Reviews for Here Lies Linc

Booklist Reviews 2011 September #1
Homeschooled 12-year-old Lincoln Crenshaw transfers to public school, hoping to find "regular" kids like himself. Linc is mortified when he learns that his class is starting an Adopt-a-Grave Project, and his mother, an expert on burial customs, is leading a tour of the graveyard. Embarrassed, Linc tries for coolness by researching the Black Angel, the scariest grave in the cemetery. As Linc and a new friend uncover the truth, he also discovers a secret linked to his own family. The setting and can't-miss premise--based on a real legend--are sure to draw kids in, but it is the warm depiction of Linc's adolescent struggles to separate from yet hold on to family that is the heart of this book. The two mysteries are unusual, in that real kids could encounter and solve them, and readers unravel the puzzle along with Linc. Ray does a fine job with the characters, avoiding many of the social clichés. There's plenty of humor, including a terrific graveyard Greek chorus and actual epitaphs that lead off each chapter. A fresh, charming read-aloud. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Twelve-year-old Lincoln has grown up next to Iowa's Oakland Cemetery with his "kind of unusual" mom, a professor specializing in burial customs. His first junior high assignment is to research one of the cemetery's graves. Ray's characters are quirky and relatable, with genuine emotions; Linc, in particular, is an earnest, self-effacing narrator trying to both fit in and do the right thing. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #5
"Most people end their lives in a graveyard. Sometimes I think my life began there." This lightly suspenseful tale introduces twelve-year-old Lincoln, who's grown up next to Iowa's Oakland Cemetery with his "kind of unusual" mom, a professor specializing in burial customs. Now that he's starting junior high, however, Linc is ready to spend time with (living) people his own age; too bad his first American Studies assignment is to research one of the cemetery's graves. After a rocky start (his mom is the class's tour guide), Linc chooses the allegedly cursed Black Angel monument. His new friend Delaney picks the grave of a man named Raintree (Linc's middle name), and former-friend-turned-popular-guy Mellecker selects a locked tomb. As the students' work progresses, Linc befriends an elderly neighbor, discovers he has a grandmother, and gets into the popular crowd (though he betrays a friend to do it). Ray's characters are quirky and relatable, with genuine emotions -- even the book's villain. Linc, in particular, is an earnest, self-effacing narrator trying to both fit in and do the right thing by those he loves. The book is solidly rooted in history; an author's note explains Ray's research on the Black Angel, and epitaphs from well-known (Jack London, Emily Dickinson) and anonymous sources preface each chapter. rachel l. smith Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 June #1

Can Linc hope for anything near a normal life when his widowed mother is an absent-minded professor specializing in burial customs?

Twelve-year-old Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw Junior knows it will be a difficult transition when he transfers to public school from "Home-Away-From-Home-School" (several faculty children—Ho-Hos—taught together in Dr. Lindstrom's basement). He didn't know his first official field trip would be to the Oakland Cemetery, which is literally in his backyard...or that his mother, Dr. Charlotte Landers, would be the one leading the tour. He convinces her to pretend he's just another student, but of course that goes horribly wrong.  In an attempt to be cool, he decides he'll use the supposedly cursed Black Angel monument for his adopt-a-grave research project. Instead of cool he gets a heap of trouble from the new cemetery "warden," Mr. Kilgore, and a mysterious connection, through his father, to a grave adopted by another new student. Ray's tale, which centers around a real legend, strikes the perfect balance of humor, realistic chills and near-teen angst. Linc's problems with his eccentric mother, their shared grief over his father's unexpected death and Linc's trials at school are expertly woven into the dual mysteries: the real story of the Black Angel and a secret from his father's past.

Actual epitaphs from across the globe kick off each chapter for extra funereal fun. (Mystery. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 September

Gr 5-7--Iowa City's Oakland Cemetery and legends about its Black Angel monument feature strongly in this suspenseful though warmhearted tale of family intrigue. Linc Raintree Crenshaw and his vaguely eccentric mom, Lottie Landers, a professor who studies burial customs, live in a house bordering the cemetery. Linc is stressed about starting junior high after having attended the small, private Home-Away-From-Home School, and Lottie seems unable to talk about her husband, whose sudden death soon after they moved to Iowa City has left Linc with unanswered questions. An Adopt-a-Grave assignment lands Linc in a fine mess when he steals a key to a crypt to impress the guys at school. His changing relationships with a diverse cast of interesting characters are central: old friend and cemetery handyman Jeeter; new, almost cartoonishly uncivil cemetery warden Kilgore; former classmate Mellecker, now a seventh-grade big wheel who surprises Linc with his friendship; the mysterious woman who visits the Raintree gravesite each Monday; elderly neighbor Mr. Krasny, who helps Linc translate the strange epitaph on the base of the Black Angel; and new girl Delaney, who has an adventurous spirit and great concern for her pregnant mother, who lost her last baby. Additional poignancy arises from discovering the facts of Linc's dad's birth. The satisfying resolution occurs when Delaney and Linc present their reports in situ-at the cemetery. Epitaphs are used as chapter epigraphs, and an author's note delineates fact from fiction.--Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA

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