Holes by Louis Sachar
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: Published by Dell Yearling in 2000
Recommended Age Group: Ages 10 and up
Summary: Holes is a book about a boy named Stanley Yelnats who gets arrested for stealing some shoes when he swears he didn’t do it. Stanley is not really liked and often picked on at school. One day he gets into a fight with one of the bullies who throws his notebook in the toilet. Stanley fishes it out and by the time he gets to the front of the school he has missed the bus. On his walk home some shoes come off an overpass and hit him in the head. He thinks that it is destiny and a miracle; you see his father is working on a way to recycle old tennis shoes and Stanley wants to help. He takes the shoes and starts to run home with them when he is stopped by a police officer and then arrested for stealing the shoes. Apparently these shoes were once the shoes of a famous baseball player Clyde Livingston and they were to be sold to raise money for a homeless shelter. Stanley is put on trial for the theft and in convicted. He gets the choice of jail or Camp Green Lake. His parents choose Camp Green Lake. Now when Stanley arrives at this camp he notices that there is no green and no lake. It is full of delinquent boys who are to dig one whole a day five feet deep and five feet in every direction. Stanley soon comes to the conclusion that they are looking for something but he doesn’t know what. He makes friends with a boy named Zero and begins to teach him how to read and write. In exchange for this service Zero digs a bit of Stanley’s hole everyday. One day Zero who’s real name we learn at this point is Hector Zeroni, decides that he does not want to dig any more holes and he goes out into the dessert and is presumed dead within a couple of days. Stanley keeps thinking to himself that he should go after him but keeps putting it off. The camp tries to erase Zero’s existence rather than dealing with the paperwork and quickly replaces him. One day Stanley decides he’s had enough too and tries to steal the water truck to go and find Zero. He ends up putting the water truck in a whole and goes off without it. He eventually does find Zero still alive under a boat and they share some of what Zero calls sploosh, some type of peach mixture. They climb up a hill and Zero almost doesn’t make it but in the end they find some onions and water and are able to stay alive. They go back to the holes and find some treasure that belongs to Stanley’s great grandfather and the family ends up being rich and Stanley’s father invents some substance to get rid of foot odor that reminds everyone of peaches. They eventually end up calling it sploosh. All along the story we also flip back to the story of Kate and Sam who fill in some of the details and give us a bit more information, but the main story is about Stanley.
Personal Notes: Holes had the underlined themes of facing up to the consequences of your actions and how to be a good person no matter what the circumstances. The boys at the camp also tried to make the best of a bad situation. They were survivors at heart and in a bizarre way they gave one another support. Stanley was an amazing example of what it means to be a friend when he went after Zero in the desert. Overall well-written and an amazing book.