This month I chose to read HOLES by Louis Sachar for the Hot Key Book Club. If you’d like to see what the Hot Key team thought of the book you can watch us chat about that exact thing in this video featuring myself (Jen), Emma, Asmaa, Sara and Sarah.

Before reading this book I was expecting very great things, not always a great place to start. Often I find that the more hyped the book the less I enjoy reading it. And boy was this book hyped, whenever we mentioned it on the blog, on Twitter, or to friends who have read it, the enthusiasm it received was astounding. I’m pleased to say that it more than matched my high expectations and from the beginning to the end it is a joy to read. As Sara mentions in our video, it’s a great example of writing that not only grips you from the off, it also reaches such a cunning and satisfying conclusion that you cannot help but grin.

The story starts with Stanley Yelnats, a chubby, loveable boy who finds himself accused of a crime we quickly learn he is unlikely to have committed due to his being distracted by fishing his exercise book from a toilet at the time it had taken place. Nevertheless he’s found guilty and is given the choice between prison or camp. Having quite understandably chosen to spend his sentence at summer camp, Stanley finds himself a resident of Camp Green Lake, which despite its name does not feature a lake and is not in any way green.

The story is split between the present day and follows Stanley’s experience at camp and a century earlier in Latvia, where we learn the story of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather, also named Stanley Yelnats. The two narratives are interwoven throughout the book and it’s only right at the end that you realise just how cleverly they’re linked. Loyal, brave and relentlessly hopeful the character of Stanley and his friendship with campmate, Zero will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page.

Addictive and gripping, heartwarming and hilarious this book really captured our imagination and was universally given the biggest of thumbs up.

Let us know what you think of HOLES, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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