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Holes

Sachar, Louis (INSCRIBED)

772,747 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374332657 / ISBN 13: 9780374332655
Published by Francis Foster Books/Farrar Straus & Giroux 39th printing, NY, 1998
Hardcover
From Barbarossa Books Ltd. (IOBA) (Bainbridge Island, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

INSCRIBED BY AUTHOR, 233 p., small 8vo, JOHN NEWBERRY MEDAL WINNING BOOK; Near Fine/Near Fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 58243

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Holes

Publisher: Francis Foster Books/Farrar Straus & Giroux 39th printing, NY

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title

Synopsis:

A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment

Stanley Yelnat's family has a history of bad luck, so he isn't too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys' juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake - it has been dry for over a hundred years - and it's hardly a camp. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin' Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley's great-great-grandfather by a one-legged gypsy, weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters - and their forebears - for generations.

With this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has written his best book to date. Holes is a 1998 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the 1999 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 1999 Newbery Medal.

Review:

"If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy." Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be "the largest lake in Texas" is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!" Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine: rising before dawn to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter; learning how to get along with the Lord of the Flies-styled pack of boys in Group D; and fearing the warden, who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character--that in fact the warden is seeking something specific--the plot gets as thick as the irony.

It's a strange story, but strangely compelling and lovely too. Louis Sachar uses poker-faced understatement to create a bizarre but believable landscape--a place where Major Major Major Major of Catch-22 would feel right at home. But while there is humor and absurdity here, there is also a deep understanding of friendship and a searing compassion for society's underdogs. As Stanley unknowingly begins to fulfill his destiny--the dual plots coming together to reveal that fate has big plans in store--we can't help but cheer for the good guys, and all the Yelnats everywhere. (Ages 10 and older) --Brangien Davis

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