I have just finished reading this with my eleven-year-old son and we both loved it.
This story has everything for a young tween – the cringe-factor, the laughs – in equal measure. David is just trying to fit in at school, but best friend, Scott has decided he’s no longer cool enough to hang out with. Instead, Scott’s taken up with the coolest, yet meanest boys in the year and in his attempt to keep up with them, and be accepted as one of their group, David goes along with a cruel trick played on an old lady who lives alone. Because she’s a quirky old lady, the boys think she’s a witch, so when the trick goes wrong, and David is right in the middle of it, he finds himself the victim of what he believes is a curse, put on him by Mrs Bayfield herself.
Guilt-ridden about what he let himself be part of, things go from bad to worse for David, as everything that happened to Mrs Bayfield, happens to him too. All the while, David is attempting to stay afloat at school, out of Scott and his new-found friend’s ways, and attempting to make friends with a girl he has a crush on.
Things come to a head eventually when, helped by new pals, Larry and Mo, alongside younger brother, Ricky and the object of his crush, Tori, there is a final stand-off with Scott and the gang to finally make amends with Mrs Bayfield and hopefully remove the curse.
As a tween boy, my son had his head in his hands quite a few times during this story, as we experienced David’s cringe-worthy moments. At the same time, some of the things that happened to him had us in stitches.
I think this story has a bit of everything for children of this age. It’s fun, yet relatable, and builds empathy and resilience as you live through David’s ups and downs and experience how he copes with them and shines through.
We loved Holes; it is one of the most popular choices on the Year 6 reading lists. I have to say that this story, however, is just as good if not better.