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  • Holes
  • Customer reviews



on 29 June 2017
I'd heard about this book and the related film, but never had the inclination to seek out either. I was wrong. When this came up as a book for my y5 class book club, my able readers went home with a copy to read, and that rainy Saturday I reluctantly settled down in Costa with a coffee and a pack of post-it notes. By the third or fourth chapter I forgot I was supposed to be working. I was so absorbed in the book that I read it in one sitting, and emerged a while later completely blown away. My partner asked to have a look, and became just as gripped. My group of 7 kids were as impressed as I was, and one boy even read it twice.
The book is superbly written, with such well-rounded characters that you feel as if you know them as friends. There are many twists along the way, and the two stories that are told simultaneously are beautifully intertwined. The coincidences are a stretch, but it's easy to let that slide, because they are also sheer joy. Louis Sachar knows people, and human relationships are his speciality. The main characters are underdogs with the potential to be great, and as the reader you are urging them forward.
From a teacher point of view, we had a wonderful session that touched on: racism and bullying; the power and potential we may not know we have; the interweaving of two stories that seem very different at first; the naivety of the main character and how he changes through the book; the use of nicknames at the camp, particularly that of Zero. The list was endless, and the kids wanted to talk and talk.
10 people found this helpful
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on 16 November 2016
Ordered this for school use - just wanted a teachers copy.
Great novel to study and read for teenagers with a range of themes applicable to their lives. Might be a bit awkward with the flashback narrative style but i found this kept the students on their toes and they had to keep using their brains to understand the plot and divide the past narrative and the present one.
3 people found this helpful
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on 12 June 2014
When Stanley Yelnats finds himself in a young offenders camp being punished for a crime he did not commit he is not surprised! Going back generations Stanley's family have had nothing but bad luck. Now at Camp Green Lake he and the other young men there are made to dig holes day after day, and should they find anything it has to be reported immediately to the warder, a mean and vicious woman.
What a compelling read, love the way it was written, amusing, poignant and thoroughly entertaining.
8 people found this helpful
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on 9 May 2017
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, I enjoyed it and my 11 year old son absolutely loved it. The book was so well written and creates great opportunities for discussion both in and around the actual story and also the social story and history that happened in real life. So glad we stumbled across "holes". The story all links together and cleverly jumps between the past and present with humour and sadness alike. Once you start reading you can't stop!!
2 people found this helpful
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on 25 February 2018
I used this book to form the basis of the guided reading lessons for my Year 5 class for an entire term. This book is gripping and full of opportunity for inference and prediction exercises. My class were engrossed in the storyline from start to finish and enjoyed every twist and turn along the way. This book is perfect for upper KS2 children and provides plenty of challenge. I also bought the read and respond exercise book and found it extremely useful when used in conjunction...
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on 31 March 2015
This is just about the most perfectly written and plotted book I have ever read (and having studied English at university, I have read a few). I just wish I was able to create something as brilliant and original as Sachar has.

The plot is flawless. The writing is as near flawless as it comes. The sparsity of the language, with not a word wasted, and with every word being the right word, is a joy to read. I find wordy prose draining. Sachar's words come alive on the page and make this eccentric, engaging, honest, humane, wise and wholly original story real.

Holes has been perfectly written and perfectly edited (if it needed editing), with a pleasing pace - neither slow nor hurried - and great characters. If I were a high school English teacher, I would pick this book for my students. Compelling writing doesn't need to be peppered with verbose descriptions and weak adverbs. I would also recommend it for 'reluctant readers'.

When I think of Holes, I smile.
2 people found this helpful
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on 16 August 2011
You come across a book every now and you say, wow!

This is one of them.

The narrative is written in a seemingly simple style - short sentences, simple words. But then you begin to appreciate the skill of the author in creating such an array of vivid characters and beguiling plot. A bit like an allegory from Aesops fables or a classic like 'Catcher in the Rye'.

The core plot is about a poor lad called Stanley Yelnats - he comes from a long line of Stanley Yelnats because the family likes that Yelnats is Stanley backwards.

Through no fault of his own, he finds himself imprisoned in a desert 'camp' that forces the prisoners to dig a large hole every single day in the blistering sun. But the Warden has her own agenda as well, that is linked to Stanley's ancestors and family history.

This family history is skilfully interwoven with the main plot and slowly provides context to Stanley's current circumstance.

Eventually, Stanley shows his true character in the form of heroic deeds to help his friend 'Zero' and the plot lines converge to a satisfying end.

A lovely book that I would highly recommend if you fancy reading something away from the mainstream.
3 people found this helpful
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on 5 August 2017
A good read - the book only took a couple of hours to read. The plot is well crafted with the stories of different generations of the Yelnats family interwoven to create an engaging narrative. Themes of race, fate and "the sins of the fathers being visited on the children" make this book thought-provoking, whilst being an easy read.
2 people found this helpful
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on 19 August 2017
Great book for using with 11-13 year olds as a class study/reader.
Many reviews will tell the story, so I won't. But it's very enjoyable and the film is a pretty good reproduction of the book.
Not read it yet? Go on, give it a go - it's not hard.
One person found this helpful
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on 17 December 2015
Deals with an entirely plausible situation in real terms as a narrative which has you hooked from the start unfolds. Few books are really 'un put down able' but this is one. Well drawn and developed characters, a fascinating double narrative which you think you've sussed as you go along but then you realise (well I did) you've forgotten one major point which comes back at the end and makes you think shhhhhh..... and makes you realise why most of us are simply not clever enough to be able to write a book like this. It's lovely, and you will love it.
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