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Small Steps (Holes #2)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  12,130 Ratings  ·  1,295 Reviews
Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it’s hard when you have a record, and everyone expects the worst from you. The only person who believes in him is Ginny, his 10-year old disabled neighbor. Together, they are learning to take small steps. And he seems to be on the right path, until X-Ra ...more
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Christian C. for

Remember Armpit, from HOLES? It's been two years since he was released from Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility, and ever since, he's been trying to stay clean. In order to stay clean, he's established for himself five small steps:

1. Graduate from high school.
2. Get a job.
3. Save his money.
4. Avoid situations that might turn violent.
5. Lose the name Armpit.

(By the way, this is not a sequel to HOLES; you don't need to read HOLES to enj
Shoa Khan
Small steps,
’Cause I don’t know where I’m goin’.
Small steps,
I just take it day to day.
Small steps,
Somehow get myself together,
Then maybe I’ll discover
Who I am along the way...

I think it's rather silly to label this book a sequel to Holes, when it simply takes two non-prominent characters from Holes and takes their story forward. And that's about the only thing connecting the 2 books, as they couldn't possibly have been more different.
I know a lot of people have had an issue with this book as t
Jan 09, 2008 Susanne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't tell if this was supposed to be a young adult book or not. Small Steps is a sequel to the book Holes, which was fun to read. In this second book, Sachar follows Armpit as he transitions back into society after his stint at Camp Green Lake. I thought the premise had potential, but in my opinion, it was a fairly transparent story about puppy love and cliche rehabilitation. The book ends with a startling act of violence which doesn't fit with the rest of the story, and then leaves the two m ...more
May 08, 2016 Annet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age
Fun sequel to the renowned 'Holes'!
Easy entertaining read, just what I needed right now after all the 'dark' books... :-)
A heartwarming book and funny too.

Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it's hard when you have a record and everyone expects the worst from you. The only person who believes in Armpit is Ginny, his 10-year old disabled neighbor. Together, they're learning to take small steps.
Armpit seems to
Aug 12, 2011 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What's easy about being the sequel to Holes is that any implausibilities of plot are irreproachable, 'cause you can't hardly get more implausible than Holes and it was awesome. What's hard is simply that you're the sequel to Holes. Because it was awesome. High bar. I'm embarrassed to admit it took me 5 years to get around to actually reading Small Steps, the story of Armpit's X-Ray-influenced adventures back home in Austin, trying to get his life turned around after his time at Camp Green Lake. ...more
Jun 08, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middlegrade
Last we saw Armpit, he was digging holes at Camp Green Lake. Now, Armpit (nicknamed for a wasp bite on his armpit) is still digging holes, but now he's getting paid for it, working for a landscaper in his hometown of Austin, TX. Armpit (or Theodore, as he prefers to be called) is trying to straighten his life out after two years of juvie, while everyone is expecting the worst of him. The only person who believes in him is his feisty ten-year-old neighbor Ginny, who has cerebral palsy. He is earn ...more
Rachel Lightwood
Contains minor spoilers.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy Small Steps as much as I did Holes. In fact I found it rather boring. It was great that we got to see where Armpit and X-Ray ended up after their stint at Camp Green Lake but I would have preferred reading about Stanley.

