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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Cal is sick of being the good guy … Joe's dad is a big time loser - can Joe ever be a winner? Ben has two girlfriends - but only loves himself, and Kate has to say the hardest goodbye of all. Four people. Four stories. Four links in the chain. One book, which will change their lives forever.…

The Chain

by Keith Gray

Overall Book Review:

The Chain is a story in four parts–about an amazing book that links four kids together. This book is written especially for reluctant readers, and is almost guaranteed to interest them from the start.

Each of the characters is struggling with a personal difficulty, and the book helps them get through it. Unfortunately, the final two stories don’t carry as much appeal as the first two, which are really exciting and suspenseful.

I was caught up in this story almost immediately. It’s well written, the struggles are real, and most of the characters are likeable. I felt a little let down that I never got to learn the name of the mysterious book, although I understand that divulging the name would have taken away some of its power to change lives. Surely no real book could affect such a range of people in the same way. But I don’t know if the unsophisticated reader would reason that out. I think they might end up feeling cheated that they never got to learn anything about the contents of the book–not even a bit of a story line. By the time I got to the third story, I was ready for something really exciting to happen. Nothing did. I felt like the book went downhill until the uninspired end.

There are probably some kids who might find the entire story interesting–especially if they’re really hooked at the beginning, as I was. Certainly there is food for thought in the idea that a single object has the power to link people together and affect them in different ways.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Lerner Publishing Group

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation.

Violence/Gore: A character assaults another character with an instrument case, causing no serious injury.

Sex/Nudity: An underage male character tries to get various girls to engage in sexual activity; pornography is viewed with no details; brief kissing; a character takes a girl’s bra off while kissing with no details; a male character looks at and thinks about a girl’s breasts.

Mature Subject Matter:

Theft, gambling, bullying, cheating, gang activity, death of a family member, divorce, abandonment, infidelity.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother would often find me curled up in a corner, avoiding chores with a book–or two. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a large selection of YA books. I had children’s books and adult literature to choose from. I’ve come to love YA fiction as an adult and read almost nothing else when I read for pleasure–any genre will do.