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The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Award-winning author Wendelin Van Draanen gives us a brilliantly fresh and funny story about a boy learning to become the brave hero of his own life. Perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and The Fourteenth Goldfish.
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 stal
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Kimberly (Book Swoon)
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
THE SECRET LIFE OF LINCOLN JONES is told through the humorous voice of an eleven-year-old Lincoln Jones, a boy who finds an escape from everyday life through his notebook where psychic vampires, wheelchair zombies, and a one-eyed cat fill the pages. Now, if he can only avoid his real life dilemma of a girl named Kandi Kain who is far too nosy, wanting to know what's in his notebooks and why he never talks to anyone.

Poignant, humorous, and with a gentle touch on themes such as bullying and demen
Quite The Novel Idea ~ Words from the Clouds

Well, this was utterly charming. That's the word that pops into my head when I think of this book. Charming. There is so much to love about this book but at the same time it didn't quite reach the heights I would've wanted it to. Because it definitely could have. But I still liked it lots and lots.

So before I go forth and list all the awesome things about this book, I'm going to have to be a negative nancy for a bit and tell you the things that I didn
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Never have I felt so polarized by a book but in such a good way. I have to say that Lincoln Jones's circumstances were so sad but yet his outlook on life made reading about his adventures so fun and entertaining. And it's been awhile since I was an eleven-year-old but I don't remember being as imaginative as Lincoln is throughout this story. So imaginative, that I seriously laughed out loud at some of his theories about life. One chapter is about "Zombie Chicken" and one chapter is about the "Va ...more
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed other books by Van Draanen but really enjoyed this one! Lincoln is a great narrator and tells his story with heart.
As the new kid in town, Lincoln is having a hard time making friends. He is being ignored at school and bullied on the bus. He and his mother have escaped an abusive relationship and it has been a long time since Lincoln has had friends. Meeting his mother at her work, a nursing home, after school everyday doesn't help. When Lincoln inadvertently ignores the popular girl, Ka
(More like 4.5) . . . The irony here is that I judged this book by its cover, and that is precisely what the novel is about: forming decisions based on the stories people want you to know, rather than the stories that are true. I loved Lincoln and his voice as a narrator; I felt like I knew him, and I definitely have known kids like him. While reading, I was constantly reminded of the quote attributed to Shakespeare, "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." As far as YA goes, ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book, “The Secret Life Of Lincoln Jones” by Wendelin, Van, Draanen is based on a story of Lincoln’s life. Lincoln is an eleven year old student who spends most of his time with old folks. Lincoln believes most the things he has seen is too embarrassing so he keeps it to himself. Lincoln gets stalked at school at school by a girl named Kandi Kain. Mostly because he is a new kid in the area. One connection I can make is that I know how hard it can be for a new kid to get friends because no one ...more
Abel Mota
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Book “The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones” By Wendelin Van Draanen is told in the humorous point of view by an eleven year old boy. This boy’s name is Lincoln. He writes lots of stories, he has a complicated life, and writes about Wheelchair zombies, and Vampires. At his school there is a girl named Kandi Kain. She is very loud, and she follows him everywhere. She wants to know what’s inside of Lincoln’s notebook, and why he doesn’t talk to anyone.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review originally appeared on my blog,


I’m always intrigued by books about kids who write stories. I started writing when I was a kid, so I usually feel a bit of kinship with the characters. I want to know why they write, what sort of stories they create.

In THE SECRET LIFE OF LINCOLN JONES, Lincoln’s notebooks of stories are the only sentimental thing he took with him when he and his mom escaped her abusive boyfriend. In their new home, Lincoln continues to write as a way to e
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie Ohi
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-middle-grade
I recently read THE SECRET LIFE OF LINCOLN JONES by Wendelin Van Draanen (Knopf Books For Young Readers) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator is 11-year-old Lincoln, who keeps secrets in his notebook. His voice is fresh, funny and I love how he sees the world.

