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Holes (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Holes (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.6 1930
by Louis Sachar

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Check out the Holes tour with Louis Sachar!
Monday, October 20th, 7:00 p.m. Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL Tuesday, October 21st, 7:00 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Skokie, IL Wednesday, October 22nd, 7:00 p.m., Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Brookfield, WI Thursday, October 23rd, 7:00 p.m., Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN


Check out the Holes tour with Louis Sachar!
Monday, October 20th, 7:00 p.m. Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL Tuesday, October 21st, 7:00 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Skokie, IL Wednesday, October 22nd, 7:00 p.m., Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Brookfield, WI Thursday, October 23rd, 7:00 p.m., Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN Friday, October 24th, 7:00 p.m. Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata, MN Monday, October 27th, 7:00 p.m., Tattered Cover Bookstore, Highlands Ranch, CO Tuesday, October 28th, 7:00 p.m., Borders, Aurora, CO

Stanley Yelnats tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment–and redemption.

Editorial Reviews

Parents Choice
Louis Sachar has the ability to see the underside of life from a humorous angle.
Imaginative plotting and memorable charcters make this novel a winner.
This Newbery Medal winner also swept the other awards as well: National Book Award; an ALA Best Book for YAs; New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year, and more. Here it is now in paperback. As most of you know by now, it is an unusual story that works like a puzzle slowly coming together, each piece more outlandish than the next. Stanley, the main character, is an overweight boy with no friends—like all the other Stanley Yelnats for several generations, he is cursed. In a terrible miscarriage of justice, he is sent to a detention center for delinquent youth, where boys are expected to dig holes all day long (hence the title). How all this is resolved—the family curse, the holes and more—is the stuff of the sometimes-hilarious story. In my opinion, Holes is an excellent children's book, and I have a harder time seeing it as a YA choice; perhaps that is because the lines between children's literature and YA literature are frequently blurry these days. Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 1998, Reviewer: Claire Rosser; July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Because of a curse placed on his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather, Stanley Yelnats finds himself at Camp Green Lake, a residence for juvenile offenders. Overweight and unlucky, Stanley tries to do his best to fit in and to excel at the camp's one activity: digging holes. Yes, holes. Holes precisely five feet deep by five feet wide all across the godforsaken desert landscape of a dried-out Texas lake. How holes become Stanley's salvation is the meat of this quirky, brink-of surreal story that believably floats between past lives and present realities. Sachar's earlier Wayside School stories always had a Pinkwaterish edge to them, but in Holes he comes fully, brilliantly into his own voice. This is a can't-put-it-down read.
VOYA - Mary Ann Capan
Stanley Yelnats, an underprivileged teen, is wrongly convicted of stealing. Faced with the choice between going to jail or attending Camp Green Lake, Stanley eagerly chooses the camp (something he has never experienced before). When he arrives, Stanley discovers that this juvenile detention center is neither green nor wet-it is in the middle of a desert. The center becomes Stanley's temporary home where he and others live under the most primitive conditions. Seven days a week, each detainee must dig a hole in the dried-up lake bed, five feet wide and five feet deep. According to the warden this builds character, but as the story unfolds, Stanley learns that they are not just digging to find themselves. When one of the boys runs away, Stanley goes after him. At the same time, this fast-paced book also tells the story of Stanley's family from generations ago. By the end, the reader comes to understand how the two stories are intertwined and ultimately resolved because of Stanley's courage and selflessness. This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking, with a bit of a folklore thrown in for good measure. Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal,
School Library Journal
Stanley Yelnats is an unusual hero-dogged by bad luck stemming from an ancient family curse, overweight, and unlikely to stick up for himself when challenged by the class bully. Perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time, Stanley is unfairly sentenced to months of detention at Camp Green Lake (a gross misnomer if ever there was one!) where he's forced to dig one hole in the rock-hard desert soil every day. The hole must be exactly five feet in diameter, the distance from the tip of his shovel to the top of the wooden handle. Each boy is compelled to dig until his hole is completed, no matter how long it takes. According to the warden the digging "builds character." Stanley soon begins to question why the warden is so interested in anything "special" the boys find. How Stanley rescues his friend Zero, who really stole Sweet Feet's tennis shoes, what the warden is desperately looking for, and how the Yelnats curse is broken all blend magically together in a unique coming of age story leavened with a healthy dose of humor. Kerry Beyer's narration of Louis Sachar's Newbery Award-winning novel brings each of the characters vividly to life, and his pensive portrayal of Stanley brings out all that's most appealing about this unlucky loser who becomes a winner by the story's end. A first purchase for all public library collections.-Cindy Lombardo, Orrville Public Library, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Betsy Hearne
. . .[F]unny. Sachar inserts humor that gives the suspense steep edges. . . .nothing is quite what it seems in this wildly inventive novel.
The New York Times Book Review
Horn Book
Many years ago I heard a long-very long-shaggy dog story involving a couple of grumpy people, a plane, a train, a brick, a dog, and a cigar. It must have gone on for 45 minutes or so, involved several false starts and stops and intense manipulation of the listener, but it was worth it.

