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Since I’ve been working at the library in the YA area, I’ve been taking home more and more YA books to read. This one has been on my list for quite some time. I’m not sure if I didn’t like the cover, or just thought it was a book on bullying, or what, but I’d been staying away from it. The youth librarian put it in my hands and said “no, I really think you’ll like it” so I took it home and read it in an evening.

The story is more complex and more interesting than just a tale of bad boys in a desert digging holes as punishment. It’s subtle for a YA book with some summarizing of what the heck was actually happening at the end of it in case you miss something. The tale of Stanley Yelnats and his incarceration at Camp Green Lake where you have to dig holes all day every day is actually a much deeper story than it first appears. Stanley is a protagonist, but not a “do no wrong” hero. The kids he meets seem like kids, somewhat fickle, alternatingly antagonistic and friendly. The story unfolds in not too many pages, but is drawn out enough that every twist in the plot isn’t clumsily foreshadowed. A pretty enjoyable story for one that takes place in the punishing heat of the desert for most of its length.