Book review: Holes

Louis SacharThis book by Louis Sachar has been sitting on my shelf forever but I picked it up this week when I exhausted my Kindle’s battery. How lovely to hold an actual book again. I know this is a book for tweens, but I’d heard such good things about it that I wanted to see for myself. I loved the premise: that Stanley is wrongly found guilty of stealing a pair of trainers and is sent to a juvenile correction camp where the punishment is to dig a hole a day. Five feet deep and five feet wide. Every day. It is supposed to be character-building, but Stanley thinks there is another agenda.

“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. There once was a very large lake here, the largest lake in Texas. That was over a hundred years ago. Now it is just a dry, flat wasteland.”

It is a story about finding out who you are, standing up to bullies and finding your bravery.

“Out on the lake, rattlesnakes and scorpions find shade under rocks and in the holes dug by the campers.”

Woven in with the day-to-day tale of hole-digging is the background to Stanley’s unlucky family; unluckiness blamed on his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley is a kind of every-boy, who helps a boy worse off than himself and ends up challenging the system.  And Sachar ties up the loose-ends brilliantly.

Not just for kids.

Click here to hear Louis Sachar talk about the book and how he chose the characters’ names.
Click here to watch the movie trailer, starring Shia LaBeouf as Stanley.

If you like ‘Holes’, try these tales of troubled teens:-
‘The Cardturner’ by Louis Sachar
‘Insurgent’ by Veronica Roth
‘The Mysterious Beach Hut’ by Jacky Atkins

‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar [UK: Bloomsbury] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
HOLES by Louis Sachar #bookreview via @SandraDanby


      • Glad to recommend. Although I know tastes differ! Here are the ones I read and enjoyed last year, mainly sci-fi related, as part of my university YA assignment:

        The Chaos Walking trilogy (starting with The Knife of Never Letting Go) by Patrick Ness.
        Breathe (and its sequel, Resist) by Sarah Crossan
        Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner
        Half Bad (and its sequel, Half Wild) by Sally Green
        Blood Red Road, by Moira Young

        And not sci-fi:
        Apache, by Tanya Landman
        The Bunker Diary, by Kevin Brooks (which gave me terrible nightmares!)

        and of course I’m sure you’ve read the excellent Hunger Games trilogy.

        • sandradan1

          Chaos Walking is on my shelf, as recommended by my husband! Haven’t heard of any of the others [exc. HG], so will check them out. Thx! SD

  1. Glad you picket it up! 🙂 Holes was a book I read sometimes as “have-to read at school book” but I really enjoyed it. I think this book also had some independent follow-up.

  2. I read this quite a few years ago now and really enjoyed it. Know what you mean about the Kindle – most of the books I’ve read recently have been in that format, but just read two in a row that were actual books and the experience is so much better.

    • I have this bad habit of reading until my Kindle is flat, I think it’s because I can’t see the battery status symbol when a page is open. Appeal to whoever makes Kindle, please change this in your next model! I have the Paperwhite which is excellent. SD

  3. Hello Sandra, it’s Daisy form number eight.
    I have just nominated Holes as book of the month in my class book corner. I’m glad you enjoyed it too. If you like his books then I strongly recommend Card Turner. Just let me know if you want to borrow it.

  4. I’m glad you decided to review what’s generally considered to be a kid’s book, because Holes is wonderful, clever fun. The characters are memorable, especially young Stanley Yelnats, the resourceful hero of the story, and Zero, who can’t read. This is a fun story to read aloud to kids and one they will re-read to themselves.

    • Thx Shari. I loved reading as a child/teenager and so am always pleased to find a book like Holes. And I’m not at all snobby about reading kids/teen/YA books, I am still a child at heart and love a good story! SD

  5. It sounds like a great story, and I agree with you about the kindle. They are great, of course, but holding a book and being able to flick through quickly to favourite passages and that kind of thing. Ah, well, I’d better get back to the day- dreaming