Louis Sachar has written an exceptionally funny, and heart-rending, shaggy dog story of his own. With its breadth and ambition, Holes may surprise a lot of Sachar fans, but it shouldn't. With his Wayside School stories and-this reviewer's favorite -- the Marvin Redpost books, Sachar has shown himself a writer of humor and heart, with an instinctive aversion to the expected. Holes is filled with twists in the lane, moments when the action is happily going along only to turn toward somewhere else that you gradually, eventually, sometimes on the last page, realize was the truest destination all along.

The book begins, "There is no lake at Camp Green Lake," and we are immediately led into the mystery at the core of the story: "There once was a very large lake here, the largest lake in Texas." We soon learn that there is no camp here either, not really, only a boys' detention facility to which our hero, Stanley Yelnats, is headed. Stanley has been convicted of stealing a pair of shoes donated by baseball great Clyde Livingston to a celebrity auction. The fact that Stanley didn't steal the shoes, that indeed they fell from the sky onto his head, is disbelieved by the judge, and even deemed immaterial by Stanley, who blames the whole misadventure on his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!" -- a favorite family mantra. And as the book goes on to show, with great finesse and a virtuoso's display of circularity in action, Stanley is right. His destiny is as palindromic as his name.

We soon learn about that pig-stealing great-great-grandfather and the curse that has haunted Stanley's family, even though the hapless elder Yelnats, like Stanley, didn't steal anything, and the curse is more of an ordination, a casting of the die. Stanley's great-grandfather found his place in the pattern when he encountered Kissing Kate Barlow, nee Miss Katherine Barlow, who became a ruthless outlaw of the Wild West when her love for Sam, the Onion Man, became cause for small-town opprobrium-and murder. Miss Barlow's recipe for spiced peaches also plays a large part in the story. Heck, it all plays a large part in the story. Those peaches show up more than a century after they were canned, and their efficacy remains unchallenged. Just like Sam's onions. Just like the lullaby, sung, with telling variations, by the Yelnats clan:

"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."

As for the title: when Stanley gets to Camp Green Lake, he discovers that every day each boy, each inmate, must dig a hole five feet by five feet by five feet. (Why? Too bad you can't ask Kissing Kate Barlow.) Stanley makes a friend, Zero (nicknamed thus because this is exactly what the world finds him to be), with whom he eventually escapes the camp. These boys have a date with destiny and, trust me, it has everything to do with the pig, Kissing Kate, the lullaby, the peaches, the onions...even the sneakers. Sachar is masterful at bringing his realistic story and tall-tale motifs together, using a simple declarative style -- Stanley Yelnats was given a choice. The judge said, "You may go to jail, or you may go to Camp Green Lake." Stanley was from a poor family. He had never been to camp before. -- that is all the more poignant, and funny, for its understatement, its willingness to stay out of the way. We haven't seen a book with this much plot, so suspensefully and expertly deployed, in too long a time. And the ending will make you cheer -- for the happiness the Yelnats family finally finds -- and cry, for the knowledge of how they lost so much for so long, all in the words of a lullaby. Louis Sachar has long been a great and deserved favorite among children, despite the benign neglect of critics. But Holes is witness to its own theme: what goes around, comes around. Eventually.

