May 15, 2022 04:54 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During April, I read four full-length novels, two short stories, and one children’s book. All of them rated four stars or higher, but aside from one of the short stories, which is already available for free, the only one that received the full five-stars from me to be featured here was the children’s book. It’s a middle-grade, mystery, adventure story about Stanley Yelnats who believes that his family is cursed because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Whether they’re actually cursed is up for debate, but they’ve certainly had a run of bad luck, the most recent of which is Stanley being falsely accused of stealing a valuable pair of sneakers. The judge gives him the choice of going to jail or going to Camp Green Lake, a boy’s reform camp. Stanley chooses the camp, thinking it will be the better of the two options, but at camp he quickly discovers that every day each boy is required to dig a hole that is exactly five feet in diameter and five feet deep. The people who run the camp say it builds character, but when he finds a small gold tube, he quickly realizes that the Warden and her cronies are actually looking for something, probably something valuable. Along the way, Stanley also makes friends with a loner nicknamed Zero, whom he teaches how to read. The two boys help each other out, and eventually through a series of misadventures, they finally discover exactly what the Warden is up to.
Stanley’s family may be cursed but they’re genuinely good people if a bit eccentric. His mom is encouraging, always insisting the curse is just a myth, while his dad is something of a mad scientist, always trying to invent one thing or another. His latest idea is finding a way to recycle old sneakers. So when a pair of shoes falls from the sky, hitting Stanley on the head, he decides to take them home to his dad. Little did he know, though, that the shoes actually belonged to a famous baseball player and that they were going to be auctioned off to benefit a homeless shelter. Of course, the authorities don’t believe Stanley’s story, which is how he finds himself in hot water and doing time at Camp Green Lake. Stanley is a really good kid, though. In spite of initially being slower than all the other boys, he manages to dig his hole every day without complaint, even though it’s hard work in the hot Texas desert. He writes a letter to his mom every week, mostly telling her stories about his time “at camp” so she won’t worry about him. He also tries to be nice to the other boys, eventually befriending Zero, the kid no one else seems to care much about. Zero can’t read but wants to learn, so they make a deal for Stanley to teach him. Eventually they become the best of friends. I think that Stanley exhibited courage and bravery in a number of different circumstances, which showed the kind of person he really is.
This book is the winner of the Newberry Medal, the National Book Award, and many other accolades, and it also caught the attention of my reluctant reader son when he was around middle-school age. Since it’s not aimed at adults, there’s a certain simplicity in the writing, but at the same time, it tells a fairly complex story that should keep kids on their toes. I enjoyed some of the flashbacks to the past, as we get to learn about Stanley’s family history. Initially it only seems to be filling in the blanks on how the Yelnats family became cursed, but eventually everything comes full circle, connecting to the events of the present. Overall, it’s a cleverly written and really fun story. That’s why I’m naming Louis Sachar’s Holes as my April Book of the Month. If you enjoy a story full of adventure, mystery, the bonds of friendship, and a little dark humor, then you should definitely give this book a try. I hope that you have a son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, or other child in your life to share it with, but in case you don’t, I realize this may not be to everyone’s reading taste. That’s why I’m sweetening the deal by also including a $5 Amazon gift card as a nice grownup compliment to this story. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
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 Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
Read my complete review of Holes.
If you would like to win a copy of Holes to see how wonderful it is for yourself, just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. One lucky winner will receive their choice of an eBook or print copy of the book, along with a $5 Amazon gift card. If the winner chooses an eBook, I will gift it to them via the eBook retailer of their choice (Amazon or B & N). If the winner chooses a print copy, I will have it mailed directly to them via Amazon. Good luck!
International Entrants: You are welcome to enter my contest, but please note that not all eBooks are available in all countries due to copyright restrictions. If this is the case, Amazon offers an option to trade for a gift card (I'm not sure about B & N). If you choose print, I can mail it to you via the Amazon website that services your country, pending availability and cost. Otherwise I will mail it to you via U. S. Amazon's standard international shipping, but it may take up to 6-8 weeks to arrive, and I may not have the capability of tracking the package. Also please note that the gift card will be issued from Amazon.com (the US site), as I am unable to purchase one on any international Amazon sites. It’s my understanding, however, that the card can only be used to purchase items on Amazon.com, and not any other Amazon sites. So please be aware of this limitation before entering.
Tags: Louis Sachar