One of his secrets: In the afternoons, Lincoln hangs out at Brookside, a home for people with memory loss and dementia where his mother works. Something else I loved about this story: how Lincoln's observations about his mom and "the cr
Caradith Craven
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wendelin Van Draanen's latest novel will capture the reader's heart from the hilarious first page to the poignant final chapter. The story of Lincoln Jones and his struggle to understand and cope with the difficulties of his everyday life is beautifully told in this first-person narrative.

Lincoln Jones's secret life centers around the world of the residents at the Brookside Memory Care facility where he goes every day after school to hang out and do his homework until his 'ma' gets off work. Li
Heather Brown
Lincoln Jones escapes into the amazing stories that he writes - ninja pirate cats, superheroes saving the day, the clang of a cell door imprisoning the bad guys - but in real life Lincoln just hides. He has avoided making friends in school, but hasn't avoided making enemies on the school bus. School starts to change for Lincoln when popular girl Kandi takes an interest in him. She tries her hardest to make Lincoln have friends, but everything she does seems to make things worse, at least at firs ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
(3.5 Stars)

Starting in a new school is tough, especially when you don't want to share the details of your life. Lincoln and his mother have managed to escape his mother's abusive boyfriend and are starting over in the north. Lincoln feels like he doesn't fit in at all, with his Southern accent, his Southern manners, and especially because he has to spend every afternoon at the eldercare facility where his mother works. Lincoln prefers to live in the fantasy world of the stories he writes. As the
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
How can anyone not fall in love with Lincoln Jones? Lovers of fine books will recognize elements of themselves in him -- curious, imaginative, compassionate. This is my first book from Wendelin Van Draanen and I am sooo impressed by the singular narration unique to Lincoln Jones. Her writing felt like it was written in the past (mainly because Lincoln's Southern drawl felt very retro) but it was set in modern day, which makes me think this could be a timeless classic. (I haven't read a voice as ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this story. A great introduction to parts of the world that many children don't experience. A good Thanksgiving story. A good one to read as a family to talk about Alzheimer's, death, and growing up. Even though these topics are part of the story it is not the focus and the journey of Lincoln's is a touching and comedic one. I will definitely be reading this to my children when they are in fourth grade.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dealing with a nosey classmate, dealing with a bully, and going to an old folks facility every day after school is a lot to deal with for a sixth grader like Lincoln from the book titled, "The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones" by Wendelin Van Draanen. As I read I often wondered how he would make it out of his first school year in a new school? I think the author included a lot of fillers (overly dramatic) but I did like the details of the characters and the heart warming events. Like the time when h ...more
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
When Lincoln and his mother escape a toxic household and move for a fresh start, he has to start all over again. New house, new school, and new people. He doesn't make much friends and this really annoying girl bothers him. His mom works at an old folks home where walks to everyday after school. Personally i didnt like the book. It was pretty dull. I liked the parts when he talked about his past. How cliff was crazy. The truma was interesting. When they thought he found them that got me suspense ...more
Ms. St. Jean
(Goodreads blurb)

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. . . .

Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another delightful book by Wendelin Van Draanen. I loved the character of Lincoln. He is a wonderful storyteller with a vivid imagination, who invites you on a humorous but poignant adventure with him as he gets to know the people around him. . . not the sort of folks that a kid normally hangs out with!

Van Draanen tackles some of the challenges that kids face but in such a way that doesn't sugarcoat the problem, yet isn't heavy.

