My son was reading this book as a class book in school. When he first brought Holes by Louis Sachar home, I'd read about 80 pages of it and thought it rather a strange book for a class book. Telling the story of a young boy Stanley who is sent to a detention centre for a crime he didn't commit, an extremely harsh detention centre in a hot desert area where the boys spend every day digging colossal holes, looking for something that is of great importance to the female Warden. The Warden seems to terrify everyone, she seems to know everything and seems cruel and ruthless.
Will seemed to enjoy it immensely and bringing it home today to use for his homework, he was saying they had finished it in school and they were all looking forward to watching Holes on DVD, starring Sigourney Weaver, I presume she is the Warden. I decided to finish it and once I got into it again, I couldn't put it down. I was wondering how the school children had managed to only read it chapter by chapter. Reading about how they are treated cruelly, harsh punishment meted out, friendships striking up between boys, Stanley teaching Zero to read and discovering his mathematical abilities, the tension grows as Zero runs away. Is he dead? Stanley also runs away and their adventure starts. This is where tales of their ancestors, of a 'Calamity Jane' style woman Kate Barlow's past, a treasure, all come back to play and tie events together.
This is the perfect book for boys, aged 10-14 especially if you're having difficulties getting them to settle to read a book. It has enough tension and violence to keep them interested, the characters being mostly male will help them to empathise, and the sense of adventure is gripping.