Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck going back generations, so he is not too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre. Nor is he very surprised when he is told that his daily labour at the camp is to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, and report anything that he finds in that hole. The warden claims that it is character building, but this is a lie and Stanley must dig up the truth. In this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has created a masterpiece that will leave all readers amazed and delighted by the author's narrative flair and brilliantly handled plot.


I picked this one up in preparation to read it with my seventh grade students. I had heard of the book, come across the movie on TV, but I knew very little about the story before I read it. I knew about the camp for delinquent boys, and that they were forced to dig holes, but that was about it. The book turned out to be quite different from what I had expected, and I understand now why it won the awards that it did. Sachar weaves the past and the present together beautifully in this novel and it is much more than a simple coming of age story. It speaks to the power of destiny, choice, and the interconnectiveness of life. 

The characters are memorable and there are many lessons to be learned from them - lessons in fairness, tolerance, perseverance, adversity, etc. I imagine that my students will greatly enjoy this book. The story is funny, and full of adventure and everything else that appeals to a young adult audience. I enjoyed reading it, and I am looking forward to reading it with my students. 

2015 Reading Challenge: A book with a one-word title

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