Sweet on Books's Reviews > Holes

Holes by Louis Sachar
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's review
May 17, 11

bookshelves: independent-reader-jr, melissa-g
Read in May, 2011

Holes is a rare find so don’t miss out on it! The story is captivating, the characters are engaging, the relationships are fascinating, and the details are timeless. I’m always searching for good books for boys and this one is perfect. It is a fast-paced read with vivid imagery, plenty of action and intrigue, and even some subtle humor. At the same time, Sachar eloquently delivers a story filled with meaning and positive messages about family, friendship, loyalty and compassion. He manages to create an intense, powerful, and sometimes chilling story, that is still appropriate for fourth grade and up.

The story begins on a serious note. Stanley Yelnats, a poor, overweight, unpopular boy, has been arrested for stealing a famous baseball player’s sneakers. Stanley actually didn’t commit the crime but, as is often the case for Stanley, he was simply in the “wrong place at the wrong time.” He ends up at a children’s correctional facility know as Camp Green Lake where the kids are forced to dig holes in an enormous dried-up lake. It’s hard work, the social hierarchy among the boys is complicated, the adults running the place can be sadistic, and the circumstances are downright unpleasant, but Stanley accepts his situation and rises to the occasion. Intertwined with Stanley’s story are flashbacks to the surreal lives of his ancestors. Apparently, Stanley’s great-great-grandfather didn’t fulfill a promise he’d made, and his descendants have been paying the price ever since then. Like the pieces of a puzzle, the details of the past and present are woven together flawlessly until they collide, leaving Stanley a new person.

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