Reviewed by Christopher M. (age 11)
This book is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats who is walking home from school one day. These sneakers come flying off of a car. He takes them home because his dad is trying to invent a way to recycle sneakers. The next thing you know he is being accused of taking Clyde Livingston's sneakers (because the sneakers he took home were Clyde's). After his trial, he was sentenced to a few years at a prison camp for boys called Camp Green Lake. When he got there he discovered that he would have to dig one hole 5 feet deep and 5 feet wide for each day he was there.
This place had a very interesting history. There once was a criminal named Kissing Kate Barlow who was one of the most feared criminals in the west. She used to be a teacher who fell in love with a slave named Sam who said that onions could heal anything. He said his donkey named Mary Lou only ate onions and said that his donkey was 50 years old. Later Kate fell in love with Sam and then they kissed and Sam was executed for kissing a white woman. Kate became mad and started killing people and robbing banks.
Another one of their stories was where Stanley's great grandfather was moving to America. Elya Yelnats knew a gypsy named Madame Zeroni. He told her he wanted to marry a woman but there was another man who said that if he could marry her he would give her father a gigantic pig. Elya asked Madame Zeroni for help. She taught him a song and gave him a pig to sing this song to the pig and then bring it up a high mountain. Then on her wedding day he was to give the pig to her and then bring Madame Zeroni up the mountain and sing the song to her. Then she said if he did not he and all his descendants would be cursed with bad luck. He could not carry Madame Zeroni up the mountain because he would have missed his ride to America so he and his descendants were cursed.
One day Stanley found a gold tube with the initials K.B. but he promised a boy nicknamed X-ray that the next thing he would he would give to X-ray. So he gave the gold tube to him. To his surprise when the warden saw the gold tube she gave X-ray the whole day off! As for all the other boys, they had to dig a gigantic hole around X-ray's hole! This made Stanley think that they were not digging holes to make good behavior but it felt like they were looking for something.
At Camp Green Lake, Stanley met a boy named Hector Zeroni (Madame Zeroni's great-great grandson). One day the counselors started to tease Hector because he could not read, so Hector took his shove and hit one of the counselors in the head. The counselor became unconscious. After this Hector ran away. Stanley really missed Hector, so he made up his mind that he would try to find Hector in the desert. Even though, the odds of Stanley or Hector surviving even one day would not be very good.
I really liked this book because you could actually imagine Stanley digging a hole or whatever the author talked about. Another reason I liked this book was because it all came together at the end.