Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Summary (provided by publisher): My secret life is filled with psychic vampires, wheelchair zombies, chain-rattlin' ghosts, and a one-eyed cat. But they're nothing compared to my real-life stalker: a sixth-grade girl named Kandi Kain. . . .
Lincoln Jones is always working on the latest story he's got going in his notebook. Those stories are his refuge. A place where the hero always prevails and the bad guy goes to jail. Real life is messy and complicated, so Lincoln sticks to fiction and keeps to himself. Which works fine until a nosy girl at his new school starts prying into his private business. She wants to know what he's writing, where he disappears to after school, and why he never talks to anybody. . . .
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is a terrifically funny and poignant story about a boy finding the courage to get to know the real characters all around him—and to let them know him.
My opinion: Fantastic writing here. I'm a big fan of Lincoln, the way his mind works. I was easily caught up in his story and his interactions with people, especially the "oldies" at Brookside. Clearly his obsession with his stories is a coping mechanism but it's not overdone. He's still a skilled writer and doesn't stop just because he determines to face reality. There are a lot of subtle secondary messages at play as well, mostly having to do with dignity. Most of the secondary characters are pretty basic but this is not uncommon in middle grade fiction. The biggest selling point for me is that it holds up to repeat reading. there's something more to discover and more importantly to discuss with each read. It would make a great book club selection.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.