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Holes Paperback – May 9, 2000
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"If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy." Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be "the largest lake in Texas" is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!" Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine: rising before dawn to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter; learning how to get along with the Lord of the Flies-styled pack of boys in Group D; and fearing the warden, who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character--that in fact the warden is seeking something specific--the plot gets as thick as the irony.
It's a strange story, but strangely compelling and lovely too. Louis Sachar uses poker-faced understatement to create a bizarre but believable landscape--a place where Major Major Major Major of Catch-22 would feel right at home. But while there is humor and absurdity here, there is also a deep understanding of friendship and a searing compassion for society's underdogs. As Stanley unknowingly begins to fulfill his destiny--the dual plots coming together to reveal that fate has big plans in store--we can't help but cheer for the good guys, and all the Yelnats everywhere. (Ages 10 and older) --Brangien Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
PW's starred review of the 1999 Newbery Medal winner described it as a "dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism." Ages 10-up. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
So trifecta of readability.
I read it.
And I am so very glad I did.
All my ideas of what I like in a book were blown to smithereens.
It's a testament to what really great storytelling can do. I found myself identifying with Stanley. Rooting for Stanley. Hoping for more for Stanley.
This is an awesome read. Worthy of being read by adults and kids. I devoured it in 24 hours. Fantastic storytelling. Completely sucked me in. Absolute page turner
Both my boys can be sensitive to darker plots and humor but they both really enjoyed this book - it wasn't too much for them. It's recommended for third grade and up but I found it appropriate for my first and second grader. The only mildly inappropriate instance is when one character says, "What the hell?" I didn't even notice when I was reading it but my first grader was quick to point out at our book club meeting that it was his favorite part - because of the "bad" word. Such a proud parenting moment.
Speaking of book club, this was a great selection for the Intergenerational Book Club (IGBC) at my church. There were kids from first through fifth grade (mostly boys) and all of them enjoyed this book. For snacks we had worms and dirt (made by the kids), doughnut holes, and pumpkin onion cookies. (Onions play an important role in the story.)