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Holes is an action-fiction novel by Louis Sachar and has won many awards including the John Newbery Medal.
The novel is about Stanley Yelnats; Stanley is a boy who grew up with bad luck due to a curse placed on his great-great-grandfather. Due to his bad luck, he was sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, for a crime he did not commit. Stanley and the other boys at the camp are forced to dig large holes in the dirt every day in the scalding sun. Stanley eventually realizes later in the novel that they are digging these holes because the Warden (Miss Kathryn Barlow )is searching for something. As Stanley continues to the dig holes and meet all of the other boys at the camp, the narrator intertwines three different stories to reveal why Stanley’s family has a curse and what the Warden is looking for. One of the stories was when Stanley was a boy his great-great-grandfather, Elya Yelnats, received a pig from Madame Zeroni, who was a gypsy, in exchange for a promise. Elya’s promise was that after the pig grew strong he would carry Madame Zeroni, who only had one leg, up a mountain and sing her a song that she had taught him. After he gets caught up in love he takes a boat to American and never fulfills his promise to Madame Zeroni. Elya later marries and has a child in America and always thinks about Madame Zeroni, who he believes has cursed him because of his failure to fulfill his promise. He knows that Madame Zeroni’s son lives somewhere in America, but Elya was never able to find him, but only one hundred and ten years before Stanley arrives at Camp Green Lake or the town of Green Lake was a beautiful place where peach trees bloom throughout the spring and rain actually falls. In this Texas town, the schoolteacher, Katherine Barlow, falls in love with Sam, who was the onion seller.
While Katherine and Sam are alive, racism is spread through the United States and it is against the law for a black man to kiss a white woman. Due to Sam being black and Katharine being white, the people in the town become angry when they find that Katherine and Sam have kissed. Katherine and Sam attempt to escape because everyone in the town is after them but their boat is destroyed while only halfway across the lake and Sam was killed. Katherine went mad because of this incident and later became an outlaw known as Kissin’ Kate Barlow. She gets her name due to the fact that she kisses all of the men she kills, leaving a lipstick imprint of her lips on their faces. In her twenty years of robbing people in the west, she happens to Rob Stanley’s great-grandfather, while he is on his way from New York to California she also robs Charles Walker. She later buries Stanley’s great-grandfather’s money somewhere. Charles Walker, who was the richest person in the town, and his wife Linda try to torture her into revealing its location. Kate dies before anyone can find out where the money is hidden. Ever Since Sam was killed, rain stopped falling on Green Lake and the lake dries up, never to return. Due to Green Lake drying up, the citizens of the town all move away, and by the time that the land is serving as Camp Green Lake, the only people there are juvenile delinquents. Stanley has a hard time digging holes there due to the incredible heat and the hard, dry land. At one point Stanley digs up half of a lipstick tube that has the initials KB on it and they don’t know what it is.
Stanley knows that the Warden, who happens to be a descendant of Charles and Linda Walker. Stanley is interested in this find, and he speculates that perhaps Kate Barlow used to live in hh area. The other boys at the camp are tough and all have nicknames. Stanley tries to stay in the good graces of X-Ray, the obvious leader of the group but this becomes harder as Stanley becomes better friends with a boy named Zero. Although Stanley and Zero, also known as Hector Zeroni, do not know it, Hector is the great-great-great-grandson of Madame Zeroni. Zero eventually runs away from camp and Stanley, in an effort to save him, follows after a few days. The two help each other to reach the top of a big mountain. At the top of the mountain, it turns out to be Sam’s old onion field. Because Zero is very weak, Stanley carries him up this mountain. They survive on onions for more than a week and then return to camp, planning to search for Kate Barlow’s treasure in the hole where Stanley found the lipstick tube.
Stanley and Zero find a suitcase that has the name Stanley Yelnats on it. Although the Warden attempts to take the suitcase from them, Stanley’s lawyer, Ms. Marengo, arrives at the camp to say that Stanley has been proven innocent and that Stanley and Hector are able to leave the camp with the suitcase. It turns out that the suitcase contains many valuable items and is, in fact, it was the same suitcase that Kate Barlow took from Stanley’s great-grandfather years and years ago.
All in all, this is a great book and it is full of action and a little mystery. This book is also a quick read, and teaches about loyalty and true friendship.
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