While I didn't mind Armpit - he wasn't a bad character, just dull - I really didn't like X-Ray. I didn't understand why he lied and cheated. I get that a fair few ex-prisoners relapse and end back in jail, but ticket scamming
Robert Tabb
Dec 08, 2007 Robert Tabb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sachar fans, Older readers
I was reluctant to read Small Steps since Holes is my all-time favorite book and I had heard several negative things from readers concerning how Armpit and X-Ray were handled.
After reading the book, I can see where some people might be disappointed (it's not Holes). However, I found Sachar's ability to weave several stories together to be captivating. His strength of creating "acting true to who they are characters" is on display as Theodore finds himself interacting with diverse characters.
Jan 05, 2012 Jinky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I enjoyed Holes so I thought I'd read another from this author. I was not disappointed. This was a surprisingly gripping story. An off-shoot from a couple of the characters in Holes, Armpit and X-ray return in this novel. Armpit putting to work what his counselor had advised him to do ..take small steps, hence he set 5 goals for himself: graduate from high school, get a job, save his money, avoid situations that might turn violent, and lose the name Armpit. X-ray of course had to jiggle tho
I thought that this book was sorta weird compared to holes it was less exciting I didn't really get the same feeling as I did in holes I got hooked to holes but I am not saying I hated it I am just saying that the book had no connection to holes. There are 4 main characters in the story Armpit, X-Ray, Ginny, and Kaira Deleon. The book has a way of wanting me to keep reading even though I thought it was boring I think it's because the characters that are form holes ( Armpit X-Ray) you want to kno ...more
James Lee
Nov 23, 2014 James Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Small Steps is the sequel to Holes. Both books were extraordinarily good. Small Steps is the continuation of Holes, but it's not told from Stanley's point of view anymore. Stanley went home and lives a normal life, but the story is now focused on Armpit's life. Armpit was another person in Camp Greenlake, he and Stanley were friends. His life after Camp Greenlake is told through this book, and it is extremely interesting. It's such a great book, I believe that if you have read Holes then you sho ...more
Jesse German
Jan 24, 2014 Jesse German rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never read Holes, but I watched the movie and liked it. However, I don't think you necessarily have to read or watch Holes to enjoy and understand this book. This book was an amazing and easy read. After reading Small Steps, I would like to go back and read Holes because I think that Louis Sachar is a great author and would love to read more of his work. Small Steps follows the life of Armpit and X-Ray two years after they have been released from Camp Green Lake. Armpit is trying to take small ...more
Nov 30, 2008 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theodore Johnson a/k/a Armpit is taking the advice of the counselor in his halfway house. He’s taking change in his life in small steps. He’s making the transition from inmate at Camp Greenlake, a notorious Texas boot camp for juvenile offenders back into civil society. He’s doing all right. He has a steady job with a landscape contractor; he’s saving his pay, and going to summer school to complete high school. It’s all going well until his old friend X-Ray stops by with a sure fire way to make ...more
Kressel Housman
Stanley and Zero had their happy ending at the end of Holes, so Louis Sachar did a sequel of sorts starring two of the minor characters from Camp Green Lake, Armpit and X-Ray. Armpit is trying to put his life back together. He’s got a legitimate job and he’s enrolled in summer school, taking speech and economics. But when X-Ray shows up and pressures him into a ticket scalping scheme, Armpit, against his better judgment, joins in. Naturally, they have just enough success to want to keep it going ...more
Abbey Lissaman
Has anyone ever read Holes (by Louis Sachar)? Well this is sort of the sequel. Armpit and X-Ray are now about 17 years old, and Armpit has a job working for the landscape gardening company, which he happens to be very good at because of all the digging he had to do at Camp Green Lake. When Armpit and his old mate X-Ray get mixed up in a ticket scam, things start to get messy, and with the choice of choosing between the popular singer and potential girlfriend Kiara DeLeon, or acing his economics ...more
This was an amazing book.
Very simple, short and sweet-yet utterly amazing.

Maybe it was the simple writing style that made that harsh issues so great.
SMALL STEPS was touching in many ways. IT covered subjects like disability,love,hope and racism with such ease.

The plot is... pretty good. Totally unpredictable! I loved this.
Suspense was great. Characters likable.
Amidst the fun and pleasure of reading this touching novel-was a great feeling. An uplifting feeling.
Dang! I just cant describe it
I loved Holes so I was happy to find this book with some of the same characters. And I have to say right off that Louis Sachar should write song lyrics. The ones in his book were really good. Maybe Lady Gaga could hire him because whoever she has doing that job keeps coming up with stuff like, "Tonight, yeah baby, tonight".

But I digress.

Anyway, I liked the book. In a couple of places I wanted to yell out instructions to the main character.

My only complaint was the ending. I wanted more of a roma
Andrew Reynolds
Dec 14, 2014 Andrew Reynolds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The book Small Steps is the follow-up to HOLES. This book is one that makes you keep reading on and on. I felt it was a heart-warming book.”

“This story starts off with Armpit coming back from Camp Green Lake, trying to work his life back into shape in Austin, Texas. The only one who accepts his though is his 10 year old disabled neighbor, Ginny. Together they will take small steps to prove they world wrong. Armpits friend X-ray and his try to make quick money for selling a new pop star Kaira De
Nov 11, 2012 7706marley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the sequel to the amazing book Holes. This story was about Armpit. It has been 2 years since armpit was at camp green lake. Now armpit aka Theodore is trying to start his life over. He has a job and is finishing school. But when armpit runs into a friend from camp green lake named X-ray things go wrong. It is also told from the perspective of a teenage pop star who later becomes an important character.

This story is crazy!!!! So much going on. Armpit becomes the hero of this story.
Aug 28, 2009 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take Armpit, X-Ray, a teen star and a little girl called Ginny. Add a well-meaning mayor, parents who don’t understand, other parents who do, and one who doesn’t even want to. Mix in some ticket scalpers for the teen star’s concert; plus some impossible coincidences that just have to be the way they are because that’s how the magic of Sachar’s stories works. And rest assured it does work, beautifully, un-put-down-ably and, just like Holes, delightfully memorably too.
Bailey Marissa Bowers
A wonderful book that deals with relationships between races, staying on the right path, and hard work eventually paying off.

