The novel "Holes" by Louis Sachar, published 2002 by the Cornelsen Verlag in Berlin, has got 184 pages. The book deals with the adventures of Stanley Yelnats, who rebels against authority because he wants to know the truth. During the story he finds his way to himself. The main story is set in the 20th century but there are also subplots which are set in the 19th century.
The protagonist lives in a city in Texas with his parents. Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile correctional facility, for a crime he did not commit. There he has to dig one hole a day in the wasteland. The Warden, who owns the camp and is the antagonist, claims that digging builds character. But Stanley soon finds out another reason for the holes: the Warden wants to find a hundred-years-old treasure. Together with his new friend Zero he runs away from the camp because they are treated quite badly there. The both of them survive in the desert with the help of "God's thumb". That's a mountain where Stanley and Zero find water and food and can make plans to find their way back to civilisation.
The subplots in "Holes" tell the story of Elya Yelnats, Stanley's great-great-grandfather, who was cursed by a gypsy because he broke a promise and the outlaw Kate Barlow, who robbed Stanley's great-grandfather.
My view: I would recommend the novel to about twelve-year-olds, who like adventure stories with a few magical parts. The book is quite easy to read and I like Sachar's style of writing (e.g. the play on words). The flashbacks are a good idea to tell the reader the whole truth, so that he/she knows even more than the protagonist. Due to the many connections between parts of the story it gets very predictable. You already expect the cliched ending, which is a bit too happy for my taste. This impression is supported by the stereotype characters (the outsiders are the heroes).
To put it in a nutshell, "Holes" is a nice book for kids who usually don't read so much.