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Small Steps

by Louis  Sachar

Published by Delacorte Press, 2006
257 pages
ISBN: 0385733143

Ages 10-14

In a follow-up to the enormously popular Holes (Farrar, 1998), Sachar focuses on two of that book’s secondary characters: Armpit and X-Ray. Back home after serving time at Camp Green Lake, both boys are trying to re-establish themselves in their Austin, Texas, community. Armpit keeps a list of five things—small steps—he hopes to accomplish in the next few years: graduate from high school, get a job, save money, avoid potentially violent situations, and lose the nickname Armpit. He seems to be on track for accomplishing them all, even though he gets little encouragement or support from his parents. Luckily, his ten-year-old neighbor, Ginny, believes in him. Ginny, too, must take small steps, quite literally, as she has cerebral palsy (along with a wicked sense of humor). X-Ray has his own plans for success that involve scalping tickets to the upcoming Kaira DeLeon concert, but he needs Armpit’s capital. Meanwhile, teenage pop sensation Kaira DeLeon has issues of her own, as she tries to deal with her greedy and controlling agent/stepfather, who calls himself El Genius. As in Holes, over-the-top characters and storylines intersect and intertwine in surprising and satisfying ways. The familiar characters are a bit older and slightly more complex than they were in the earlier book, but this will be an easy read for most preteens and young teens.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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