Linked is Gordon Korman’s latest middle grade offering, set in Chokecherry, Colorado, a small town where everyone knows everyone and all the kids have been together since kindergarten. There are a few new kids — one of whom is Jewish — whose parents work as paleontologists digging for dinosaur fossils in town. The small town is thrown into an uproar when a swastika is painted in the school building — and multiple swastikas continue to pop up throughout the school.
Told from the POV of multiple kids, including Dana Levinson (the one Jewish kid), Michael Amoroso (a Latino boy), and Caroline (the seventh-grade class president) as they deal with the impact of the swastikas and work to create six million paper links to represent the Jews killed in the Holocaust.
This was such a gripping rollercoaster of a read! I had no idea what to expect going in (I think I skipped reading the blurb) so it was shocker after shocker for me. The book opens with the discovery of the first swastika after a bunch of kids go to prank the paleontologists. After some big reveals every quarter, this story shapes up to be a real tear-jerker in some parts.
Gordon Korman is particularly skilled at writing multiple narrators, and he does a fantastic job with this story. Each of the (at least) six kids whose perspectives we read from are exceptionally well drawn with unique voices and circumstances. I loved all the kids, but especially Link and Dana.
There isn’t much to be said without spoiling/unraveling the plot, but I will say there isn’t much upsetting content in this story, except that it may be mildly triggering for Jewish people.
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.