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Small Stepsby Louis Sachar
Louis Sachar revisits characters from Holes in his latest novel, Small Steps. Wild schemes and chance encounters propel this story along to its dramatic climax. Along the way, issues of race and celebrity are adeptly explored.
Synopses & Reviews
Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But its hard when you have a record, and everyone expects the worst from you. The only person who believes in him is Ginny, his 10-year old disabled neighbor. Together, they are learning to take small steps. And he seems to be on the right path, until X-Ray, a buddy from Camp Green Lake, comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme. This leads to a chance encounter with teen pop sensation, Kaira DeLeon, and suddenly his life spins out of control, with only one thing for certain. Hell never be the same again.
In his first major novel since Holes, critically acclaimed novelist Louis Sachar uses his signature wit combined with a unique blend of adventure and deeply felt characters to explore issues of race, the nature of celebrity, the invisible connections that determine a persons life, and what it takes to stay on course. Doing the right thing is never a wrong choice–but a small step in the right direction.
"This companion to Holes follows a former detainee at Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility (where he was sent after a spilled-popcorn-mishap-turned brawl at a cinema), in his life on the outside. Armpit now works for a landscape company while he finishes up high school. The earnest teen is back on track, in no small part due to the mutually restorative friendship he has forged with Ginny, a 10-year-old neighbor born with cerebral palsy. This bright, perceptive girl has given Armpit a great deal ('For the first time in his life, there was someone who looked up to him, who cared about him') and has 'released him from his anger.' X-Ray, another Camp Green Lake alum, nearly derails Armpit's new life when he convinces Armpit to buy into a ticket-scalping scheme for a concert by teen rock star Kaira — a scheme that goes horribly awry. In a rather contrived plot twist, Armpit winds up meeting Kaira who then falls for Armpit — and he for her. Even less likely is the novel's final, sensational melodrama (Kaira's evil stepfather and manager futilely tries to murder her and frame Armpit for the crime). Sachar does inject some credible intrigue here (notably surrounding the potential legal consequences of Armpit's and X-Ray's involvement in the ticket scam) and effectively emphasizes the importance of taking 'small steps.' Unfortunately, although Armpit's steady small steps result in some big strides, this is a disappointingly flat spin-off of Sachar's resonant Newbery winner. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] lively, compelling book with some interesting things to say about racial stereotyping, disability and the search for identity....Small Steps offers humor, suspense, thoughtful themes and great characters..." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Small Steps has a completely different tone than Holes....Yet, there is still much humor, social commentary, and a great deal of poignancy....Sachar is a master storyteller who creates memorable characters." School Library Journal
"Small Steps is firmly rooted in the grubby realities of urban life. But it does have Sachar's trademark humor, way with insightful relationships and deft hand with outrageous plots." Los Angeles Times
"[The characters] are easy to identify with and impossible not to root for, even if the book they inhabit feels thinly imagined in comparison with its predecessor. It is likable and readable, but it never quite emerges from the shadow of Holes." A. O. Scott, The New York Times Book Review
In his first major novel since "Holes," the acclaimed author explores issues of race, the nature of celebrity, the invisible connections that determine a person's life, and what it takes to stay on course.
About the Author
Louis Sachar is the author of the Newbery Award winner Holes, as well as Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake. 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 other books.
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