Kirkus Reviews
Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger). Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from.

Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles. Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure.

Product Details

Turtleback Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, by the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom.

Stanley Yelnats'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.

Meet the Author

Louis Sachar's popular books include There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom and Dogs Don't Tell Jokes.

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Holes 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1930 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read. Trust me, YOU WON' T WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. You won't regret buying it.
rissyraye More than 1 year ago
"Holes" is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats who was arrested and sent to Camp Green Lake, a camp for bad boys who committed crimes, after being accused of stealing a pair of shoes from an orphanage. Stanley's family believes that their bad luck is because of Stanley's no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather, who stole a pig from a one-legged Gypsy, and she put a spell on him and his family that would cause them bad luck. Stanley is caught with shoes that were stolen from an orphanage and is arrested and given the choice of going to jail or Camp Green Lake. Stanley chose the camp. In this camp, the bad boys have to dig seven holes, five feet deep, everyday. While at camp, Stanley meets Armpit, a big boy who doesn't bathe, X-Ray, a boy who says that he can see inside people, Zero, a very quiet boy who doesn't talk to anyone, and many others. Stanley learns the legend about Kissin' Kate Barlow, a woman who kisses each man that she kills, and about the treasure that is buried somewhere in the lake. Stanley and his new friend Zero make their way to "God's Thumb", a large mountain shaped as a thumb and soon learn the truth about the camp. I recommend this book to anyone who loves adventure and surprise endings. This book is exciting and fun that will make you want to read it again and again. I really loved this book. It was a great adventure to read. I give this book 4 stars because it was exciting and great to read!
Catmac More than 1 year ago
If you are, you would be at Camp Green Lake with Stanley, Zero, Armpit, Magnet, Mr.Pendanski and Mr.Sir. All the boys at camp are forced to dig five feet deep holes in the heat of Texas! This is supposed to improve how you choose to act instead of acting in a terrible way. These boys have to survive digging seven holes, five feet deep, each and everyday! Go into the past with all these boys. Stanley is a boy that is sent to Camp Green Lake for a reason that he does not know. Zero is a little boy who does not know how to read or write. Mr.Sir and Mr.Pendaski are the owners of the camp, along with the Warden. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves adventure. I am like Stanley because we both love adventure. When Mr.Sir was hurt, it reminded of the time when Megan fell down off a mountain, I felt scared. When I heard the ending, I wanted to reread the book. This is a page turning story with adventures waiting on every page!¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very intriging book. It is one of my favorite books of all time. Whoever reads it will definitly love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was a hot fugde sundae on a sunny summer day. It was fantastic. Lol. One of my favorite reads ever!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Holes, by Louis Sachar , is a excellent book. It makes me want to read it over and over again. My opinion about the book Holes is that Louis Sachar wrote the book very well so the sentences flow very smoothly and it always leaves you in suspense and wanting more also leaves you on the edge of your seat.
This book takes place at camp green lake in the middle of a dusty desert. The major conflict in the story is that the camp councilors treat them horribly and the warden makes them dig holes in order to find the treasure of green. One major plot detail is after Stanley is sent to camp he is treated like dirt by all the kids there. Also the conditions the kids work in is blazing heat and barley any water. This book is written in the narrative point of view. He uses very vivid adjectives and all of the sentences flow smoothly.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a great fiction book. You will have a great sense of satisfaction when you are done reading. Go out and read to find out the end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. I have read it many rimes and i have another book from Louis Sachar. It is called Small Steps annd i hope it is as good as Holes. I also love the movie of Holes. I will definitly watch the movie and read the book again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this a lot it is so exciting to read it just grabs your atention and u never want to stop readin also if u liked this book u should try out the sexond book small steps and let me warn u the ending was so good i thought dhe could keep going but no so i hope a 3book comes out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so amazing and inpirering i cried at the end it was so good!!!!!!!!!