by Louis Sachar
Holes is about a kid named Stanley who mistakenly gets accused of a crime and ends up at a reformative camp for delinquent youth. A camp in the middle of a dried- up desert lake. Where the boys have to dig five-foot deep holes every day. It's supposed to be character-building. Even though he's not guilty, Stanley doesn't protest much when he's sent to the camp, because his family has suffered a long series of misfortunes they attribute to a "dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather" who brought a curse upon them. At first the story is just about Stanley's efforts to learn the rules of camp, survive the desert heat and make his way among the other boys. But before long he realizes there's more than just character-building behind all the holes: the camp director is looking for something. Something which is connected to his own family history, which is revealed bit by bit in alternating chapters. The whole thing about the pig-stealing grandfather was a bit ridiculous, but woven in well, the two storylines unfolding side by side until at the end you learn the mystery behind the grandfather's curse, what's hidden under the dead lake and how Stanley aims to solve it all. I never really expected to read a book that had prison life, a hidden treasure, an ancestral love story and desert survival. It's pretty entertaining.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 233 pages, 1998
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