Friday, May 24, 2013

Staff Pick: Here Lies Linc (Ages 8 and Up)

Here Lies Linc 
Delia Ray

This school year, twelve year old Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw (Linc) is embarking on a new life. Up until recently his life had been pretty predictable and happy. Both of his parents were college professors; they homeschooled him with the kids of scholars. His family was strange, sure, but they were happy just the way there were. When Linc’s dad unexpectedly dies he and his mom are forced to reevaluate everything in their lives. For Linc, this means diving headfirst into the dog-eat-dog world of public middle school. When Linc starts school he realizes that blending in like a normal kid might be harder than he expected; his mother, who studies gravestone and burial rituals, and his old life certainly don’t help. Just when he thinks he has everything under control, a class assignment changes everything. Linc’s teacher assigns each student the task of choosing and researching a gravestone in the graveyard beside Linc’s house. Linc and his classmates will have the help of the nation’s leading death and burial expert: Linc’s mother. An unexpected adventure begins when Linc chooses the infamous Black Angel grave and his new friend, Delaney, chooses a grave belonging to a man named Robert Raintree. Linc and his classmates unravel mysteries ranging from the story behind the sinister Black Angel to the unexpected history of Linc’s own family.

This is a chapter book appropriate for middle grader readers. It has a pretty high page count, but the payoff at the end is great. Mysteries are solved, questions are answered, and it’s a very satisfying end. The cover of the book and the spooky title might lead the reader to believe that this is going to be scary if not macabre. Once again the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” rings true. This book has moments of suspense and mystery, but it’s really not that sort of book. Rather than the expected nail-biting ghost story, this is a tale about a boy connecting with the past, his community, his family, and finding himself. As the mystery unfolds, readers will enjoy the clever, thought-provoking, and sometimes touching epitaphs quoted at the beginning of each chapter. It was also neat to note that the Black Angel monument and all of the places described in the book are real locations in Iowa City, Iowa. This book is a great read brimming with adventure, mystery, sincerity, and depth.

Submitted by Mollie Harrison
Springville Road Library

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