I have been wanting to read Holes for ages (it was first published in the US in 1998) so when I stumbled upon it in the library I leapt at the chance.
“Stanley Yelnats’ family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn’t green and doesn’t have a lake) he is not surprised. Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. The evil warden claims that it is character building, but this is a lie and Stanley must dig up the truth.”
More layers than your grandma’s trifle
How brilliant is this book?!?!? I’m genuinely thinking it is a contender for Read Of The Year. It’s been a long, long time since I read a book that just fitted together so perfectly. It’s multi layered (like an onion) yet each layer adds to the story in ways you don’t necessarily first notice. The connection between the past and the present was outstanding. Let’s not forget that this is supposedly a YA novel!
I loved the way Sachar didn’t sugar coat the book. Stuck in the middle of nowhere at a correction camp, there was no mistaking that we were dealing with troubled children: “This was where they relaxed yet they wrecked it.”
I loved main protagonist Stanley, however my favourite character was Zero. Brilliant choosing of name by Sachar! Zero – worth nothing. No matter how many times you multiply zero, no matter how many chances you give the boy, it always results in nothing. More than once did I fear for Stanley and I was genuinely tense whilst reading. Time and time again Sachar built the tension – the atmosphere between the boys in camp, the desert, the lizards!
So much more than digging holes
Whilst being easy to read, I do recommend Holes for slightly older children. There needs to be a deeper understanding of it, rather than just thinking it’s a book about digging holes. I can certainly understand the reasoning behind classing it as a Young Adult novel as opposed to a Middle Grade. Very American of me, I know!
It was a genuinely interesting story, tense, never boring and totally fascinating to unravel. I strongly recommend every teen, and every adult read it immediately! With YA’s as good as this, who needs adult fiction!
Could have been 50 Shades of Grey
As mentioned above, I borrowed the book from my local library. I initially tried to use my daughter’s library card as it was first one to hand. However I was swiftly informed she couldn’t borrow it as Holes was for over 13s only. I sheepishly told them it was me that actually wanted to read it as I handed over my library card. I’m not sure whether they believed me but at least it wasn’t 50 Shades of Grey!