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Holes Cover





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.

Copyright © 2000 by Louis Sachar

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

mariadellisboa, April 18, 2012 (view all comments by mariadellisboa)
This book is NOT appropriate for 4th graders (9-10 year olds) and it's been pushed in their curriculum by Portland Public Schools.

I am tired of this trend to desensitize young children to violence, either through video-games, movies or books!
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(1 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Michael Taylor, December 11, 2007 (view all comments by Michael Taylor)
The less you know about the plot before opening this exceptional book the more you'll enjoy its unusual premise, twists and turns, surprising alliances and the way in which the author ties things together, particularly at the climax, where it reaches an almost transcendent plateau. It's that good. Both kids and adults will enjoy the characters and the story. Unfortunately I can't say the same of other books by this author; he hasn't yet written another one in the same league. A classic.
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(21 of 32 readers found this comment helpful)
angryguytoday, December 8, 2007 (view all comments by angryguytoday)
ok this book is very good but!!!!

the site told mw this won a award in 1998 why the **** doesnt it have a comment on it. ive been searching everyone for all different sites can you please ****ing put one up!!!!!!!!!

from the ****ing angry guy!!!!!!
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(19 of 44 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Sachar, Louis
Yearling Books
New York :
Action & Adventure
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - General
Social Situations - Friendship
Social Situations - General
Homeless persons
Buried treasure
Juvenile delinquency
Social Issues - General
Historical - United States - 20th Century
Situations / Friendship
Situations / General
Historical / United States / Revolutionary Periods
Historical - Holocaust
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Edition Number:
1st Trade Paper ed.
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
P.K. Pinkerton
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
May 2000
Grade Level:
from 5
7.75 x 5.06 in 1 lb
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » Featured Titles » Kids Behaving Badly
Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Middle Readers » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Situations » General
Children's » Staff Picks
History and Social Science » World History » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Friendship

Holes Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Yearling Books - English 9780440414803 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Few adult novels can hope to attain the treasured status of a beloved children's book. One can make a connection to an adult book for a variety of reasons — literary, nostalgic, emotional, aesthetic — but these pale in comparison to the romantic identification a child develops for a book that hits him/her just right, much as no adult relationship acquires the rarified (perhaps imaginary) intensity of young love. I read Holes this year, about twenty years too late for such idolatry. Still, as I devoured it in one night, too thrilled to stop turning the pages just because my body needed sleep, I felt a familiar stirring and realized that if I had discovered this book when I was nine, I would have cherished it for the rest of my life." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "There is no question, kids will love Holes."
"Review" by , "Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations....Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure."
"Review" by , "This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking, with a bit of a folklore thrown in for good measure."
"Review" by , "Sachar inserts humor that gives the suspense steep edges; the tone is as full of surprises as the plot....[N]othing is quite what it seems in this wildly inventive novel."
"Synopsis" by , As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.
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