Book Author: Gordon Korman
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
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A Shocking Discovery Unleashes a Storm in a Small Town! In the quaint town of Chokecherry, Colorado, where everyone knows everyone, life takes a sudden turn when a swastika is discovered painted on the school building. "Linked" by Gordon Korman unravels a gripping tale set in this small town, where the appearance of the swastika throws the community into chaos.
The story follows multiple perspectives, including Dana Levinson, the only Jewish kid in town, Michael Amoroso, a Latino boy, and Caroline, the seventh-grade class president. The discovery of the swastika leads to a rollercoaster of emotions, reactions, and a school-wide project to create six million paper links representing the Jews killed in the Holocaust.
As the swastikas continue to appear, the town's hidden past resurfaces, and the paper chain project grows into a symbol of unity and remembrance. The characters grapple with issues of casual racism, anti-Semitism, and the impact of the Holocaust, all while dealing with the messiness of going viral.
Gordon Korman masterfully crafts a propulsive and compelling narrative that combines serious issues with his trademark humorous characters. The story is a riveting mystery that offers an engaging way to learn about the Holocaust, making it suitable for readers in grades 5 and up. "Linked" is a tear-jerker in parts, a mystery in others, and a lesson in humanity throughout.
Spoilers (click here to reveal spoilers)
In a shocking twist, it's revealed that Link, the most popular guy in the seventh grade and a central character, was responsible for painting the original swastika. His actions were impulsive, driven by anger, and he later regrets them, especially after discovering his Jewish heritage. Pamela, another student, is caught painting subsequent swastikas, driven by a twisted motive tied to her family's history.
The paper chain project reaches its goal of six million links, drawing attention and support from around the world. Link's bar mitzvah goes forward, symbolizing his growth and understanding of his identity. The story concludes with a sense of healing, forgiveness, and a community united by a shared experience.
Coming of Age,
Dana Levinson: The only Jewish kid in town, values understanding and compassion; helps Link prepare for his bar mitzvah.
Michael Amoroso: A Latino boy, values justice and community; suggests the paper chain project.
Caroline: Seventh-grade class president, values leadership and unity; organizes student council meetings.
Link: Popular prankster, values redemption and self-discovery; learns about his Jewish heritage and seeks a bar mitzvah.
Tolerance and Understanding: The community learns to embrace differences and understand the gravity of symbols like the swastika.
Community Action: The paper chain project symbolizes unity and collective action against hate.
Identity and Self-Discovery: Characters like Link discover their roots and grow in understanding themselves.
History and Memory: The story emphasizes the importance of remembering the past, as seen in the Holocaust memorial project.