I was thinking about this when taking a bookstagram picture of Holes (by Louis Sachar) and it’s sequel Small Steps.
I enjoyed Holes, and don’t get me wrong, Small Steps isn’t bad. But it just isn’t as good as Holes. And it got me thinking about the other modern classics that have gotten sequels in recent years that didn’t quite live up to the original for me.
One example is Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird) which whilst still having a good technical quality to the writing style was just so much less enjoyable than the first book.
Another example is The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale) which controversially co-won the Booker Prize purely due to Atwood’s name. The book itself? Well I enjoyed this one more than Go Set a Watchman. And I did like the details that were added to the world, although this very much had more of a feel of a modern novel rather than a timeless piece. And. And. The ending ruined it all. Without that ending I could’ve given it 4 stars for enjoyment alone, but no. Nope. Had to be ruined.
Have you read any good sequels to modern classics that actually lived up to (or improved!) the original series? I’d love to know about any authors which managed this!!
This is a sequel to a much-loved book, Holes (my review here) by Louis Sachar, and follows Armpit two years after the boys are all back home from the camp (link to the Goodreads page here). X-Ray also features within this story as he interacts with Armpit.
I was a little sad that Stanley wasn’t in this book, but once I was into the story I still enjoyed it and it was nice to see another boys perspective of life. We follow Armpit as he tries to be a good citizen and look after the disabled little girl, Ginny, who lives next door.
You can see where the plot of the book is going to go pretty soon in, however, the resolution is unknown and keeps you hooked into the story. I love that this involved one of the boys trying to be a better person now that he has a second chance and working hard for that even though so many obstacles stand in his way.
Personally, Small Steps wasn’t as good as Holes. The emotional manipulation was on a much smaller scale (and surprisingly I want more of that in a book) and I was just constantly annoyed at X-Ray, but I did still enjoy the book and gave it a very passable 3/5*. It’s a nice little extra to the world of the boys and I would enjoy seeing more stories from them in the future (although God knows if that’d ever happen).
I can’t believe it took me this long to get to this book! I picked it up in a charity shop for 25p as I had never read it in school and so many people have raved about this book. I am now joining this group, giving the book 4/5*, I read it all in one day (it is short but still) and really felt like part of the group with Caveman (Stanley), our main character, being relateable despite him being a young teenage boy and me a 21 y/o female.
Sachar manages to mix in various different plot lines together based around Camp Green Lake without losing the interest of the reader, intertwining a multitude of plot strings all together to make a fabric which engrosses and captures the reader. Stanley has been sent to Camp Green Lake because of a misunderstanding, however, the justice system doesn’t see this and sends him off to dig holes in the desert. This is supposed to be a ‘character building’ task but in reality, the Warden has a secret that she wants to be uncovered for her own gain. Stanley makes friends with the quietest boy in camp, Zero, and I have to say that he is probably my favourite character in the book. He is intelligent and thoughtful but doesn’t wish to waste too many words with those at Camp Green Lake. However, Stanley is different and the two form a bond which becomes integral to their survival later in the book.
I can imagine this being a great book to read at 10-16, with fitting in whilst not losing your own personal identity being a theme which stood out to me, along with the more obvious ‘fight for what is right’ theme. The later seems very relevant in today’s society where in some instances breaking the law seems more humanitarian than following it, and hopefully, this book can continue to inspire younger people to stick with their morals and think for themselves rather than following authority for no reason other than they are in charge.