+!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title of this book is Holes. It is the story of a boy who had to go to a camp because the police thought he stole an important pair of shoes. The book tells about days in his life and the author probably wrote this story for everyone to read. When you make new friends you usually stay good friends. You stick with each other and never leave each other behind and you help each other out. The author wrote this to entertain us but also to teach us never to steal. The time period of the book is the present day. While you are reading this book they will take you back to his great grandpa. The story was at Camp Green Lake in Texas. The book is mostly to make us laugh and enjoy the book. The words in the book like Texas words made me laugh and some of the characters were funny. I would rate this book five stars. It was really good and I would read it over and over again. This book has a little bit of a twist to it. It is like a mystery. You have to piece puzzle pieces together to get the book. That was the fun of it. The most important thing about this book is the policemen thinking the boy stole the shoes, having to go to Camp Green Lake, and the friends he made. One of my favorite quotes is ¿There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.¿ It¿s funny because he expected a whole different thing, but when he gets there its just dust. Another quote was, ¿ It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great ¿grandfather!¿ This was important to the story because the family was under a curse because of their no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great- great ¿grandfather! When you make friends you stick with each other, help each other no matter what. This book is about helping each other and sometimes having a good adventure. I would advise you to get this book and read it because there might be a surprise at the end If you want to laugh and smile you should get the book Holes. This book is right for you. It also has mysteries and might be surprised to see what happens at the end.
Deb-chan More than 1 year ago
If you've ever met or read about someone who always has bad luck, if you haven't then you don't know about Stanley Yelnats whose whole family is under a curse. A curse that his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great great-grandfather began. In Holes by Louis Sachar and published by Yearling in 1998, Stanley gets convicted of a crime of stealing a pair of owned by the famous ballplayer, Clyde Livingston, and then gets sent to Camp Green Lake, a place for delinquent teen boys. Once there he must dig holes, something that is supposed to promote good behavior, but is really a search of the legendary treasure of the outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. While at camp Stanley befriends many of the camp's other inhabitants, one such delinquent being a young boy nicknamed Zero. He makes a deal with Zero. He'll teach Zero how to read if Zero digs his holes for him. This deal seals their friendship and leads them on a journey that will enable them both to hopefully gain better luck. The entire story is filled with distinctive characters and has an imaginative plot. Sachar has woven together two intertwining stories and highlights the difficulties of two unfortunate boys in a tale that brings the characters to life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wm a ten year old girl and I never stoped reading it. My mom would yell at me because it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo good if u r my age and what to read a really cool book then pick this book I dare u
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very suspenseful. We read a few chapters a night and it was hard to put the book down. We especially liked how everything connected in the end and how Stanley and Zero helped each other out again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher in my class is reading this book and it's ASWAM!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book!!!!!!!!!!: )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stanley is sent to camp green lake for some thing he didnt do at the camp they have to dig holes 5feet deep/wide they say it builds "character " i wont give away to much so the summarry stops here this is an ar book level:4.6 points:7.0 the quiz # may not be the same so i dont want to feed you bad information i hope you found this reveiw helpful bye!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down! Really good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read the whole thing, but so far I couldn't get my hands off this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i've read
Trenton Ladler More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story that i will always remember
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put the book down it had so much details i loved this book got to read small steps( the second book)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the structure of the book. Iti, is very, very good. I hope he writes mire of the kinds of books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago