#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER
Dig deep in this award-winning, modern classic that will remind readers that adventure is right around the corner–or just under your feet!
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
“A smart jigsaw puzzle of a novel.” —New York Times
*Includes a double bonus: an excerpt from Small Steps, the follow-up to Holes, as well as an excerpt from the New York Times bestseller Fuzzy Mud.
Winner of the Newbery Medal
Winner of the National Book Award
#1 New York Times Bestseller
A New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books 100 Years Selection
“A dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“There is no question, kids will love Holes.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“[A] rugged, engrossing adventure.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking.” —VOYA
“[Sachar] comes fully, brilliantly into his own voice. This is a can’t-put-it-down read.” —The Bulletin
From the Inside Flap
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment?and redemption. –This text refers to the mass_market edition.
About the Author
Louis Sachar is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Holes, which won the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Christopher Award, as well as Stanley Yelnats’ Survival to Camp Green Lake; Small Steps, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award; and The Cardturner, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award recipient, and an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book. His books for younger readers include There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, The Boy Who Lost His Face, Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series, among many others.
–This text refers to the mass_market edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Stanley Yelnats was the only passenger on the bus, not counting the driver or the guard. The guard sat next to the driver with his seat turned around facing Stanley. A rifle lay across his lap.
Stanley was sitting about ten rows back, handcuffed to his armrest. His backpack lay on the seat next to him. It contained his toothbrush, toothpaste, and a box of stationary his mother had given him. He’d promised to write to her at least once a week.
He looked out the window, although there wasn’t much to see—mostly fields of hay and cotton. He was on a long bus ride to nowhere. The bus wasn’t air-conditioned, and the hot heavy air was almost as stifling as the handcuffs.
Stanley and his parents had tried to pretend that he was just going away to camp for a while, just like rich kids do. When Stanley was younger he used to play with stuffed animals, and pretend the animals were at camp. Camp Fun and Games he called it. Sometimes he’d have them play soccer with a marble. Other times they’d run an obstacle course, or go bungee jumping off a table, tied to broken rubber bands. Now Stanley tried to pretend he was going to Camp Fun and Games. Maybe he’ d make some friends, he thought. At least he’d get to swim in the lake.
He didn’ t have any friends at home. He was overweight and the kids at his middle school often teased him about his size. Even his teachers sometimes made cruel comments without realizing it. On his last day of school, his math teacher, Mrs. Bell, taught ratios. As an example, she chose the heaviest kid in the class and the lightest kid in the class, and had them weigh themselves. Stanley weighed three times as much as the other boy. Mrs. Bell wrote the ratio on the board, 3:1, unaware of how much embarrassment she had caused both of them.
Stanley was arrested later that day.
He looked at the guard who sat slumped in his seat and wondered of he had fallen asleep. The guard was wearing sunglasses, so Stanley couldn’t see his eyes.
Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!
He smiled. It was a family joke. Whenever anything went wrong, they always blamed Stanley’s no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!
Supposedly, he had a great-great-grandfather who had stolen a pig from one-legged Gypsy, and she put a curse on him and all his descendants. Stanley and his parents didn’t believe in curses, of course, but whenever anything went wrong, it felt good to be able to blame someone.
Things went wrong a lot. They always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He looked out the window at the vast emptiness. He watched the rise and fall of a telephone wire. In his mind he could hear his father’s gruff voice softly singing to him.
“If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs,
“The bark on the tree was just a little bit softer.”
“While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely,
He cries to the moo–oo–oon,
“If only, if only.”
It was a song his father used to sing to him. The melody was sweet and sad, but Stanley’s favorite part was when his father would howl the word “moon”.
The bus hit a small bump and the guard sat up, instantly alert.
Stanley’s father was an inventor. To be a successful inventor you need three things: intelligence, perseverance, and just a little bit of luck.
Stanley’s father was smart and had a lot of perseverance. Once he started a project he would work on it for years, often going days without sleep. He just never had any luck.
Every time an experiment failed, Stanley could hear him cursing his dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.
Stanley’s father was also named Stanley Yelnats. Stanley’s father’s full name was Stanley Yelnats III. Our Stanley is Stanley Yelnats IV.
Everyone in his family had always liked the fact that “Stanley Yelnats” was spelled the same frontward and backward. So they kept naming their sons Stanley. Stanley was an only child, as was every other Stanley Yelnats before him.
All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they always remained hopeful. As Stanley’s father liked to say, “ I learned from failure.”
But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his father weren’t always hopeful, then it wouldn’t hurt so much every time their hopes were crushed.
“Not every Stanley Yelnats has been a failure,” Stanley’s mother often pointed out, whenever Stanley or his father became so discouraged that they actually started to believe in the curse. The first Stanley Yelnats, Stanley’ s great-grandfather, had made a fortune in the stock market. “He couldn’t have been too unlucky.”
At such times she neglected to mention the bad luck that befell the first Stanley Yelnats. He lost his entire fortune when he was moving from New York to California. His stagecoach was robbed by the outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow.
If it weren’t for that, Stanley’s family would now be living in a mansion on a beach in California. Instead, they were crammed in a tiny apartment that smelled of burning rubber and foot odor.
“If only, if only….
The apartment smelled the way it did because Stanley’s father was trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers. “The first person who finds a use for old sneakers, “ he said, “will be a very rich man.”
It was this lastest project that led to Stanley’s arrest.
The bus ride became increasingly bumpy because the road was no longer paved.
Actually, Stanley had been impressed when he first found out that is great-grandfather was robbed by Kissin’ Kate Barlow. True, he would have preferred living on the beach in California, but it was still kind of cool to have someone in your family robbed by a famous outlaw.
Kate Barlow didn’t actually kiss Stanley’s great-grandfather. That would have been really cool, but she only kissed the men she killed. Instead, she robbed him and left him stranded in the middle of the desert.
“He was lucky to have survived,” Stanley’s mother was quick to point out.
The bus was slowing down. The guard grunted as he stretched out his arms.
“Welcome Camp Green Lake,” said the driver.
Stanley looked out the dirty window. He couldn’t see a lake.
And hardly anything was green. –This text refers to the mass_market edition.
From the Back Cover
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment–and redemption. –This text refers to the school edition.
“If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.” Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be “the largest lake in Texas” is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!” Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine: rising before dawn to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter; learning how to get along with the Lord of the Flies-styled pack of boys in Group D; and fearing the warden, who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character–that in fact the warden is seeking something specific–the plot gets as thick as the irony.
It’s a strange story, but strangely compelling and lovely too. Louis Sachar uses poker-faced understatement to create a bizarre but believable landscape–a place where Major Major Major Major of Catch-22 would feel right at home. But while there is humor and absurdity here, there is also a deep understanding of friendship and a searing compassion for society’s underdogs. As Stanley unknowingly begins to fulfill his destiny–the dual plots coming together to reveal that fate has big plans in store–we can’t help but cheer for the good guys, and all the Yelnats everywhere. (Ages 10 and older) –Brangien Davis –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
With an ever-so-slight Texas twang, Beyer transports listeners to barren, blistering-hot Camp Green Lake, the juvenile correctional facility where Stanley Yelnats is serving a sentence he doesn’t deserve. If it weren’t for lousy luck, Stanley would have no luck at allAa condition that his family traces to Stanley’s “no-good dirty-rotten pig-stealing great-great-grandfather.” Stanley toughs out his time with an unflagging sense of humor, considering he and his fellow offenders must each dig a hole five feet wide and five feet deep every day with little water and the constant threat of poisonous lizards. But as Stanley gets into the swing of things, he and his new pal Zero discover that the warden actually has them digging for buried treasureAtreasure that is somehow linked to the Yelnats family curse. Beyer’s buoyant, boyish manner ensures that Sachar’s witty novel, winner of both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, makes a smooth transition to audio. The short chapters breeze along for a thoroughly entertaining listen. Ages 8-up. (May)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Stanley Yelnats IV has been wrongly accused of stealing a famous baseball player’s valued sneakers and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention home where the boys dig holes, five feet deep by five feet across, in the miserable Texas heat. It’s just one more piece of bad luck that’s befallen Stanley’s family for generations as a result of the infamous curse of Madame Zeroni. Overweight Stanley, his hands bloodied from digging, figures that at the end of his sentence, he’ll “…either be in great physical condition or else dead.” Overcome by the useless work and his own feelings of futility, fellow inmate Zero runs away into the arid, desolate surroundings and Stanley, acting on impulse, embarks on a risky mission to save him. He unwittingly lays Madame Zeroni’s curse to rest, finds buried treasure, survives yellow-spotted lizards, and gains wisdom and inner strength from the quirky turns of fate. In the almost mystical progress of their ascent of the rock edifice known as “Big Thumb,” they discover their own invaluable worth and unwavering friendship. Each of the boys is painted as a distinct individual through Sachar’s deftly chosen words. The author’s ability to knit Stanley and Zero’s compelling story in and out of a history of intriguing ancestors is captivating. Stanley’s wit, integrity, faith, and wistful innocence will charm readers. A multitude of colorful characters coupled with the skillful braiding of ethnic folklore, American legend, and contemporary issues is a brilliant achievement. There is no question, kids will love Holes.
Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
‘This is an extraordinary and unconventional novel’ Observer ‘An exceptionally good novel’ Sunday Times ‘Truly outstanding’ Irish Times –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Digging a hole five feet deep and five feet across is a formidable task. Digging innumerable holes under the Texas summer sun in a dry lake bed infested with rattlesnakes, scorpions and poisonous yellow-spotted lizards is meant to challenge one’s instinct for survival. When Stanley Yelnats, wrongfully convicted of theft, is sentenced to time at Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility, his focus is endurance, but his lessons extend to family history and the great wheel of justice. Kerry Beyer’s smooth narration draws the reader into Stanley’s unfortunate experience without theatrics. As a result of Beyer’s unvarnished delivery, the listener believes in Stanley’s unlikely existence, and Sachar’s improbable cast of secondary characters is individualized in entertaining fashion. An admirable reading of the 1999 Newbery Award novel. T.B. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.