Stanley Yelnats (love that!) isn’t very lucky. He was arrested for something he didn’t do and sent to Camp Green Lake. Except it’s not really a lake. And it’s not really green. As a matter of fact, it’s not really a camp either. It’s a juvenile lockup facility in the middle of the desert. They don’t even fence these guys in. There’s no where to run.
Every morning at 4:30, Stanley and the other boys are given a shovel and taken to the dry lake bed where they must dig a 5-foot deep/5-foot round hole. Stanley has no idea what they’re looking for, though due to some clever back story, the reader begins to piece together a puzzle that started 150 years ago, with Stanley’s no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Throw in an onion man, an outlaw, a mule, and a few poisonous yellow-spotted lizards and you have a recipe for an entertaining read!
I absolutely loved this one and read it all in one sitting. It’s humorous. It’s clean. And the writing is so refreshingly crisp. Every last detail has significance that comes ‘round in those “ah-ha!” moments that are so fun to figure out. I read a number of reviews with complaints that this book contains events that are disturbing and graphic. I didn’t feel that way at all. No, the boys aren’t treated too well at the lockup facility, and some bad stuff happens. But the plot is so ridiculously unlikely, silly even, that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s fiction! And clean, well-written fiction at that. Two thumbs way up on this one. Highly, highly recommended!