Small Steps
Louis Sachar

Delacorte Press, January 2006, 257 pp.

ISBN: 0-385-73314-3

Genre: Young Reader
Subgenre: Fiction
Reviewed: 3/9/2006

Reviewed by: Conan Tigard

Book Cover


Tickets to the Kiara Concert

Armpit went back to the office, where the secretary gave him four quarters for the dollar, then went to the pay phone and called X-Ray.

"You sell the last two tickets?"

"Not to worry, not to worry," X-Ray said in a soothing voice.

"Have you sold them!"

"Look, you got to--"

"Yes or no?"

"Not yet, but--"


"Wait a second. Who are you, and what have you done with Armpit?"

Armpit told him about Tatiana. "She has her hand on my arm, and with her perfume and everything, I couldn't think straight."

"Was she the one I saw you talkin' to that time? Strange hair, goofy smile?"


"She's pretty cute."

"I'll pay you a hundred and thirty-five for the two tickets," said Armpit. "That woulda been your share if you sold them."

A hundred and thirty-five seemed like a bargain. He was relieved not to have to pay fifteen hundred.

"Man, that girl's really gotten to you," said X-Ray. "Look, they're your tickets. You don't have to buy them twice!" He laughed. "That musta been some perfume!"



Two years have passed since Theodore "Armpit" Johnson was released from Camp Green Lake. Back at home in Austin, Texas, he is making small steps to getting his life back on track. Being excellent at using a shovel, he works in the landscaping industry while attending high school.

His friend X-Ray is always looking for ways to make extra money without having to work hard for it. He comes up with the idea of purchasing 12 tickets to the Kaira DeLeon concert, 6 for him and six for Armpit, and scalping them to needed concert-goers. The problem is that X-Ray doesn't have any money. So, he turns to his best friend Armpit, who has saved up around $800 dollars in three months of hard work.

They soon have the tickets in hand, but no one seems interested in the tickets as X-Ray has doubled the price. Finally, the tickets start to sell and Armpit decides to take a girl that he likes to the concert with the last two tickets. When this girls backs out, because of peer pressure from her friends, Armpit takes his 10-year old neighbor, Ginny, who has cerebral palsy.

Unfortunately for Armpit, X-Ray could not resist the temptation of making a lot of money on the last two tickets and gives Armpit copies of the tickets, which, of course, are fake. This action begins a chain reaction of events that may lead to the death of the singer, Kaira and may send Armpit to jail.

Small Steps is a fictional story written by Louis Sachar. This book is the sequel to Holes, which is not only the winner of numerous awards, but also been made into a movie. Small Steps focuses on two of the boys from Camp Green Lake, Armpit and X-Ray, as they struggle to make it back in the real world.

This story contains the following main characters: Theodore "Armpit" Johnson - a young, black man who is going to high school and working for a landscaping company, X-Ray - Armpit's best friend who is always looking for ways to make easy money, Ginny McDonald - a ten year old white girl that lives next to Armpit and has cerebral palsy, Kiara DeLeon - a young, famous singer who is on tour, and El Genius - Kiara's step-father and manager.



Never having read Holes, but having seen the movie a couple of time, I found myself easily enjoying Small Steps. Armpit and X-Ray never really stood out for me, so I was happy to learn more about them in this book and see them utilized as central characters.

A big change with Armpit is because of all of the hard work at Camp Green Lake and while now in the landscaping business, he has slimmed down. I also like how most people assume he is a scary, large black man, but he really isn't. The love and affection he shows for Ginny will warm any reader's heart.

As for the writing, Louis Sachar pens a wonderful story that is both touching, exciting, and funny. His writing style makes it easy to sit down, crack open the book, and start enjoying the story from page one. I liked this book so much, I hope that he creates more stories with other characters from Camp Green Lake.

Overall, Small Steps by Louis Sachar is an excellent story and can be enjoyed by readers of any age.

I rated this book a 9 out of 10.

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