Also, the MC is good friends with his younger neighbor, who has a disability, and their friendly relationship is THE BEST GUYS. THE BEST.

14+ for drugs/drug testing, some mild sexual mentions, and maybe some language. (If there is, it's not more than two or three words over 200 pages.)
Yumi Learner
Sep 05, 2014 Yumi Learner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Thirty-first book in English This Year~Small Steps

I finished my thirty-first book without using a dictionary in English this year. The book is sequel of my first English book that I read five years ago. The book was "Holes". After reading the book, to make sure the content I watched the movies of the book as well. Five years ago it took more than one month for me to read the book without a dictionary. It was really big challenge for me at that time.

A couple weeks ago I found the sequel of Ho
Michael Hickey
Mar 22, 2016 Michael Hickey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Featuring two of the characters who were with Stanley Yelnats at Camp Green Lake, Small Steps is a stand-alone sequel to Holes. The characters, Armpit and X-Ray, are a couple of years older than they were during their incarceration at Camp Green Lake, and the story is more mature than Stanley's in Holes. Armpit, who is growing up and wants to lose his embarrassing nickname, is focused on graduating high school, working at his landscaping job, and saving money. He also has an adorable friendship ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 08, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Sachar is a good writer, regardless of the style or level of writing (geared to Young Adults as the 10 to 15-year-old tweeners that libraries aim his books toward are known).

He succeeds (at least as well as I can tell being a 48-year-old father of three kids who went through that stage a few years back) at hitting the sweet spot of that market with smart, funny, insightful, writing that makes good reading even for adults.

This is a followup to his smash title Holes, which I also read and reviewe
Sketchbooks Andstuff
Aug 18, 2016 Sketchbooks Andstuff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers and adults
This is one of my favourite books. I think it is my favourite Louis Sachar book, and I have loved all of his books. Small Steps I have read twice and I could read it again. It is a superb story and I was hooked from the moment I started it.

It is a brilliant book because it has beautiful characters with complexities and personalities which make you care about them and make you interested in them for different reasons. It is a journey of growing as a person, and of life lessons and different pers
An Odd1
Feb 20, 2015 An Odd1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
First chapter
In the guise of songs for "African American" p 9 'Kaira DeLeon' Kathy Spears 17, poems are honeyed or foot-stompin' lyrics. She calls "white" bodyguard Fred 'Doofus', and 'Armpit' Theodore, how I finally remembered him from Camp Green Lake. Not the same hero, but a "big black dude" p 107.

Theo's pal 'X-Ray' "Rex Alvin Washburn 17" p 177 borrows saved hundreds to illegally scalp concert tickets in Austin Texas, talks too much. Rumor of high-pr
Feb 15, 2015 Jaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-5-star-books
I loved this sequel to Holes. It was a great depiction of a young man taking small steps to get his life back on track after his time in juvenile detention. Sachar really showed how much Armpit had matured from his time at Camp Greenlake and the months after. He had a lot going for him and some trouble set against him (his old pal X-ray). But the best part was his relationship with Jenny, a young girl who lives next door with cerebral palsy. It was amazing to see how his decisions were affected ...more
This is a completely different flavor than HOLES. Armpit and X-Ray are from the original book. Armpit is getting it together but X-Ray is still up to some dishonesty. Armpit's meeting with Kaira DeLeon (a famous pop star) seemed highly unlikely but I was glad that the ending of the book was realistic. I was hoping for some mysticism like in HOLES and I thought I had it in the lyrics of Kaira's song but that did not pan out. Overall, it was okay but probably lost the thread due to being written s ...more
Noah Rucks
Personal Response :

I read the book small steps this book was very good. I read the book before it called Holes. I thought this book could of had a better ending, I thought this because it left off in a serious spot. I think they should have some type of thing that has them see each other, but overall I rate this book four stars.


In the beginning of this book it was two years after camp green lake. Armpit was working for a company that does landscaping. He was working at the mayor's house. Hi
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Louis Sachar (pronounced Sacker), born March 20, 1954, is an American author of children's books.

More about Louis Sachar...

Other Books in the Series

Holes (2 books)
  • Holes (Holes, #1)

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“But I'm taking small steps
'Cause I don't know where I'm going
I'm taking small steps
And I don't know what to say.
Small steps,
Trying to pull myself together
And maybe I'll discover
A clue along the way!”
“There was something special about being in a strange place, all alone in a mass of people even if you had just screwed up your life, or perhaps especially if you had just screwed up your life.” 18 likes
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