The 100 Best YA Books of All Time
August 11, 2021 7:41 AM EDT

When 14-year-old Stanley Yelnats IV is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and shipped off to Camp Green Lake—a juvenile detention center where teenage boys “build character” by digging a new hole 5 ft. deep and 5 ft. wide every day—he blames his bad luck on a family curse that began with his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather.” But not everything is as it seems at Camp Green Lake, where the truth about Stanley’s family’s past, as well as notorious outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s connection to the camp, lies buried with what the warden is really searching for in the brutal Texas desert. In this acclaimed best seller, winner of a Newbery Medal and National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and adapted into a beloved 2003 movie, Louis Sachar spins a page-turning tale of suspense, friendship, love and adventure that offers a nuanced consideration of injustice and incarceration. A sensation on the New York Times best-seller list for more than 150 weeks, the 1998 novel has sold millions of copies worldwide. —Megan McCluskey

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