by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats (whose name and fate are a palindrome) is accused of stealing a famous baseball player’s sneakers. The judge offers him a choice: jail or Camp Green Lake. Since Stanley has never been to camp, he chooses the latter. He arrives to discover, with nary a lake in sight, that the “camp” is really a juvenile detention center in landlocked Texas, where the boy detainees dig 5' x 5' holes in the sweltering heat. Why does The Warden want to be told if they find anything “special”? This unlikely overweight hero labors under a generations-old family curse that connects him to The Warden’s secret mission, and his pursuit of a miserable boy named Zero who attempt to escape leads him on a journey that results in buried treasure and putting the family curse to rest at last. Louis Sachar threads together high adventure, eccentric characters—both from the past and in the present—and coming-of-age themes that will keep your youngsters riveted.