The narrator, JB Adkins, was awesome. He had a light southern draw
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book The Secret Life Of Lincoln Jones is a fabulous book to read it's about this boy named Lincoln Jones who is a middle schooler and has this secret of his and his secret is after school he walks to Brookside which is this old folk home and these elderly have lost their minds and doesn't want anyone to know, but there is this girl Kandi Kain who stalks him. Lincoln is struggling to fit in at school and his mom is working very hard that they live in a one-bedroom apartment and moved away fr ...more
Carlos Cabada
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is a really good, funny, sad, and overall awesome book. I recommend this book to people who like really good books. I can't imagine being in Lincoln's shoes. I love how Lincoln loves writing. This one my lets say top 3 favorite books I have ever read. Again really do encourage you and everyone in this reading community to read this awesome book!
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wendelin Van Draanen’s realistic fiction novel entitled, “ The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones,” is about- a boy named Lincoln Jones! In my personal opinion, this 5 star novel has a great structure in time, piling up suspense of what might happen to the kid. It’s also hilarious.
What makes his story very interesting is most certainly the fact that Lincoln has such a wild imagination,which sometimes interferes with his everyday life, so forth leading into consequences, helping himself create stori
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
The Secret life of Lincoln Jones is about how there is a kid who i at a place where there is just old people and how he needs to help them.ALso how he thinks everything he sees is all fake or out of their minds.And that he's embarrassed that he goes to old ladies and old men houses after school.THis book is not my type but I still finish it.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish this book had gotten more notice last year. It's sweet and sad and hopeful all at once. Parts of it reminded me of Dead End in Norvelt, but less extreme. Recommended for 5th/6th grades
Roxy Moreno
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book “The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones” by Wendelin Van Draanen is about a boy named Lincoln Jones. In this book, Lincoln has to go to school where he has no friends, and then has to go to a nursing home called Brookside after school. He has to deal with all the crazy old people’s shenanigans. One day, when Lincoln is walking to Brookside, he finds that he is being stalked by a girl named Kandi Kain. This starts problems and Lincoln gets stalked by her a lot. I recommend this book to anyone ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“ The Secret Life of Life of Lincoln Jones “ by Wendelin Van Draanen is about a boy, Lincon Jones , who’s life is out of the ordinary . Lincoln had just begun his first year at a new school in brookside . This inspirational novel is about getting through tough times with perseverance as well as getting to know one another and getting out of our comfort shell. What makes this novel great , is the humorous tone this story is told through and the complexity and development of the characters. This s ...more
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
For anyone who has secrets they believe would never be understood.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-boy, j-contemporary
I have been charmed by the Sammy Keyes books so I was curious to see how she can capture the viewpoint of a boy. I've never been an 11 year old boy but I've experienced plenty of cringe worthy moments and dealt with the ups and downs of public school so I think this is a fairly accurate portrayal of what a child in his tough circumstances might go through. But I always love a book that can make me laugh and this opening paragraph really grabbed me:

Ruby Hobbs came out of her room, dancing and si
Alexis Casson
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it

Lincoln and his mother Merrybell escape their home in the countryside to get away from his mother’s abusive boyfriend cliff. Lincoln must start a new life at a new school with new people. He escapes the real world through the story’s he rights. Every day after school he heads to his moms work at an old folks home where he gets his ideas for characters at. “The secret life of Lincoln Jones” by Wendelin Van Draanen was definitely not one of my favorite books. I did like the overall message “ Somet
Isaac Torres
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Secret life of Lincoln Jones” by Wendelin Van Draanen is a very good book in my opinion. It shows things that all kids go through, change. In this book Lincoln Jones faces many challenges such as bullies, being the new kid, facing part of the real world and more. I feel like I can relate to Lincoln because I have a relative who lives in a nursing home, and to be honest it is not very fun visiting there. Also I in a way am the new kid because this school year I changed school districts, [an ...more
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Wendelin Van Draanen has written more than thirty novels for young readers and teens. She is the author of the 18-book Edgar-winning Sammy Keyes series, and wrote Flipped which was named a Top 100 Children’s Novel for the 21st Century by SLJ, and became a Warner Brothers feature film with Rob Reiner directing. Her novel The Running Dream was awarded ALA’s Schneider Family Award for its portrayal o ...more

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