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Small Steps

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Small Steps

Holes Series, Book 3
Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it's hard when you have a record, and everyone expects the worst from you. The...
Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it's hard when you have a record, and everyone expects the worst from you. The...
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  • Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it's hard when you have a record, and everyone expects the worst from you. The only person who believes in him is Ginny, his 10-year old disabled neighbor. Together, they are learning to take small steps. And he seems to be on the right path, until X-Ray, a buddy from Camp Green Lake, comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme. This leads to a chance encounter with teen pop sensation, Kaira DeLeon, and suddenly his life spins out of control, with only one thing for certain. He'll never be the same again.

    In his first major novel since Holes, critically acclaimed novelist Louis Sachar uses his signature wit combined with a unique blend of adventure and deeply felt characters to explore issues of race, the nature of celebrity, the invisible connections that determine a person's life, and what it takes to stay on course. Doing the right thing is never a wrong choice--but a small step in the right direction.
  • Chapter One The driver-side door had been bashed in, and it would have cost more to fix than the car was worth. The driver had to work his way over the stick shift and then exit on the passenger side.

    The personalized license plate read: X RAY.

    "Armpit!" X-Ray shouted as he crossed the street. "Armpit!"

    The guys at work didn't know him by that name, but if he didn't say something X-Ray would just keep on shouting. Better to answer and shut him up.

    "Hey," he called back.

    "Man, you're really sweating," X-Ray said as he came near.

    "Yeah, well, you'd sweat too if you were digging."

    "I've already dug enough dirt to last one lifetime," said X-Ray.

    They had met each other at Camp Green Lake.

    "Look, don't call me Armpit around other people, all right?" Armpit said.

    "But that's your name, dawg. You should never be ashamed of who you are."

    X-Ray had the kind of smile that kept you from hating him no matter how annoying he was. He was skinny and wore glasses, which were now covered with clip-on shades.

    He picked up Armpit's shovel. "Different shape."

    "Yeah, it's for digging trenches, not holes."

    X-Ray studied it awhile. "Seems like it would be harder to dig with. No leverage." He let it drop. "So you must be making a ton of money."

    Armpit shrugged. "I'm doing all right."

    "A ton of money," X-Ray repeated.

    Armpit felt uncomfortable talking about money with X-Ray.

    "So really, how much you got saved up so far?"

    "I don't know. Not that much."

    He knew exactly how much he had. Eight hundred and fifty-seven dollars. He hoped to break a thousand with his next paycheck.

    "Got to be at least a thousand," said X-Ray. "You've been working for three months."

    "Just part-time."

    Besides working, Armpit was also taking two classes in summer school. He had to make up for all the schooling he'd missed while at Green Lake.

    "And they take out for taxes and stuff, so really I don't take home all that much."

    "Eight hundred?"

    "I don't know, maybe."

    "The reason I'm asking," X-Ray said, "the reason I'm asking is I got a business proposition for you. How would you like to double your money in less than two weeks?"

    Armpit smiled as he shook his head. "I don't think so."

    "I just need six hundred dollars. Double your money, guaranteed. And I won't be taking out any taxes."

    "Look, things are going all right for me right now, and I just want to keep it all cool."

    "Don't you even want to hear me out?"

    "Not really."

    "It's not against the law," X-Ray assured him. "I checked."

    "Yeah, you didn't think selling little bags of parsley for fifty dollars an ounce was against the law either."

    "Hey, it's not my fault what people think they're buying. How is that my fault? Am I supposed to be a mind reader?"

    X-Ray had been sent to Camp Green Lake for selling bags of dried parsley and oregano to customers who thought they were buying marijuana. That was also why his family had to move from Lubbock to Austin shortly after he was released.

    "Look, I just don't want to do anything that might screw things up," Armpit said.

    "That's what you think? That I came here to screw things up? Man, I'm offering you an opportunity. An opportunity. If the Wright brothers came to you, you would have told them it's impossible to fly."

    "The Wright brothers?" asked Armpit. "What century are you living in?"

    "I just don't get it," said X-Ray. "I don't get it. I offer my best friend an opportunity to double his money, and he won't even listen to my idea."

    "All right, tell me...
About the Author-
  • Louis Sachar is the author of the Newbery Award winner Holes, as well as Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake. His books for younger readers include There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, The Boy Who Lost His Face, Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series, among many other books.

  • Detroit Free-Press "Sachar's touch is as deft as ever and the book is a page-turner."
  • USA Today "Louis Sachar is magic to the toughest circle of critics: librarians, children's booksellers, teachers--and, most of all, kids."
  • Dallas Morning News "Mr. Sachar's gentle but surefire approach nails down challenging issues such as racism, teen romance and drugs."
  • BookPage "Part of what makes Small Steps so believable and appealing is that its characters do have insecurities, and they aren't ashamed to let them show."
  • School Library Journal "Sachar is a master storyteller who creates memorable characters."
  • Time Out New York Kids "Cleverly wrought...heartwarming, witty and suspenseful."
  • Los Angeles Times "Sachar has a talent for creating realistic relationships between unlikely friends. Although that's a staple device of children's literature, it often works by drawing on clichés. Sachar's characters, though, are never stereotypes, but always vividly alive."
  • New York Times "His prose is clear and relaxed, and funny in a low-key, observant way."
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    Random House Children's Books
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Small Steps
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Holes Series, Book 3
Louis Sachar
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Louis Sachar
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