example of a project that went beyond the walls of the school and continued for years, showing that we can change the world one person, one lesson, one class at a time, making this one a delight for me to read as it highlights so much that I believe to be true about teaching and education. Readers should not be fooled by the funny cover into thinking this is light reading filled with chuckles. There are moments of levity, yes, but Linked tackles important topics and behavior that need to be explored now more than ever.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Chokecherry, Colorado, is a tiny town. The only thing it has going for it, in Link's father's opinion, is the dinosaur dig going on; he hopes to cash in on that and see Chokecherry become the new Orlando. Link just wishes his father wouldn't put all his eggs in one basket, and expect Link to do the same. Dana's father works on the dig, and Dana is less than thrilled with Chokecherry. One of the very few new kids at school, and thus ignored by locals who have known each other since the cradle, Da Chokecherry, Colorado, is a tiny town. The only thing it has going for it, in Link's father's opinion, is the dinosaur dig going on; he hopes to cash in on that and see Chokecherry become the new Orlando. Link just wishes his father wouldn't put all his eggs in one basket, and expect Link to do the same. Dana's father works on the dig, and Dana is less than thrilled with Chokecherry. One of the very few new kids at school, and thus ignored by locals who have known each other since the cradle, Dana is also the only Jewish kid, so she feels like a double outsider. Michael is head of the art club, and wishes it got treated as well as the sports teams. Melinda (I think) is the president of the 7th grade, and wants people to actually care about student government. Then one day, Michael comes to school early and finds a swastika painted on the wall, and everyone's lives change. Especially since the swastikas keep appearing. There's lots of bad publicity, a local shock-jock vlogger camps out in the park, classes are given over to diversity/compassion training, and Link learns that his own grandmother has just learned that she is a Jewish Holocaust survivor, raised by nuns in an orphanage. As the swastikas keep coming, Link decides he needs to do something, and asks Dana for a suggestion. She jokingly suggests a Bar Mitzvah, but Link takes it and runs with it. The 7th grade also comes up with the idea--inspired by the school that collected 6 million paperclips to represent the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust--to make a 6 million link paper chain. I thought this was great, even if I figured out one of the big surprises pretty early on. I liked that the school was not resistant to additional training, and responded appropriately and immediately, even if they later thought the paper chain thing was taking over too much and tried to shut it down. I thought that Link and Dana were well-developed, even if Link was a bit too much like the hero of Ungifted in that he's an impulsive doer and not a thinker. I thought there were important messages here about making mistakes, even catastrophic ones, and being able to learn from them and having others let you learn from them. Forgiveness is not the same as second chances, and there is a difference between something intentionally, knowingly hateful and not regretted, and something really stupid and thoughtless that is later a cause of sincere regret. I think that's a good message for kids. Lots of great details in the world-building here, too; I liked the dinosaur dig angle. The other characters were fine, but a little one-note. Kids who liked Restart and Ungifted will like this.

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