'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Review: Holes

This is one fantastic story! Although first published nineteen years ago, this Newberry award winning novel is still as fresh and relevant today as it was when it made its debut. 

The story opens with Stanley Yelnats being taken to a juvenile detention centre. Yes, our hero is a convicted felon and will spend his sentence at the appealing sounding Camp Green Lake.

Except- there’s no lake. And it’s populated by poisonous critters and scary inmates. And an even scarier warden who forces the children to do strenuous labour.

It’s all a part of Stanley’s history of bad luck. He was convicted of stealing a pair of celebrity sneakers from a charity auction. Nobody believed his story that they just fell from the sky.

His family blame all their numerous misfortunes on his cursed great-great-great grandfather, and Stanley sees this incident as a part of the pattern.

And this is the crux of the story. As long as Stanley sees himself the victim, there are no changes. But when Stanley takes some ownership of his life and stands up for someone, he takes a huge risk and this sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events. 

Overall, this is about not accepting fate or destiny. This is a story about what happens when a person stops making excuses for themselves and takes an active role in their own destiny. And it’s beautifully tied up in a story of breaking generations-old family curses and avenging a very old wrong.

Although aimed at a junior readership, this novel’s audience is much broader and will be appreciated over a much wider age range. Truly a masterpiece.

Title: Holes
Author: Louis Sachar 
Publisher: Scholastic, $15.95
Publication Date: 9 May, 2000
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780440414803
For ages: 8 – 12 
Type: Middle Fiction