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Parents' Guide to

Small Steps

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Holes sequel delves into edgier territory.

Small Steps Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

For a much more mature audience than “Holes”

Thankfully I am reading this out loud to my kids.... they are 7 and 9 and were huge fans of “Holes.” Being that this is the sequel, of course it’s going to appeal to its fan base. The new scene is teen angst. Unfortunately, I am having to filter a TON of very mature content as I read. Drugs, ticket scalping, marital infidelity, mild sexuality (a teen pop star has some racy lyrics and talks about still being a virgin, as well as a few other euphemisms), and some foul language. Had I done my research, I never would have started this book as it’s totally inappropriate. Reader beware.
age 9+
In the end i do not think there is enough finality...I hate not knowing what the future holds for the characters. And for people who rate it aganst Holes that is ridiculous....It's a different book about a different person that should be treated as such

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (24 ):

It's hard to believe that SMALL STEPS was written by the same author as Holes: This is more of a tangle of elements that resolves into an ill-fitting mess. Holes was a masterpiece of craftsmanship, a complex symphony of disparate thematic elements and vibrant characters woven together in intricate pattern that resolved perfectly.

Louis Sachar knows how to write a fun and enjoyable book. But Holes set the bar a lot higher, and for the sequel to that Newbery Medalist and National Book Award winner something more is expected -- a higher degree of craftsmanship, depth, sophistication, and emotional power, all of which are missing here. Fans of the first book will no doubt want to read it and may even enjoy it (though the romance section of the book appeals to an entirely different audience), but they won't find it as memorable or as powerful.

Book Details

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