No Holes Here: Louis Sachar

Holes by Louis Sachar. Random House, 1998.

Most distinctive for its magnificent plotting, Holes is the adventure story of the unlikely hero, Stanley. He’s been falsely convicted of a crime and sent to a work camp for boys in the Texas desert. There he and the other boys dig holes, only he quickly begins to suspect that he’s digging not to rehabilitate himself, but rather to find something. A treasure perhaps.

Woven through the 3rd omniscient narrative are snippets of other stories: Stanley’s no-good-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather for example, who was cursed by a Gypsy woman, and his family’s bad luck ever since, and the history of the now-dry lake where the boys are digging. Every plot thread is tied neatly from the pig-stealer, to the role of the venomous yellow-spotted lizard, and onions. Yet even with tight plotting, the story does not seem forced or contrived. Events unfold and come together naturally and always with suspense and clear, accessible writing.