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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

When 12-year-old Linc Crenshaw decides he wants to go to public school, his professor mom isn't so happy with the idea. He's convinced it will be the ticket to a new social life. Instead, it's a disaster when his mom shows up at their field trip to the local cemetery to lecture them on gravestones, and Linc sees her through his fellow-students' eyes. He's convinced his chances at a social life are over until a cemetery-related project makes him sought-after by fellow students he's not so sure he wants as friends, helps him make a new, genuine friend, and brings to light some information about his family that upends his world.…

Here Lies Linc

by Delia Rey

Overall Book Review:

From the title, and even the cover art, of this book, I admit that I was expecting something in the way of a silly spooky teen story to get you ready for Halloween.  Wasn’t I surprised to find, instead of a supernatural fantasy, a wonderful story based on a true account!  Here Lies Linc has a contemporary and engaging plot, full of finding connections with yourself and your past.

Linc (Lincoln) learns so many things as he struggles to find himself.  He’s in a new school and has a strange mother.  He doesn’t know where he belongs.  I have to admit that through much of the book, I didn’t like Linc.  He had no backbone and seemed to have no qualms with lying, stealing, and pretending to be someone he wasn’t.  However, he did improve and learn!  It did make me think of the fact that many of us, at one time or another, feel like we want to ‘fit in’ and do some pretty dumb things to do it.  Luckily, Linc’s mistakes take him down a very interesting path of discovery—both of the past and of his future.  He makes some wonderful friendships with very unlikely people (especially his cute old neighbor, Mr. Krasny, whom I loved) and discovers the joy of searching through the past and making lasting connections with his community.

Learning about the Black Angel monument in the Iowa City, Oakland Cemetery was so interesting, especially because it was true!  We have the opportunity to follow Linc as he works to disprove the ‘curse’ of the Black Angel and uncover the true identity of the woman who commissioned the monument and why she did it.  I loved reading the epitaphs at the beginning of each chapter, and they become even more fun as I discovered that they are real epitaphs from actual headstones!  There were funny ones, sad ones, and many famous ones.  It made me wonder what I would write on mine…  More than anything, though, I loved seeing the joy that came to so many people as they searched through the past to uncover the truth!

This novel takes place around a cemetery, but it never gets creepy. Instead, it makes you want to go to a cemetery and wander around, just to see what stories you may find!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

There is one mild exclamation of profanity (a character is thankful about something).

The few very mild instances of violence include a short description of a movie some characters are watching (a horror movie for Halloween—included zombies and a ‘jump’ scene), a story about a cursed statue (some characters become ‘cursed’ after defacing a ‘cursed’ statue and lose arms/fingers), and some mean pictures/remarks about another person (bullying).  There is also a very cranky character who seems to take joy in the misery of others and has to have total control.  Some characters are trapped in a burial vault for a short time.

The only instance of any sexual content is when one character mentions she discovered she was pregnant after her boyfriend left town.  It is a necessary part of the story, as there was some adoption/lost family involved.  This specific information is told in just the manner I just did (matter-of-fact, and in one sentence).

Mature Subject Matter:

The mature themes are mild and include overcoming grief, trying to fit in at a new school (bullying, being embarrassed of a parent or old classmates, lying or stealing in order to ‘fit in’, etc.), and communicating with family and friends.  There is one character who is caught drunk.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I read anything and everything. I love the smell of books. My kids giggle at me when I open a new box of books from Amazon and I inhale the new pages and rub the shiny new spine against my face! 🙂 My husband just rolls his eyes at me and is grateful he has me on a budget! 🙂