My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved Small Steps by Louis Sachar. Anytime a book leaves me imagining what happened to the protagonist it’s a good book. And anytime I finish the book feeling good or pensive or even excited, it’s a good book.
I stumbled across this book while looking for another book, but having read Sachar’s Holes, I decided to pick it up, thinking it might be a sequel. However, it’s actually a spin-off, taking two of the minor characters: Armpit and X-Ray.
Armpit is trying to lead a good life. He doesn’t want to go back to anything like Camp Green Lake. He’s got a part-time job and he’s back in school. He’s doing some yard work when X-Ray approaches him with an idea that will “double our money,” by scalping tickets to a performance by “Kaira DeLeon,” because her tickets were going for $750 in Philadelphia and they’re selling for only $55 in Austin, TX. They buy 12 tickets that they plan to sell for $200.
A touching element of the story is that Armpit, who no longer wants to be known as Armpit, becomes the best friend of his ten-year old neighbor, Ginny MacDonald, who has cerebral palsy. The friendship is strictly platonic, but when a potential girl friend backs out of an invitation to see Kaira DeLeon, rather than try to scalp the tickets, Armpit asks Ginny.
Armpit doesn’t know it, but his tickets are phony. What was supposed to be “the best night of my life,” for Ginny turns into a disaster when just as the concert is about to begin a guard taps Armpit on the shoulder and asks to see his tickets. Eventually, it becomes “the best night of my life” for Ginny, but I don’t want to spoil the story. You’ll just have to read the book.
It’s not quite as good as Holes, but darn close to being as good. This is just a different story, not quite as clever, but a very enjoyable read. I gave it five stars because it entertained me all the way through, surprised me a couple times and left me feeling good, but wondering what happened to the main characters.
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