Did you know I have a BookTube channel? Well… I do!
Recently I did a reading challenge where I reread some of the books I studied in high school. A couple of them I could remember really well, while some of them, I had almost no recollection of, so it was interesting to see how much I could remember! The books I chose were:
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Room Thirteen by Robert Swindells
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
I’m going to be writing a series of blog posts where I talk about these books and review them in case you don’t want to watch the whole video (it’s over an hour long because I apparently don’t know how to make a short video). I’m going to talk about my thoughts about each of the books I read for the challenge, what I thought of them, and how they compared to reading them as a teenager in school. As I write more of the blog posts, I’ll link the book titles above so you can read each of my reviews.
If you want to watch my full reading vlog where I discuss the books as I read them, you can watch it right here! It’s long, so get yourself comfortable… or scroll down to read the first in my series of reviews. This post will be focusing on Holes by Louis Sachar.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Video timestamp: 12:27
Holes was the first book I chose to read because I knew I’d be able to get through it very quickly. I have it as an ebook, and I tend to read ebooks slightly faster than physical books – but I also forgot how short Holes was! It seemed so much longer reading it in school. I flew through the whole thing in about an hour, I think, and I really enjoyed it!
The story follows Stanley Yelnats, a teenager who is sent to Camp Green Lake, a kind of juvenile detention centre, because he was framed for stealing a pair of trainers that belonged to a famous athlete. All the kids at Camp Green Lake are made to dig large holes, five feet wide and five feet deep, in the dry dirt outside. We discover that the owners of Camp Green Lake have a motive behind making the boys dig these holes: something that was lost in recent history that is likely to be buried where the holes are being dug each day.
I remember really enjoying this book in school, and I enjoyed it now too! I actually reread this when I was in uni, so it was still very familiar to me – but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all. It’s just such a fun story, and it draws so many interesting parallels from the beginning to the end of the story that I didn’t notice at first. (I talk about this more in the video.) It also explores racial segregation, which I think is done in such a great way that teaches kids about the treatment of black people throughout history in a way that makes it easy to understand.
The writing doesn’t feel very juvenile, like I find some middle grade books are. Sachar doesn’t talk down to his readers; instead, the writing feels fun and simple, but there’s a kind of maturity to it that makes you feel like you’re not necessarily reading a book aimed at children. It can be enjoyed by children and adults, which is proven by the fact that I enjoyed it as a young teenager and still enjoyed it in my twenties!
The only thing I wished for was less of a rushed ending. It all seems to conclude within a few pages, and a few crazy things happen (like happening to stumble upon a million dollars) that feel a little bit coincidental. I know the whole book isn’t the most “normal” story–how often do you hear about kids being forced to dig holes in the burning sun every day just because there might be something buried there?–but the ending is a little far-fetched. Even so, it didn’t spoil the rest of the book for me; I just wish it was a little bit slower and took its time, rather than wrapping up in a few pages.
Holes is a fun story that can be enjoyed by children, teenagers, and adults. Its writing feels fun and easy to understand, yet mature enough not to feel juvenile. The ending rushes at a breakneck speed towards a perfectly happy ending, but it doesn’t feel like that matters too much or puts a dampener on the rest of the book. It’s definitely a must-read (if you haven’t read it at some point already) and the film adaptation is worth a watch, too!
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