Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake, a special camp to punish young boys who have committed a crime. The only problem is, Stanley has been falsely accused. He did not steal the baseball players shoes from the auction, they had simply fallen from the sky onto his head, but of course they did not believe that at the court. Stanley is forced to dig holes in the dry lake, five feet deep and five feet wide. However, Stanley soon finds out that the digging is not to build character as he and the other boys have been told. The warden is searching for something, and it is up to Stanley to find out what it is and why.
I found this book entertaining and was surprised by the plot twist at the end of the novel. It was nice to see that Zero, who at the start of the novel was quiet and shy, ended up becoming an important character to the plot, and was the one boy who was willing to help Stanley, although at first Stanley believed the rest of the boys that Zero was stupid. However, Stanley soon discovers that although Zero is illiterate, he is a fast learner, and although he has never learnt to read or write, he is brilliant at maths, and is also the fastest at digging holes. Zero also helps Stanley in his journey of discovering the wardens secret of why she wants the boys to dig holes. I also found it interesting how the plot changed back and forth from what Stanley was doing to what happened 100 years ago to his great great grandfather, and how the end of the novel tied the two stories together. The sub plot of the curse was also interesting, as although the curse was not definite, I found it interesting how once Stanley had ‘lifted’ the curse, things started to go well for him and his family. Although it is a childrens book, I feel that adults would also enjoy it and learn the lessons of friendship and honesty that the book teaches.