20 Years in Print
Winner of the National Book Award
TIME Magazine's 100 Best YA Books of All Time
“Dazzling” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Heartrending” —The Horn Book, starred review
“Brilliant” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Engrossing” —Kirkus Reviews
“A joyful, eerie tour de force” —The Boston Sunday Globe
“Wildly inventive” —The New York Times Book Review
Stanley Yelnats’s family has a history of bad luck, so he isn’t too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys’ juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. But there is no lake—it has been dry for over a hundred years—and it’s hardly a camp: as punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but that’s a lie. Stanley must try to dig up the truth.
In this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters—and their forebears—for generations. It is a darkly humorous tale of crime, punishment, and redemption.