62 pages 2 hours read

Gordon Korman


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2021

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Character Analysis

Lincoln “Link” Rowley

Seventh-grader Link is a popular athlete and prankster. In his first chapters, he is portrayed as angry and lost. He is caught carrying out a prank against the visiting paleontologists and reveals that his father has taken him out of sports due to his participation in previous pranks. The primary source of his school identity—being an athlete—has been taken away from him. He feels his father cares more about the town and its image than about him. Driven by his frustration, Link paints the swastika that appears in Chapter 1, though the revelation of his guilt does not occur until later in the book.

Link’s understanding of the swastika’s meaning evolves gradually over the course of the novel. He is dismissive when the school enacts a tolerance education unit, as he believes what he did was not that serious. However, he discovers a personal connection to the Holocaust: His maternal grandmother is Jewish, and he has no relatives on that side because they were all killed in the war. This sparks a desire to connect with his lost heritage, and it fuels his engagement in and commitment to the success of the paper chain project that Michael suggests after more swastikas appear.