Results of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in the year 1999.
A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, by the author of There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom.
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. 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 she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin’ Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley’s great-great-grandfather by a one-legged Gypsy, 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.
With this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has written his best book to date.
Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. A Harlem drugstore owner was shot and killed in his store, and the word is that Steve served as the lookout.
Guilty or innocent, Steve becomes a pawn in the hands of “the system,” cluttered with cynical authority figures and unscrupulous inmates, who will turn in anyone to shorten their own sentences. For the first time, Steve is forced to think about who he is as he faces prison, where he may spend all the tomorrows of his life.
As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a script, just like in the movies. He writes it all down, scene by scene, the story of how his whole life was turned around in an instant. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred and his vision obscured until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth. This compelling novel is Walter Dean Myers’s writing at its best.
Aunt Sally is beyond any of Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee’s expectations. She has come all the way from Vancouver Island, Canada, to take care of the children while their parents are away, and right from the start Aunt Sally enchants them with tales of her childhood with their father. Odd characters figure largely in the stories, like Maud, a hunter rumored to have killed eighty cougars; Great-uncle Louis, a health nut who insists everyone should gnaw on sticks for extra fiber; and Fat Little Mean Girl, the star of a cautionary tale involving witchcraft and candy. All of Aunt Sally’s reminiscences lead up to a crucial story about trolls, sinister creatures who supposedly lurked along the shore at night. The trolls had the power to change Aunt Sally’s life forever, and their legacy may change the lives of the three present-day children as well.