Overweight and unlucky Stanley Yelnats IV is on his way to a juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't even commit! As always, Stanley blames his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather" who placed a curse on the family generations ago in their homeland of Latvia. Mr. Sir, a cantankerous camp counselor, promises life at Camp Green Lake is no Girl Scout camp and he is true to his word. Despite the name, Camp Green Lake is situated in a dry and inhospitable desert with no moisture for miles around. The campers are forced to do only one activity from morning to night: dig holes. Supposedly the task is set to build character. The reader may find that hard to believe as the book delves into the tale of Kissin' Kate Barlow, an outlaw from the 1800s who's buried treasure has yet to be discovered. None of this matters to Stanley when he arrives, he simply wants to make it through his sixteen month sentence. It matters much more when Stanley secretly uncovers the mystery of the treasure while he and his friend, Zero, fight for survival in the desert.
Holes ingeniously intertwines three stories. In addition to the story of Stanley and Kissin' Kate Barlow readers learn the secret of the Yelnats family curse from the story of Elya Yelnats, the"no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather". This book provides a splendid mixture of irony, humor, adventure, and wisdom that is sure to appeal to readers of varied ages and interests. I would recommend this book for readers 10 and over. It will especially appeal to people who enjoyed The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, or Freak the Mighty by Rodman R. Philbrick. I would also heartily recommend seeing the movie after reading the book. Very few movies stay true to the content and mood of the books they're based on, but Holes is definitely an exception. With summer camp just around the corner, kids are sure to enjoy Holes. Stanley's adventures at Camp Green Lake are sure to make readers truly appreciate their own camp experiences!
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