Newbery Verdict: Holes

20220411ma_0526Book: Holes (1998)
Author: Louis Sachar
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Newbery Winner (1999)

Opening Lines of the Book…

This is no lake at Camp Green Lake. There once was a very large lake here, the largest lake in Texas. That was over a hundred years ago. Now it is just a dry, flat wasteland.


I really enjoyed re-reading this book. I probably first read it 20 years ago, so it’s been a while. (I also saw the movie whenever that came out.) Anyhow, I did in fact enjoy coming back to the world of Stanley Yelnats and his buddies at Camp Green Lake (which is not a camp for Girl Scouts, by the way).

And even though I already knew the secrets of the book, I loved discovering them once more with Stanley. I particularly liked the friendship between Stanley and Zero and how all that works out. (Hey, I want a friend like Zero, too!)

The villains in this story are great. The Warden, Sir, Mr. Pendanski. They’re over-the-top and yet somehow believable. And I love how everything about the past connects with the present. Top-notch writing here!


This really is a book that sticks with you. It’s hard to forget all those holes! I can see why it was awarded the Newbery back in 1999. I would give it a Newbery today. Yes, it’s that good.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up. (Note: This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Award!)

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

8 thoughts on “Newbery Verdict: Holes

    • I’m usually one of those people that says the book is better than the movie. And this book really is quite phenomenal! There are moments that I don’t think you could quite capture in a movie.


  1. Have not read this book, but 20 years ago doesn’t seem that long ago. Camping books are usually fun reads — especially during the summer. Glad you reviewed Holes today. Should make the effort to go back and read the Newbery winners. Thanks for sharing!


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