Hope you have fun plans for this weekend. We’ll be living at the pool since there’s no other way to survive this heat! That and staying inside reading in my air conditioning 😉
Today I am excited to share my review of Holes by Louis Sachar. This was my first time reading this book and it didn’t disappoint!
- I picked this novel up recently at Half Price Books when I realized I don’t own it and have never read it. Definitely a good purchase!
- My first experience with Holes was seeing the 2003 movie starring Shia LeBeouf as Stanley. I loved this movie! I can definitely still sing the theme song basically word for word. Ha! I was surprised by how spot on the movie adaptation is to the book. It really stays true to the original story, dialogue and characters!
- This book is a well deserved Newbery winner. It has an engaging story, exciting plot twists, and deeper themes that teach the audience worthwhile lessons. Plus, I think it’s a fun read especially for young boys because of the characters and subject. I think it could get boys especially excited about reading.
Holes by Louis Sachar follows the story of Stanley Yelnats, a boy falsely accused of stealing famous shoes who attends Camp Green Lake as punishment for his crimes. Goodreads summarizes, “Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.”
“‘If only, if only,’ the woodpecker sighs,
‘The bark on the tree was as soft as the skies.
While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely,
Crying to the moo-oo-oon,
If only, If only.'”
“Nothing in life is easy. But that’s no reason to give up. you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it.”
“A lot of people don’t believe in curses.
A lot of people don’t believe in yellow-spotted lizards either, but if one bites you, it doesn’t make a difference whether you believe in it or not.”
Holes by Louis Sachar
This book is so fun because of the clever and engaging plot. The storytelling is simple and exciting. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the story and want to keep reading to find out what happens next. There are several pieces coming together as the novel progresses and it’s fun to connect the dots. But not too complicated for kids to follow. I enjoyed the interwoven stories of Stanley, his great great grandfather, and the town of Green Lake, Texas. At first, it’s hard to see how they will come together. But the climax and the ultimate connections are really neat!
The characters are all unique and memorable. Stanley is such a relatable protagonist. Haven’t we all felt like we didn’t belong? Had to learn how to defend ourselves against bullies of many kinds? The connection between true friends? The joy when truth is revealed? The pull of destiny? I also enjoyed Zero because he was so mysterious, but also kind and loyal. I enjoyed X-ray and Armpit’s witty banter and humor. Twitch makes me laugh because he’s a kid who enjoys stealing cars for fun. And Mr Pendanski just tries so hard but is so blind. He’s funny. Probably my favorite character besides Stanley and Zero was Sam! Oh how I love that simple, kind man who was just trying to help other people out. Such a sad story for such a good person.
I was surprised by how mature this book is at times. Some more mature topics like racism, juvenile crime, and child abandonment are discussed. Stanley goes to Camp Green Lake as a punishment for breaking the law. The climax with Sam’s fate is particularly dark. But it is also compelling and moving. The storytelling and simplicity makes this book worth reading for a younger audience. Potentially kids younger than 8-10 would be more scared than engaged with the story and the depth of themes. For me, these darker themes made the book that much more engaging and more impressive. I appreciated the way Sachar discusses hard topics within his more lighthearted story.
I really enjoyed this Newbery winning novel about friendship, building character, and discovering your destiny. Definitely a book worth reading–regardless of your age.
What are some of your favorite Newbery books?
Which should I read next?
This is my 11th Newbery Medal book finished as part of my Newbery Challenge
to read all 100 Newbery Medal winners by the end of 2022,
the year the 100th winner is announced!