Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes by Louis Sachar is a modern children's classic and a Newbery medal winner.

Camp Green Lake is a juvenile detention facility where there is neither a lake nor any greenery. Stanley Yelnats is sent there when he is accused of a crime he didn't commit. He blames his great-great-grandfather for his bad luck -- ever since that ancestor's pig-stealing incident, all of his family has been unlucky. At Camp Green Lake, the Warden has the boys go out in the wasteland where a lake once was and dig holes. Perhaps the Warden thinks this will build character -- or perhaps there's some other motive. . . .

Part mystery, part adventure story, with a secondary historical narrative woven through, Holes really is a triumph of a book. The plot is tight, the characters are nuanced, the setting is detailed. I'd recommend this to anyone who has an interest in juvenile fiction, but I'd also recommend it to anyone who has a low opinion of children's books -- this is the sort of book that might change your mind!

(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)

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