Holes by Louis Sachar: A

From the back cover:
Stanley Yelnats isn’t so surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a juvenile detention center. After all, his family has been plagued with bad luck ever since a one-legged gypsy put a curse on his great-great grandfather. He is told that the hard labor he must perform—digging 5 foot holes in the dried up soil where Green Lake once sat—is meant to build character. But it soon becomes clear to Stanley that the warden is really using the boys to search for something very valuable. The story of the hidden treasure, along with the warden, Stanley’s friend Zero, and the curse on the Yelnats family are all part of a compelling puzzle that has taken generations to unravel.

Harry Potter aside, this was the best children’s fiction I’d read in a long time. I really didn’t know what to expect going into it, but reckoned some sort of adventure would ensue. And ensue it does, but there’s also a multi-layered, cleverly-plotted story that manages to be both touching and surprising. Plus, Sachar manages to condemn racism without being preachy about it.

The fact that the story wasn’t predictable was a big plus. I was actually genuinely surprised on several occasions, and also had a few “ohhhhh” moments when things were explained after the fact (like why some carnivorous lizards didn’t seem to find Stanley and Zero too appetizing). And though one kind of does expect Stanley to break the family curse, the way that he manages to do it makes such perfect narrative sense that it doesn’t seem lame.

There’s a sequel to Holes that focuses on another of the boys from the camp. I find that I am relieved that it leaves Stanley and Zero’s story alone, since it ended in such a satisfactory place that to return there could only muck things up.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. […] Haunted was a bit of a disappointment after the previous installment, Darkest Hour, was so good. Not a lot happens, really. Paul shows up at Suze’s school and throws her into […]

  2. […] plot threads that wind up stitching together in a way that’s both surprising and perfect. Holes by Louis Sachar is the best example of this that I can think of, but Zita the Spacegirl does an […]

Speak Your Mind